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ESPN has three Florida teams in the top 25 in latest projections

ESPN’s respected SP+ projects a big bump from the state’s historically bad 2021 season.
Emory Jones and the Florida Gators are a top-20 team, according to ESPN's SP+ projections
Emory Jones and the Florida Gators are a top-20 team, according to ESPN's SP+ projections [ LUIS SANTANA | Times (2021) ]
Published Feb. 9, 2022

Florida will have three top-25 teams this season, if the early projections from ESPN’s SP+ advanced metrics are correct.

The Gators are the state’s top team in these rankings at No. 18. Miami (20th) and Florida State (24th) aren’t far behind.

UCF is 37th, followed by USF (No. 94), Florida Atlantic (No. 100) and Florida International (No. 124).

SP+ models teams’ efficiency, adjusting for tempo and opponent, to come up with a gauge of how successful teams are. In the preseason, it uses returning production, recent recruiting and recent history to lay some groundwork for how teams might fare in the fall.

If ESPN’s metrics prove right, the state is poised for significant growth from a historically bad 2021 season. Florida was the state’s top team last year in SP+, finishing 30th. USF, UCF and Florida State both rank among the nation’s 14 most-improved teams.

Ohio State is No. 1 in SP+, followed by Georgia, Alabama, Michigan and Clemson. Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are sixth. Two other opponents on the Gators’ schedule are also in the top 15: No. 9 Tennessee and No. 14 Utah.

Related: Worst. Year. Ever. What went wrong with Florida college football?

The Hurricanes and Seminoles are fourth and fifth in the ACC, behind the Tigers, No. 13 Pitt and No. 15 North Carolina State.

No. 11 Cincinnati is the only AAC team ranked ahead of the Knights.

You can check out ESPN’s full SP+ projections here.

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