1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Gators

Yes, FSU’s offense is better. Yes, Towson really has an NFL draft prospect

Also to watch during this weekend’s state college football matchups: a key player if USF hopes to slow down SMU’s offense. Plus: Tampa Bay Times week 5 picks.
Florida State running back Cam Akers (3) heads toward the goal line in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Louisville on Sept. 21, 2019. [MARK WALLHEISER | AP]
Published Sep. 27
Updated Sep. 27

FSU showing life

Florida State clearly isn’t back among the nation’s elite programs, but Willie Taggart’s offense has undeniably made progress. The Seminoles have scored at least 24 points in every game so far. The last time FSU did that through four games: its 2013 national title run. We’ll see if the trend continues against North Carolina State, which has allowed one of its first four opponents (West Virginia) to hit that mark.

Sonny Dykes’ win-win

Cal’s oddly timed January 2017 dismissal of coach Sonny Dykes is the rare move that has worked out for both sides. The Golden Bears entered Week 5 undefeated and No. 15 nationally under third-year coach Justin Wilcox. Dykes landed nicely at SMU, which upset TCU last weekend and could find itself ranked Sunday with a win over USF.

RELATED: USF’s Charlie Strong to lock horns with his former Texas QB, Shane Buechele

Macon something for USF

If USF is going to slow down SMU’s top-20 scoring offense, linebacker Patrick Macon will be key. The grad transfer from Oklahoma State is in the top 20 nationally with 1.7 tackles for loss per game. SMU is susceptible to getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage; Macon and the Bulls will have to capitalize to avoid a ninth consecutive I-A loss.

RELATED: Goodbye, Civil ConFLiCT. And good riddance.

Tweet of the week

Eye on the NFL draft

According to the Baltimore Sun, more than two dozen NFL teams have stopped by Towson, in part to check out quarterback Tom Flacco. You can see him Saturday at No. 9 Florida. The younger brother of NFL quarterback Joe Flacco isn’t huge (6-foot-1), but he’s athletic — he also plays baseball —and is averaging 14 yards per completion. Scouts will be scrutinizing this game to see how he handles tougher competition and whether he deserves to be a late-round pick.

