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  1. Sports
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Where Florida, FSU, USF and Miami rank in early 2020 projections

UCF is the top Group of Five football team in ESPN’s SP+ projections. Miami is in the top 25.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens. [LYNNE SLADKY | AP]

The Florida Gators should start next season about where they finished the last one, according to SP+ advanced metrics.

Florida is No. 7 in the SP+ preliminary projections for 2020, which ESPN unveiled Thursday morning. That’s the same spot the Gators finished last season in those analytics.

The top six, in order: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Penn State and LSU. Florida State came in at No. 26. That’s two spots behind Miami.

Related: Why one big FSU booster remains upbeat about the 'Noles while preaching patience

“A combination of bad breaks and bad offense led to a 6-7 finish,” ESPN’s Bill Connelly writes, “and while (coach Manny) Diaz can’t do much about the former, he addressed the latter by bringing in not only a new offensive coordinator (Rhett Lashlee) but also Houston quarterback D’Eriq King.”

UCF is the highest ranked Group of Five program at No. 18. USF is 83rd, one spot behind Jim McElwain’s Central Michigan Chippewas.

Other notables include Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies at No. 10, Tennessee at No. 19, Scott Frost’s Cornhuskers at No. 25 and Lovie Smith’s Illini at No. 61.

Check out ESPN’s full list here.

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