Updated: Gators No. 7 in final AP rankings, No. 6 on coaches poll

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Florida head coach Dan Mullen leaves the field after the Peach Bowl against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Atlanta. Florida won 41-15. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

In one season under Dan Mullen, the Florida Gators have gone from 4-7 and unranked to a Top-10 program again.

This remarkable turnaround season received its exclamation point early today: the 10-3 Gators are ranked No. 7, tied with Georgia,  in the final Associated Press rankings and No. 6 in the final Amway Coaches Poll. It’s UF’s first top-10 finish since 2012, when the 11-2 Gators ended the season in the No. 9 spot coming off a loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

Unlike the 2012 team, the 2018 Gators finished their season with a flourish — back-to-back one-sided wins over FSU and No. 7 Michigan in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 29.

In those final two games, the Gators outscored the Seminoles and Wolverines by a combined 82-29. In the final four games of the season, UF averaged 522.8 yards of total offense and 45 points a game.

The other highlights from a memorable first season under Mullen include a victory over No. 5 LSU in The Swamp, a win at Mississippi State against Mullen’s former team, a 47-21 rout of Tennessee in Knoxville and winning the Vanderbilt and South Carolina games after being down by 17 points in both. LSU is ranked No. 6 in the final poll.

Mullen joins Galen Hall (1985) as only first-year head coaches in Florida history to finish the season inside the top 10.

Mullen is the third head coach in history to win 10 games in a debut season with a current Power Five program after inheriting a team that won less than five games the previous year. The other two were Stanford’s Clark Shaughnessy (1-7-1 in 1939, 10-0 in 1940) and Auburn’s Gus Malzhan (3-9 in 2012, 12-2 in 2013).

Meanwhile, Florida is one of five FBS teams that finished under .500 last year and won 10 games this season, and 2018 marks the second-largest turnaround in school history.

The Gators open the 2019 season against Miami on Aug. 31 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Clemson finished No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the third time after routing Alabama in the national championship game.

The Tigers received all 61 first-place votes. The Crimson Tide, which was trying to become just the third team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, finished second. Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff national championship Monday night. Clemson also finished No. 1 in 2016 and 1981.

The coaches had LSU at No. 7 and Georgia at No. 8.

Final AP Top 25

The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

Record Pts Pv
1. Clemson (61) 15-0 1525 2
2. Alabama 14-1 1462 1
3. Ohio St. 13-1 1364 5
4. Oklahoma 12-2 1356 4
5. Notre Dame 12-1 1286 3
6. LSU 10-3 1119 11
7. Florida 10-3 1103 10
7. Georgia 11-3 1103 6
9. Texas 10-4 1076 14
10. Washington St. 11-2 959 12
11. UCF 12-1 898 7
12. Kentucky 10-3 820 16
13. Washington 10-4 806 9
14. Michigan 10-3 745 8
15. Syracuse 10-3 683 17
16. Texas A&M 9-4 552 21
17. Penn St. 9-4 492 13
18. Fresno St. 12-2 466 19
19. Army 11-2 418 22
20. West Virginia 8-4 296 15
21. Northwestern 9-5 284 NR
22. Utah St. 11-2 188 NR
23. Boise St. 10-3 184 23
24. Cincinnati 11-2 171 NR
25. Iowa 9-4 120 NR

Others receiving votes: Appalachian St. 96, Stanford 52, Mississippi St. 45, Utah 43, UAB 32, Iowa St. 26, Auburn 15, Oregon 11, Missouri 10, Troy 6, Georgia Southern 6, Oklahoma St. 3, Wisconsin 2, NC State 2.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

90 COMMENTS

  1. Well done Gators! Great come back season. How about Clemson over Bama in the NC game? And with a Freshman QB who looked great. They are going to be hard to stop for the next 2-3 years at least. I hope Mullen can keep things going in this direction and have us competing with the big boys soon.

    • Dynasties usually win at least three championships in a row? No team has ever won three national titles in a row, and very few have ever won two in a row (Saban’s Bama teams being among those who have). I have never seen anything like Alabamas run in my lifetime. There is no “talk of a dynasty in Tuscaloosa”; they have a Dynasty if there ever was one- probably the greatest Dynasty in the history of college football.

        • Yeah, I guess I should have specified “in the modern era”. Yale won it three in a row in the late 1800s too. To see how crazy it was back then, I just looked it up and in 1935 there were four other national champions in addition to Minnesota, and in 1936 three other national champions in addition to them. Thinking back to the days in the not so distant past when we often had two national champions, it makes me very happy we have the system we have now.

      • UCLA basketball was a dynasty, the Boston Celtics were a dynasty, the Yankees, Canadiens, all won multiple championships in a row and dominated their sport like no other.
        Alabama is having a nice run, but they are not dominating their sport like these other franchises have done, sorry.

        • Kevin, when you have no clue what you are talking about, best to keep quiet instead of opening your mouth (or your keyboard) and proving to everyone that you have no clue. We are not talking about basketball. We are talking about college football. Anyone with even a little bit of knowledge and understanding of college football understands that Alabama under Saban is a dynasty that has dominated college football more than almost all teams in college football history. I’m a Gator fan, not a Bama fan, but it simply cannot be denied. I’m not going to comment anymore on this because it is a silly discussion.

