USA TODAY Sports has Florida here in latest re-rank after Week 9

The Florida Gators are barely inside the top 50 in USA TODAY Sports’s latest re-rank of all FBS college football teams. They come in at No. 49, a decrease of seven spots since the last update.

The Gators had an up-and-down first half of the season. They came out of the gate swinging with an upset win over the defending Pac-12 champion Utah Utes in Billy Napier’s first game as Florida’s head coach. They went from unranked to No. 19 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll after the victory. They then lost to Kentucky and barely got a win over in-state rival USF, leaving them out of the top 25 entirely. Their close loss to Tennessee paired with their win over Eastern Washington caused expectations to stabilize.

What felt like positive momentum coming out of back-to-back home wins over Eastern Washington and Missouri rapidly evaporated. LSU‘s 45-35 victory over the Gators took the air out of the fan base, with the defensive showing not up to Florida fans’ standards. The bye week and 17 unanswered third-quarter points were not enough for the Gators to upset their SEC East rival Georgia. Their latest drop in the re-rank put them behind programs like South Alabama, East Carolina, and the University of Texas-San Antonio, three programs that the Gators should be better than.

Sitting at 4-4 with nearly no chance of winning their division, the Gators’ objective now shifts to bowl eligibility. The extra bowl practices would go a long way for Napier and his staff to prepare for the 2023 season. Florida travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon EDT and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire