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The Top Ten Football Programs (Right Now) in Florida

Over the last two weeks we've conducted a series ranking the top ten college football programs in Texas, California and Ohio. Today it's Florida's turn, but we're switching things up a bit for the Sunshine State. There simply aren't as many college programs in Florida, so we decided to include the state's dominant high school landscape as well as Florida's three NFL franchises. 

As always, these are a pound-for-pound ranking for where each program stands right now

1. Florida - The Gators were the unquestioned kings of the state - and all of college football, for that matter - in ripping off a 46-7 record with two national championships, two SEC titles, three SEC East crowns, three BCS wins and four New Year's Day bowl games from 2006-09 under Urban Meyer. The program wobbled a bit in 2010 and 2011, but Will Muschamp has things again pointed in the right direction, posting a 13-3 record since the beginning of the 2012 season and fielding what might be college football's best defense. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, though, and following a loss to Miami on September 7, the Gators will have to beat Florida State on November 30 to retain the top spot. 

2. Florida State - It may have taken a little longer than expected, but Jimbo Fisher has the football machine rolling again in Tallahassee. The Seminoles were ACC and Orange Bowl champions in 2012, and rank No. 8 nationally this year behind college football's hottest young quarterback in Jameis Winston.

3. Miami - The job Al Golden has done in rebuilding this program under the omnipresent black cloud of NCAA investigation is nothing short of remarkable. The September 7 win over Florida vaulted the Hurricanes into the top 15 nationally, and a win over Florida State, an ACC title and a BCS bowl win will help keep them there.

4. Booker T. Washington - You can't overrate how big that 28-17 win over Miami Central was for Tim Harris' program. The Tornadoes were ranked No. 1 nationally to start the year by USA Today following last year's 13-1, state championship season. Impressive as that Miami Central win was, a 55-0 drubbing of No. 6 Norcross (Ga.) is one for the highlight film as well.

5. Miami Central - According to the computer formula employed by USA Today, Roland Smith's team plays the 15th-toughest schedule in all of high school football. With a slate that tough, one can't help but think if the night of September 6 had gone differently it would be Miami Central laying claim as the nation's best team. Although, a No. 6 ranking, a 25-4 record since 2011 and a 2012 Class 6A championship isn't too shabby, either. 

6. Miami Dolphins - No, this franchise hasn't won a playoff game since 2000 and hasn't had a winning season since 2008, but forget about that. Who has done more on the field in 2013 than Joe Philbin's bunch? Led by the NFL's ninth-rated passer in Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins have beaten returning playoff squads Indianapolis and Atlanta on their way to the team's first 3-0 start since 2002.

7. Bethune-Cookman - With a 30-9 record since 2010, including a 21-3 mark in conference play and two league titles, Brian Jenkins' program has been the absolute class of the MEAC this decade. Perhaps none of those 30 wins were more important than the Wildcats' mauling of Florida International on September 14, in which Bethune-Cookman outrushed FIU 311-73 en route to a 34-13 win.

8. Central Florida - The Knights came within one stop and one missed field goal of winning the Conference USA championship in their final year in the conference last season, and this year they may be the only team with a realistic shot of knocking out Louisville between now and January. George O'Leary has led UCF to a 63-55 in 10 up and down seasons in Orlando, but this 11-2 stretch since last October may be his best. A nationally-televised date with No. 12 South Carolina at Bright House Networks Stadium on Saturday afternoon is his chance to prove it.

9. Manatee - We're bucking the trend a little bit here and bumping Manatee, one spot below Miramar in both the USA Today national rankings and FloridaHSFootball's Class 8A ratings, above the Patriots. It's the strength of Joe Kinnan's program, 280 wins, 18 district titles and five state titles, that nudges Manatee slightly ahead of Miramar. 

10. Miramar - The No. 1 team in Class 8A according to FloridaHSFootball and the 22nd-best team nationally in USA Today's rankings, Damon Cogdell's squad is fresh off a 22-20 win over defending Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Honorable Mention: Ft. Lauderdale University High School, Jacksonville University, St. Thomas Aquinas