Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s football scene around the state.
State final matchups set
Here are the matchups for the state championship games that will take place over the next two weeks.
Class 1A at Gene Cox Stadium, Tallahassee - Blountstown vs Madison County, 7 p.m. Saturday.
Class 2A at Gene Cox Stadium, Tallahassee - Champagnat (Hialeah) vs. Victory Christian (Lakeland), 7 p.m. Thursday.
Class 3A at Gene Cox Stadium, Tallahassee - Florida High (Tallahassee) vs. Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood), 7 p.m. Friday.
Class 4A at Daytona Stadium, Daytona - Washington (Miami) vs. Bolles (Jacksonville), 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.
Class 5A at Daytona Stadium, Daytona - Jones (Orlando) vs. Miami Northwestern, noon on Dec. 14.
Class 6A at Daytona Stadium, Daytona - Miami Central vs. Escambia (Pensacola), 7 p.m. on Dec. 12.
Class 7A at Daytona Stadium, Daytona - Edgewater (Orlando) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), 7 p.m. Dec. 14.
Class 8A at Daytona Stadium, Daytona - Columbus (Miami) vs. Apopka, 7 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Will Florida get bid to a New Year’s Six bowl?
Florida finished its season in predictable fashion, earning a 40-17 win over Florida State to end with a 10-2 record.
Now, the big question is whether the Gators will earn a second straight appearance to a New Year’s Six bowl.
Projections at the moment are inconsistent, with some prognosticators having the Gators in the Orange and Cotton bowls, while others have Florida in non-New Year’s Six bowl games such as the Citrus or Outback.
In other words, Florida seems to be right on the bubble for a New Year’s Six game, and nobody will know for sure until the bowl schedule is announced Sunday.
Let the real season begin for the Seminoles
Florida State still has a bowl game left, but the drama people are most paying attention to around the Seminoles, the search for a new head coach, should really ratchet up now that the regular season is over.
Rumors will swirl all over the place as to which candidates are interested or which ones the school will go after, but one thing set in stone is that it’s a hire Florida State will need to make sooner than later for recruiting purposes.
It should make for an eventful December around Tallahassee.
Is winning actually beneficial for the Dolphins, Buccaneers?
Both the Dolphins and Buccaneers recorded nice wins on Sunday, with Miami upsetting Philadelphia and Tampa Bay beating Jacksonville.
But are those wins hurting more than helping?
The playoffs are still out of the question for both teams, with Miami being 3-9 and Tampa Bay being 5-7.
More importantly, the positioning in the NFL Draft for both also gets worse with each win.
Miami entered Sunday No. 3 and Tampa Bay No. 12 in the draft order and each dropped a spot (Miami to No. 4, Tampa Bay to No. 13) after those wins.
Florida Atlantic advances to the Conference USA championship game
There will be one in-state college program represented in a conference championship game this weekend, as Florida Atlantic advanced to its second Conference USA title game in three years with a 34-17 win over Southern Mississippi.
The Owls won the East division with a 7-1 conference record and will host West division champion UAB at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.