SEC Power Rankings: Gator Bait, but for whom?
2022 Record: 6-7
2023 FPI Rating: 12.7
ESPN Win Projection: 7
Draft Kings Win Projection: 5.5
Best Recruiting Class Last Four Years: 12th (2021)
Transfer Portal: 5th in SEC
There might not be a team in the SEC that has a bigger disconnect between what the metrics say to what public perception is saying than the Florida Gators.
No, Florida wasn’t great last season. But they were within one score in the second half during all six of their regular season losses.
The biggest problem for the Gators last year is that the defense couldn’t stop anyone, and they had one of the worst third-down defenses in the country. If Florida had been even somewhat mediocre on third downs last year, the squad could have easily been 9-3.
All the reviews on new defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong have been positive in Spring camp. Still, the real reason why public perception has Florida pegged as a bottom-barrel team for 2023 is new QB Graham Mertz combined with a remade offensive line that looked horrendous during the Spring Game.
The line had a lot of injuries in the Spring, and if healthy come August, combined with a talented group of running backs, it’s not hard to envision Florida having an effective run-first offense that can move the ball just enough to get points on the board.
And if the defense shows any improvement, literally any improvement, the Gators, believe it or not, could be an 8-4 team in 2023.
It’s not the standard people want in Gainesville, but it’s a far cry from the basement people are predicting.