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Florida football near bottom in The Athletic’s latest SEC vibe check

The Southeastern Conference will not have a member school hoisting the college football championship trophy for the first time since 2018. Over that stretch, the LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs have all taken turns at the top of the hill.

This season saw a juggernaut UGA team get tripped up in the SEC championship game by ‘Bama, only for the latter to get bested in overtime by the Michigan Wolverines in the opener of the College Football Playoff. The ‘Dawgs did throttle the Florida State Seminoles in the consolation game, but either the Wolverines or the Washington Huskies will win the title.

With all of the now-16 schools at home for the grand finale, The Athletic’s Seth Emerson took a look at the state of the league in his first vibe check of the 2024 calendar year. In it, the Orange and Blue came in at No. 15.

“‘But the recruiting’ was the fallback optimism for the Gators most of the season,” Emerson begins. “Then came signing week — they lost enough commits to free-fall to No. 16 in the 247Sports composite rankings.

“At least the signees still included the two marquee names: DE LJ McCray and QB DJ Lagway. But can they instill the optimism right away to keep the wolves at bay from Billy Napier? Or is this just a dreary march to the inevitable?”

It has been a brutal stretch for Florida. Can the program restock the cupboard with enough transfer portal talent to get the Gators a winning season? That question along with the arrival of DJ Lagway will be the most pressing issues next season.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire