SP+ ratings still all-in on Gators despite 4-3 record

·2 min read

There’s an interesting phenomenon going on with this year’s Florida team. On paper, the season has been an abject disappointment so far. Though the Gators had an impressive comeback that came just two points short of taking Alabama to overtime, its next two losses came to teams it was favored by more than a touchdown against.

Naturally, the 4-3 UF team no longer appears in any of the major polls. But when it comes to analytics systems, Florida ranks significantly higher.

In ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Gators rank No. 7 this week, and in the latest SP+ rankings from ESPN’s Bill Connelly, they’re even higher, ranking at No. 5.

Unsurprisingly, UF’s offense, which hasn’t really been the problem this year, ranks fifth in the nation. But somewhat more surprisingly, the defense ranks 21st, certainly a respectable rank for a unit that has been commonly maligned this season.

The defense is definitely a problem, and a change at defensive coordinator is likely imminent. But per SP+, this Florida team is still one of the best in the nation.

SP+ measures how a team played, not the result of the game. For that reason, no loss coming by more than seven points this season is certainly playing a role in UF’s ranking here. The Wildcats needed a blocked kick returned for a touchdown to win, and Florida’s defensive performance against LSU was a bit anomalous.

This won’t provide much comfort to frustrated Gators fans, and you have to win the games on the field, which UF hasn’t done. But it is interesting that Florida has always ranked highly when it comes to analytics systems this season.

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