RELATED: Why Florida Gators-Towson matters more than you think

Tampa Bay Times week 5 picks

Away Home Traci Johnson, Assistant Sports Editor Matt Baker, College Beat Writer Martin Fennelly, Columnist Ernest Hooper, Assistant Sports Editor Joey Knight, USF Beat Writer Mike Sherman, Deputy Editor-Sports
SMU (-7.5) USF SMU 38-31 SMU 42-20 SMU 31-28 USF 24-20 SMU 40-28 SMU 31-24
Towson Florida (-33.5) UF 51-14 UF 45-7 UF 62-3 UF 44-0 UF 41-7 UF 51-10
UConn UCF (-43.5) UCF 42-17 UCF 56-7 UCF 59-10 UCF 50-14 UCF 55-10 UCF 56-13
NC State FSU (-4.5) FSU 28-27 NC State 28-27 NC State 38-33 NC State 30-13 NC State 34-31 NC State 30-28
Duke Virginia Tech (-3.5) Va Tech 31-24 Va Tech 28-24 Duke 28-27 Va Tech 21-20 Va Tech 28-24 Duke 28-27
Penn St (-7.5) Maryland Penn St 34-21 Penn St 35-21 Penn St 29-22 Penn St. 30-21 Penn St 27-17 Maryland 31-27
Arizona St Cal (-5.5) ASU 28-21 ASU 21-20 ASU 31-26 ASU 21-20 Cal 24-21 Cal 26-21
Northwestern Wisconsin (-24.5) Wisconsin 42-10 Wisconsin 35-7 Wisconsin 40-14 Wisconsin 28-7 Wisconsin 34-14 Wisconsin 41-14
Rutgers Michigan (-27.5) Michigan 35-3 Michigan 42-7 Michigan 52-17 Michigan 28-12 Michigan 31-13 Michigan 42-13
Texas Tech Oklahoma (-27.5) OU 42-21 OU 45-20 OU 49-20 OU 40-7 OU 49-21 OU54-20
Middle Tenn Iowa (-24.5) Iowa 31-10 Iowa 38-13 Iowa 48-10 Iowa 20-7 Iowa 31-7 Iowa 35-10
Texas A&M (-23.5) Arkansas A&M 34-6 A&M 42-14 A&M 38-17 A&M 38-6 A&M 35-10 A&M 35-14
USC Washington (-9.5) Wash 31-21 Wash 28-17 USC 33-28 Wash. 33-23 Wash 38-21 Wash 28-17
Virginia Notre Dame (-12.5) ND 35-13 ND 31-17 ND 27-20 ND 30-13 ND 26-17 ND 38-21
Clemson (-26.5) North Carolina Clemson 48-14 Clemson 42-17 Clemson 45-13 Clemson 66-6 Clemson 49-10 Clemson 48-14
Ole Miss Alabama (-35.5) Alabama 42-14 Alabama 45-13 Alabama 51-14 Alabama 70-7 Alabama 52-10 Alabama 51-13
Indiana Michigan St (-14.5) Mich St 28-13 Mich St 24-14 Mich St. 37-27 Indiana 22-20 Mich St 28-14 Mich St 27-13
Miss St Auburn (-11.5) Auburn 31-10 Auburn 21-13 Auburn 23-19 Auburn 24-12 Auburn 38-21 Auburn 31-17
Kansas St Oklahoma St (-5.5) Okla St 34-28 Okla St 31-28 Okla St 28-20 Okla. St 27-20 Okla. St.41-30 Okla St 35-31
Ohio State (-18.5) Nebraska Ohio St 45-28 Ohio St. 42-20 Ohio St. 33-21 Ohio St. 35-17 Ohio St. 37-35 Ohio St 41-21
This week Lock of the week Wisconsin SMU Alabama 51-14 Oklahoma Clemson
This week Upset of the week ASU ASU Indiana N.C. State
Last week vs. spread 10-10 12-8 11-9 10-10 7-13 10-10
Overall vs. spread 33-36 34-35 33-36 31-39 27-32 29-40
Last week straight up 12-8 15-5 11-9 11-9 14-6 11-9
Overall straight up 50-20 53-17 45-25 32-28 49-21 50-20
Season Locks 2-2 3-1 3-1 3-1 2-2 2-2
Season Upsets 2-2 3-1 0-4 0-4 1-3 1-3


  1. Alabama sive lineman Alex Leatherwood (70) checks on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) after he was injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Alabama won 38-7. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ROGELIO V. SOLIS  |  AP
    The Florida Gators moved back into Matt Baker’s top 10 this week.
  2. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) is carted off the field after getting injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. ROGELIO V. SOLIS  |  AP
    The junior quarterback already was on the mend from surgery four weeks ago for a high ankle sprain.
  3. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) is pulled down by Missouri defensive back Christian Holmes after catching a pass during the second half in Columbia, Mo. Florida won 23-6. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    The Gators, who led just 6-3 after the second quarter, find more of a rhythm offensively in the second half.
  4. A Florida Gator fans yells during the first half of the Nov. 2 game against Georgia in Jacksonville. The Gators travel to Columbia, Mo. for a noon Saturday game against Missouri. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Here are our picks for this week’s top college football games, including Florida-Missouri, USF-Cincinnati and Florida State-Alabama State.
  5. Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck leads him team on the field prior to an Oct. 26 game against Maryland in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 52-10. STACY BENGS  |  AP
    The last time Minnesota started 9-0 was 1904. Another big event that year involved Cy Young.
  6. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks poses for a photo with Reyce Ramsey, 9, one of the fans who sent him a get-well card. SCOTT RAMSEY  |  Special to the Times
    When the Florida Gators’ quarterback got hurt at Kentucky, cards came from a 9-year-old in Kissimmee and a retiree in Oldsmar.
  7. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 15-yard pass reception during the second half against Vanderbilt on Nov. 9 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The Florida Gators still have a lot to play for, even with a sleepy game in cold Columbia.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves kneels in the end zone after the Seattle Seahawks defeated his team in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) JOHN FROSCHAUER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: It’s a mailbag episode, with answers on Jameis Winston’s future, Lavonte David’s season, Mike Evans’ plight, Kevin Cash’s third-place finish and Charlie Strong’s job...
  9. Florida quarterback Emory Jones looks for a receiver against Towson during the second half on Sept. 28 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones all have remaining eligibility, which adds an interesting dynamic to next season.
  10. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NCAA football game against Alabama Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP
    Two notable teams fell despite 50-plus point wins. That happens sometimes.