ESPN grades every ranked team of College Football Playoff era

Now that the four-team College Football Playoff era is coming to a close, ESPN took a look back at the past decade and graded every team that ever made it on a CFP Top 25 poll, including the Florida Gators.

The good news is that the Orange and Blue are the No. 2 team in the B tier of this group, putting the Gators at No. 18 overall over the past decade. The bad news is that Florida State finished one spot ahead of UF at No. 17.

Florida’s best days during the four-team playoff era came at the beginning, and there is a distinct moment in time that seemingly changed the course of history.

“On Dec. 5, 2020, the Gators beat Tennessee to move to 8-1 on the season, jumping all the way to No. 3 in the AP poll,” ESPN staff writer David Hale wrote. “A week later, a guy threw a shoe, Florida lost to LSU, and since then, everything is pain.

“Before the shoe throw, Florida was 45-26 in the playoff era, with three top-15 finishes, three 10-win seasons and two New Year’s Six bowl wins. After the shoe throw, the Gators are 17-24 and just 10-23 against Power 5 foes. The lesson here? Footwear is not a projectile.”

Hale’s snark aside, it’s hard to ignore that critical moment in Florida’s recent history. Things have been somewhat of a disaster since then. Dan Mullen’s teams spiraled each season, and the head coach brought in to replace him is on the hot seat entering Year 3.

All things considered, landing in the B-tier and No. 18 feels generous.

At the top of the list is, of course, Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State have all had great runs, but nothing beats what Saban did.

The only other SEC team ranked ahead of Florida on this list is LSU at No. 7 thanks to the 2019 title.

Find the rest of the list here.

Follow us @GatorsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Florida Gators news, notes and opinions.

Story originally appeared on Gators Wire