Florida cracks top 35 in ESPN's regular season-ending SP+ rankings
After their 45-38 defeat to Florida State, the Florida Gators sit at No. 34 in ESPN’s latest SP+ rankings, per Bill Connelly.
Connelly developed the SP+ ranking system in 2008 and, in his own words, is “a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency” and “intended to be predictive and forward-facing.”
The offensive metric is much kinder to the Orange and Blue than the defensive metric. Offensively, the Gators are the 15th-best team in SP+, with a rating of 39.6. Defensively, Florida is the 78th-best team in SP+, with a rating of 29.5. Not so nice.
The stark difference in the rating properly explains the Orange and Blue’s regular season. Offensively, the Gators were one of the best rushing teams in the nation. Their three-headed monster of Montrell Johnson Jr., Trevor Etienne and Anthony Richardson did their jobs behind a talented offensive line led by O'Cyrus Torrence, a potential first-round draft pick in next year’s draft.
Florida’s defensive ranking accurately represents the journey the unit took over the course of the season. Sometimes, the defense looked lost and confused. Other times, the defense was locked in and determined to get off the field. They even recorded at least one turnover in all twelve games this season
Now that the regular season is over, the Gators will wait to find out who they will play in their bowl game. On Sunday, the College Football Playoffs selection show will announce the four teams that will participate in the playoff. Then, they will announce the pairings for the New Year’s Six bowl games. The individual bowl teams will then announce their matchups throughout the evening.
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