The sport of football is viewed by many in the Villages of Citrus Hills as one of the great sporting events. Here is a look at the upcoming season.
The baseball season might still have a ways to go, but it is hard to deny that there is a certain level of excitement in the air as a brand new football season is upon us. Preseason exhibition games are starting, so now is a great time to be talking about football.
With three different NFL teams located in Florida and quite a few elite college football programs surrounding the Villages of Citrus Hills, residents never run out of options for great games featuring local teams.
Let’s take a quick look at how some of our local teams are looking this season and all of the great teams that will be coming to Florida to play them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alright, so last year’s 2-14 season wasn’t very exciting. But this year is going to be a completely different story. That’s because with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft this spring our Bucs selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
Unlike most rookie quarterbacks, Winston will be coming into a situation where he is surrounded with a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball and led by a player-friendly head coach. That could be an excellent recipe for success this year, and Winston’s progress as the leader of this young team will definitely be interesting to watch.
Home games this year will include visits from Tennessee, Carolina, Jacksonville, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Coach Smith’s former team, the Chicago Bears.
Jacksonville followed Tampa Bay’s lead in the draft this spring as they also spent a high first round pick on a local player when they drafted Dante Fowler Jr. from Florida.
Led by quarterback Blake Bortles (a University of Central Florida grad), the Jags will be hosting Carolina, Miami, Houston, Buffalo, Tennessee, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Atlanta this season.
Miami is going to try to put last season’s locker room issues behind them this year. Their big offseason acquisition was signing defensive end Ndamukong Suh, and they also drafted wide receiver DeVante Parker from Louisville with their first round pick.
The Dolphins will start out the season with two games on the road and then come home for contests with Buffalo, the New York Jets, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, the New York Giants, Indianapolis, and New England.
Florida State Seminoles
Losing quarterback Jameis Winston to the draft is going to be a big blow to Florida State, but keep in mind that they are also going to be struggling to replace almost their entire offensive line. However, they are fortunate to be returning all of their starters on defense, which is a big part of their #3 preseason ranking.
Football season in Tallahassee will kick off on Saturday, September 5 against Texas State. The Seminoles will also be hosting USF, Miami, Louisville, Syracuse, NC State, and Chattanooga this season.
New head coach Jim McElwain has been the story in Gainesville this year as he looks to put together an impressive first season. The passing game will be key for the Gators as they try to get the ball to standout wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.
New Mexico State, ECU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, FAU, and Florida State will all be venturing into the Swamp this fall to take on the preseason #24 Florida Gators.
If you haven’t been to Gainesville for a home game, it is definitely a great atmosphere to be around.
Other College Teams
Miami is scheduled to host Bethune-Cookman, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Clemson, UVA, and Georgia Tech.
UCF will be hosting FIU, Furman, UConn, Houston, ECU, and USF.
USF will be hosting Florida A&M, Memphis, Syracuse, SMU, Temple, and Cincinnati.
As you can see, there are plenty of interesting stories to follow with many of our local football teams. But when you factor in all of the great teams that will be coming to Florida for games this fall, it is definitely going to be a very exciting season.