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UCF has better playoff shot than Gators, ESPN says

ESPN’s projections also have some insight on new coaches at USF and FSU.

UCF has a better chance of making the College Football Playoff than the Florida Gators, at least according to analytical projections ESPN posted Friday.

The Knights are No. 14 in Football Power Index (FPI), one of ESPN’s comprehensive advanced metrics. That’s the highest FPI has ever ranked UCF in the preseason, and it results in the Knights having a 10 percent chance of making the playoff, according to ESPN’s numbers.

The Gators, on the other hand, only have an 8 percent chance of making the final four.

Related: Gators’ Dan Mullen more hopeful than optimistic about 2020 season

Clemson, unsurprisingly, is the favorite with an 81 percent chance of advancing to the semifinals or beyond. Ohio State (64 percent), Alabama (59 percent), Wisconsin (33 percent) and Georgia (26 percent) are next.

The defending national champion, LSU, isn’t far behind at 24 percent. Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies — a trendy pick to have a breakout season — are at 2 percent.

Some other notes from ESPN’s FPI and other projections:

Related: Three Florida college takeaways from the NFL draft

FPI has the Gators as the nation’s No. 12 team with a projected record of 9.7-2.7. That’s a little lower than most other rankings I’ve seen. If I had to do a preseason ballot today, I’d have them in the top 10.

Florida State is 26th in FPI with a projected finish of 7.6-4.4. I’d probably put the Seminoles a touch lower overall, but seven or eight wins (depending on the bowl game) seems about right to me.

Jeff Scott could be in for a rough season at USF. His Bulls are No. 76 and project to 5.3 wins. ESPN gives USF a 42.9 percent chance of reaching bowl eligibility with six wins.

As usual, I have no idea what to make of Miami, so I have no read on whether putting the Hurricanes at No. 51 with a projected 6.6 wins is too high, too low or perfect.

Related: How the coronavirus pandemic has changed football recruiting

Check out all of ESPN’s playoff thoughts and other projections here.

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