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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]
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]
Published Feb. 13

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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Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
  2. Florida forward Keyontae Johnson, shown here against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2020, scores a career-high 24 points on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in a win over Arkansas in Gainesville.
  3. Florida State quarterback James Blackman (1) throws during the first half of the 2019 season opener against Boise State in Tallahassee.
  4. 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.
  5. In this 1980 file photo, Charley Pell celebrates his first victory as Florida Gators' coach, against Cal at Tampa Stadium.
  6. Florida basketball coach Mike White, shown here against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2020, continues to be frustrated by his team falling behind by large deficits early in games.
  7. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during a game Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville.
  8. South Florida Bulls tight end Mitchell Wilcox (89) makes a key reception with Temple Owls safety Amir Tyler (25) and Temple Owls linebacker Audley Isaacs (30) defending during the third quarter of the game between USF and Temple on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  9. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times Florida Gators wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) walks in Gator Walk before the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla.
  10. Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen will be in Tampa for part of his spring speaking tour.
  11. Florida coach Mike White, shown here against Baylor on Jan. 25, 2020, saw his team come back from 22 points down in the second half on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, to beat Georgia and equal the biggest comeback win in program history.
  12. Penn State wide receiver Justin Shorter (6) attempts to catch a pass as Pittsburgh defensive back Jazzee Stocker (7) defends this past season.
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