If Florida football fans were hoping for a turnaround season in 2024, they are going to have to hold onto that hope without the belief of the national media behind them.
And while there is a real pathway the Gators will be better than advertised in 2024, Billy Napier and crew have yet to earn the right to earn the benefit of the doubt from the national media.
Florida Football: Fool me once...
Now that the 2023 college football season is over, everyone is coming out with their "Way too early predictions for 2024" articles. And to the surprise of nobody, the early predictions for the Gators aren't great.
247 Sports released their "Early College Football Playoff, major bowl projections for 2024" and the Gators are not to be found even in bowls like the Mayo Bowl, Music City Bowl, or the ReliaQuest Bowl.
The Athletic released their predictions for the 2024 season and they envision the Gators going 5-7, following a similar pathway to 2023 where Florida would start out 5-2 and then lose its last five games against Georgia, Texas, LSU, Ole Miss, and FSU.
Now, we could sit here and squabble about how FSU and LSU will probably take a step backward this season and why Florida has a real pathway to eight or nine wins if it can just get marginally better on defense. And we definitely did our fair share of squabbling last off-season when the gloom and doom projections came out and predicted that Napier would be one of the first coaches fired last season, which was still ridiculous even in hindsight.
But the truth is the 2023 season burned through any goodwill cache Napier had for even the most adamant of Gator supporters to fight back against this doomsday narratives. Part of the faith was his third ranked recruiting class. That's gone.
And while Florida has picked up some nice players in the transfer portal, as it stands now the overall haul the Gators picked up lack the overall top end talent that teams like Ole Miss were able to go out and get.
So until there is a proof of concept that Florida can win more than six games under Napier, we are forced to just nod along as predictions will trickle in all offseason.