Florida football was buried in the preseason polls heading into the 2022 season in large part due to two primary factors: underperformance under Dan Mullen during the final year of his tenure and inexperience of new head coach Billy Napier at the Power Five level. After a big upset win at home against the Utah Utes on Week 1, the voters are probably having second thoughts about their projections for the Gators.
While both the AP and Coaches polls are scheduled to be released later than usual due to the extended Labor Day weekend schedule, CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson already predicts that the Orange and Blue will crack the top 25 in this week’s vote. Here is what he had to offer in his college football rankings article.
After receiving the 38th-most votes in the Preseason AP Top 25, Florida will likely be one of the biggest movers following its 29-26 Week 1 win over No. 7 Utah. To the point that the Gators should make an immediate appearance in the top 25 after taking down the reigning Pac-12 champion Utes in thrilling fashion on Saturday night in The Swamp. A top-10 win alone might have been enough to warrant an appearance in the rankings, but it was the nature of the victory that will inspire confidence in the Gators as one of the 25 best teams in the country. There were a lot of unknowns around Billy Napier’s debut, but the instant reaction is a well-coached team with a star quarterback in Anthony Richardson that can not only hang with but eventually defeat a Power Five conference championship contender.
It is hard not to see Florida leap into the top 25 after a performance that was not perfect, but good enough to beat one of the top preseason teams in the nation. Of course, most fans are savvy enough to know that the west coast has little to offer in terms of competition in comparison to the juggernaut SEC, but an upset win is an upset win.
Make no mistake, Florida's Billy Napier was a Week 1 winner
Gators earn superlative grade from CBS Sports for season-opening win
What the wild result from the LSU-FSU game means to the Gators
SEC QB Ranks: Where Anthony Richardson sits after Week 1
Gators a 'winner' in Week 1 action, per USA TODAY Sports
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