ESPN had to issue a minor mea culpa on its previous Football Power Index rankings, citing issues with the calculation and modeling. As a result, Seth Walder released an update to the previous rankings, though the update didn’t change much about Florida’s preseason situation.
He has the Gators ranked No. 11 in the FPI, an increase in three spots from where they sat in the previous rankings. But it’s still not ideal for UF, showing it on the outside looking in for the College Football Playoff battle. Of course, there’s an entire season yet to be played, but it seems the analytics are wary about the amount of talent the team has to replace.
With Georgia and Alabama both poised to be very good again, Florida has its hands full in the CFP race, but being in the SEC gives it quite an advantage. According to Walder, the league is all but guaranteed to put one team in (with there being a 94% chance of that happening). It also has the best chances by far to put a second team in at 31%.
The Gators will hope they will be one of the four teams, and there will be a few key games they’ll need to win. Bouts against the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide rank fourth and sixth, respectively, on Walder’s list of games that will be most impactful in the CFP race. UF’s chances of making the playoff are slim to none if it doesn’t win at least one of those games.
Coach Dan Mullen enters perhaps the most crucial season of his Florida tenure in 2021, given all the outgoing talent he has to replace. This will be one of his most challenging coaching jobs yet, and he has set high expectations for himself in Gainesville. Having a breakout year under those circumstances won’t be easy, but UF has the chance to do just that.