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Florida finishes surprisingly high in final 2023 SP+ rankings from ESPN

Despite finishing the 2023 season with a 5-7 record, the Florida Gators ended up ranked No. 41 in the country, according to ESPN’s final SP+ rankings.

Bill Connelly, the inventor of the SP+ system, defines the metric as a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is intended to be predictive and forward-facing, which should be considered when interpreting the year-end rankings.

Florida’s offense finished the season ranked 38th in the country with a 31.1 rating, while the defense underperformed its way to 60th with a 26.0 rating. The much-maligned special teams unit in Gainesville finished the season ranked ninth in the country with a 1.7 rating.

Only two teams with a sub-.500 record finished ahead of Florida — No. 35 TCU (5-7) and No. 36 Auburn (6-7).

Connelly notes that bowl season adjustments need to be made with his system. Some things make sense, such as Georgia jumping to No. 2 following a dominant win over now-No. 9 Florida State. Meanwhile, the College Football Playoff runner-up Washington dropped all the way to No. 13 with the loss.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire