Are the Gators still the best team in Florida?

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It’s been a rough season for the Gators. After a hot start, losses to Kentucky and LSU have Florida (4-3) unranked, snapping a streak of 52 consecutive poll appearances. The good news is that UF is still the best college football team in the state, according to The Athletic.

Dan Mullen may be on the hot seat, but his team is on top of the “Sunshine State 7” for now. The performance against Alabama (a two-point loss in the Swamp) won’t be forgotten, but it’s Mullen’s inability to get Florida over the top against the nation’s best that sticks out.

The biggest question is whether coach Dan Mullen will ever get Florida back into legitimate title contention. After leading the Gators to two top-10 AP poll finishes in his first two seasons, Florida has lost seven of 19, mostly to college football’s elites (LSU twice, Alabama twice, Texas A&M, Oklahoma) and are clearly behind Georgia in the pecking order of the SEC East.

UCF (3-3) is second in the state, but the Knights have the excuse of losing star quarterback Dillon Gabriel and Kaila Davia, an impact play on the defensive line. Florida has been without one of the best corners in college football, Kaiir Elam, for some time as well, though.

Florida State (2-4) and Miami (2-4) are third and fourth as both programs are having disappointing years. FAU (3-3), USF (1-5) and FIU (1-5) round out the list with the latter two beating among the worst in football right now.

While the competition isn’t necessarily that strong in the state of Florida, the Gators’ numbers against FBS opponents are still impressive in comparison. Florida scores 34.4 points per game against FBS opponents, which is good for 24th nationally. No other team in Florida makes the top 50. The Gators’ 7.07 yards per play on offense is fourth-best in the country. FIU and Florida State are the next highest-ranked at Nos. 37 and 38.

Defensively, Florida is still on top of the state with possibly even less competition across the state. Todd Grantham isn’t the most beloved figure in Gainesville right now, but some other Florida team may snatch him up quickly if his contract isn’t renewed as many expect.

Finally, four Gators made it onto the Sunshine State 7 Midseason Team. Emory Jones the second quarterback on the list after FAU’s N’Kosi Perry. Offensive lineman Ethan White, defensive tackle Gervon Dexter and defensive end Zach Carter also made it. With Elam sitting out for three weeks, it makes sense to leave him off the list.

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