Newsflash for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee: The Florida Gators are one of the 10 best teams in the country.
The AP Poll and the Coaches Poll already agree, with the Gators coming in at No. 8 in both. The CFP Poll — the one that matters — is the only holdout, ranking the Gators at No. 11 before Saturday’s showdown with FSU.
Florida’s 40-17 demolition of the bowl-eligible Seminoles, however, should erase any reservations the committee had.
“I don’t know the discussions that happen in the (CFP Selection Committee) room,” coach Dan Mullen said. “But… I think we have a pretty solid résumé to be a top-10 team.”
Florida just completed 10-2 regular season, which included a win over No. 15 Auburn, a team that just defeated No. 5 Alabama and will undoubtedly jump in the poll. All but two of the wins (Miami and Kentucky, both bowl eligible) were by at least a two-possession margin. The Gators allowed just the second-fewest points in the SEC.
The wins speak for themselves. Perhaps the losses speak even louder.
UF lost by 14 on the road to No. 2 LSU, a game that was closer than the score indicated. It lost by seven at a neutral site to No. 4 Georgia, though that score may have flattered Florida. Either way, it’s clear the Gators are capable of competing with some of the best teams in the country.
“I like us against anyone,” senior linebacker Jonathan Greenard said.
UF’s case for the top 10 goes beyond its own résumé, however. It has a lot to do with the résumés of the teams in front of it.
No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Baylor and No. 10 Penn State are the three teams that are behind Florida in the AP and Coaches Polls but ahead of it in the CFP Poll. Minnesota — a team that won by a combined 13 over South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern earlier this year — was just blown out by Wisconsin (its second loss of the season), likely relegating it to a position behind UF.
Baylor, with just one loss, has the best case to be ahead of UF, though it lacks a single win against any team currently in the AP Top 25.
Penn State is the biggest head-scratcher. The Nittany Lions have also suffered two losses, to No. 1 Ohio State and Minnesota on the road. Their best win is over a Michigan team that will likely be ranked behind Auburn in the next poll. Four of their 10 wins were by one touchdown or less, and PSU was up just 13-6 in the fourth quarter on Saturday against Rutgers (maybe the worst Power 5 team in the country) before pulling away.
Wisconsin (currently No. 12) may jump UF by virtue of its win over Minnesota, but that will likely be negated if it loses to Ohio State in next week’s Big 10 Championship Game.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been preaching it since the most recent rankings came out, and Saturday’s games confirmed it: UF is a top-10 team. Anything lower is an oversight.
Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano. Contact him at [email protected]