ESPN’s Football Power Index inexplicably loves the Gators despite 4-3 record

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Florida’s 2021 season has been an abject disappointment. Losing at home to Alabama by two points after engineering an impressive comeback is one thing, but road losses to Kentucky and LSU are much less justifiable. The Gators sit at just 4-3, and with a matchup against No. 1 Georgia coming up next week, 8-4 seems like this team’s likely ceiling.

But don’t tell that to ESPN’s Football Power Index. Analytics systems don’t usually line up exactly one-to-one with human voters, but the difference between UF’s standing in the polls and in the FPI is a staggering one.

Despite its record, Florida is ranked as the No. 7 team in FPI, and it even saw its ranking rise one spot during the bye week. Only two SEC teams rank higher: Georgia and Alabama, who are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

FPI clearly has a lot of respect for the SEC, but what’s interesting is that while it’s high on the Gators, it’s not nearly as high on the teams that beat them. LSU and Kentucky rank 32nd and 36th, and even with those losses on the resume, Florida has essentially maintained a top-10 spot throughout the season.

UF definitely doesn’t look like a top-10 team right now, but there’s obviously something about this squad the analytics like. If there’s anything that can provide encouragement heading into a game against UGA in which it will be heavy underdogs, it’s that.

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