ESPN’s Bill Connelly has released the final preseason SP+ rankings, which continue to show love for the Florida Gators while also highlighting the challenges they face in their 2023 schedule.
The SP+ rankings are known for being unbiased and based on factual data. According to Connelly, the rankings are “a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren’t intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date.”
The projections are calculated based on several factors, including returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history. The SP+ ranking is more favorable to Florida than other rankings, as the Gators come in ranked 23rd. However, with a tough schedule ahead, the SP+ rates Florida’s schedule as the toughest in the country with a projected win total of 6.5. This means that the SP+ is giving Florida a lot of credit for six to seven wins this season.
Florida’s tough schedule is due to having to play against top-ranked teams such as Georgia (ranked at the top of the SP+ rankings), No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 12 FSU, No. 14 Utah, No. 24 Kentucky, No. 30 Arkansas, No. 33 South Carolina, and No. 35 Missouri. These teams are all ranked in the top 35, which means that Florida will face strong competition throughout the season and six are away from The Swamp.
The SP+ rankings show that Florida’s offense is ranked 25th-best in the country, while the defense is surprisingly ranked 41st. Florida’s offense will face some of the toughest defenses in the country, including those ranked No. 2 (UGA), No. 6 (Kentucky), No. 14 (LSU), No. 18 (FSU), No. 19 (MIZ), and No. 26 (Utah).
On the other side of the ball, Florida’s defense (ranked 41st) will face seven of the top 23 offenses in the country, including those ranked at No. 3 (Tennessee), No. 6 (UGA), No. 10 (LSU), No. 12 (Utah), No. 19 (Arkansas), No. 21 (South Carolina), and No. 23 (FSU). With such a challenging schedule and tough competition, Florida will need to bring their best game every week to succeed.