Florida’s best team: The Gators or UCF?

Advanced metrics are split on whether Florida should be higher or lower than UCF.
Were the Florida Gators the state's best team this year? [ BRONTE WITTPENN | Times ]
Were the Florida Gators the state's best team this year? [ BRONTE WITTPENN | Times ]
Published January 3

If you didn't get enough manufactured content from the scheduling feud between the Florida Gators and UCF, here's another one.

Which one deserves to be the state's highest ranked team, after UF ended the season with a bang (blowing out Michigan) and UCF ended it with a thud (losing to LSU).

Two of the advanced metrics I check are split. The Sagarin ratings have the Gators at No. 14 and UCF at No. 22. Both, by the way, seem too low to me. UCF has the edge in S&P+, where the Knights are eighth —five spots ahead of UF.

UF, according to Sagarin, had the nation's No. 30 schedule; UCF was 83rd. The Gators went 3-2 against teams in the top 25 in S&P+, while UCF was 2-1 (both wins were over Memphis). UF has the best wins (over LSU and Michigan) and the worst losses (Kentucky and Mizzou).

RELATED: Reflecting on UCF's 25-game win streak

The best argument I can make for UCF is that its offense was the best unit on either team. When quarterback McKenzie Milton was healthy, the Knights lit up the scoreboard. Even without him in the Fiesta Bowl, they still scored 32 points on LSU. Maybe things would have been different in Arizona with Milton.

Then again, LSU was even more depleted than UCF. The Tigers were without star cornerback Greedy Williams among many, many others.

Which leads to the best argument I can make for UF: The Gators beat LSU when it was at full strength, and UCF lost to those depleted Tigers. UCF touted transitive wins over Georgia and Alabama last year for its self-proclaimed national title. Using that logic, the Gators should be higher.

Both teams will almost certainly be in my top 10, and the gap doesn't seem that big to me. Which one would you rank higher?

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