          • I love trolling morons like you, only your opinion is right, no one else is allowed an opinion, did I say how much I love trolling morons like you, you have no clue or understanding about what sports dynasties are about, to call you an idiot would be an insult to other idiots.

  2. People shouldn’t be too excited about Clemson squeaking by Alabama last night, not when everybody knows that UCF is still the uncrowned national champions!

    That said, the 2018 Gators will always occupy a special place in Gator lore. Truly a great season in which character was built, pride was established once again, and the Gators found their way. Congratulations Dan Mullen & Company, and to every Gator on this team — you did it.

  3. How can Alabama be rated second after that total beat down by Clemson?

    While listening to the game one of the commentators said that the freshman wide receiver who is from Alabama had chosen Clemson over the Tide because of the constant coaching turnover at Alabama. Maybe we can convince more H.S. players of the same thing

    • Alabama was 2nd because they’re the only 1-loss team to win 14 games by beating 1-loss Oklahoma convincingly in a playoff last week. 1-loss Ohio State was 3rd because they barely beat 3-loss Washington and also got a beatdown earlier… from Purdue! Notre Dame and UCF, which also had 1 loss were both exposed as jokes that didn’t really belong in the playoff conversation.

      Gator Nation can only hope the evil empire at Alabama is finally headed down. However, if recruiting rankings mean anything, it’ll be a while before they become vulnerable to teams not named Clemson and Ohio State.

      Go Gators!!!

      • Bama will always recruit well as long as Saban is there. The thing you have to wonder though after watching last nights game, is whether maybe he’s lost a step coaching wise. He was thoroughly out coached in every phase of the game. It’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back from this.

        • You may have a good point about Saban’s coaching Joe. Just as I believe George may have a good point about his ability to retain good assistants, particularly top shelf coordinators. He is really missing Kirby Smart.

          If you look at the final scores of Alabama’s last 3 games, there’s no escaping the fact that their historically vaunted defense has slowly deteriorated when exposed to top shelf offenses with BOTH good good running and passing games led by elite QBs. UGA scored 28 points, Oklahoma 34 and Clemson 44.

          The only question on my mind now is, can he fix his defense the way he fixed his offense a few years ago by hiring Lane Kiffin? I wouldn’t bet against Saban.

          Time will tell.

      • Clemson beat Alabama easier than it beat Notre Dame. Just because a team has only one loss don’t mean it should be #2. It looks like most teams are a far second to Clemson. maybe it should be Clemson #1 then the next team #5. I think the gators could have given a better showing than Alabama did. It tells you something when a coach goes for it on 4th down on his own 35 and being down only one TD. I think Saban new it was over at that point. It reminds me of he year the gators destroyed Ohio State. The buckeyes did the vey same thing when the realized that they could not compete with the gators speed.

  4. Congrats 2018 Gator Football! And for the record, and that’s all I’m saying…
    Coach Steve Spurrier 1st year at Florida: 9-2(*) , and finished 13th in the nation. (Older Gators know the NCAA & SEC screwed U.F. out of an SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl berth, so it’s not an accurate ”final picture.”)
    Coach Urban Meyer 1st year at Florida: 9-3, and finished 12th in the nation.
    Dan Mullen 1st year at Florida: 10-3 and finished 7th in the nation.
    So, CHOMP-ON GATORS!

        • Man 6, you just DON’T like UCF. You and I are gonna go at it ol buddy, I’m from Central Florida and they’re a home town team. Hey, they’ve lost one game in two years. Power 5 conf teams won’t play them unless it’s a one game at home. I would be so happy if the Big 12 expanded and UCF got invited. THEN you’d see a team take off.

          • Aww, I don’t dislike them per se, bud — I just think their over-inflated self aggrandizement is pretty ridiculous, that’s all. To tell you the truth, it wouldn’t bother me at all if the AAC did some trimming and realignment and entered the Power-5 to make it the Power-6. After all, they are a spawn of the old Big East, and that was pretty much considered a major conference. Do that, upgrade their schedule…..I’ll give ’em their props, sure ’nuff.

            Tell you what — you cover the betting money I borrowed from Gator65 last fall, and I’ll lay off. Deal? 😎

  5. In what universe was LSU better than Florida this year? Certainly not the one on the field, but in the mind if the newspaper results don’t mean much anyway.

    Still this team deserves credit for an outstanding turnaround and the seniors gave 3 great seasons.

    I don’t see bama staying at the top. Nick just doesn’t look as iron willed as he was at an earlier age. Happens to everyone.

  6. Well it looks like Bama showed a chink in its armor. They need help on the DL and with their DB’s. Kudos to Clemson for demolishing them like we did Michigan. I think this gives the rest of the SEC some major hope going into next season. Instead of everyone thinking it’s BAMA then everyone else. It’s we can beat BAMA if we play a good game and out coach them. I’m not saying BAMA is bad or not the best in the SEC just that now you don’t go into games saying they are unbeatable. One thing that I have noticed is that recruits go to BAMA because they want to win. It’s not because they have to exceed expectations because they already think they are going to win. That brings complacency which is what we saw last night. Basically I go to BAMA because I know I’m the best or they wouldn’t recruit me. That catches up to teams sooner or later when another team that has great talent comes around but has players that want to prove they are better than the best. What Clemson showed them last night. What our Gators have showed turning this season around and what makes college football so exciting. Mullen is instilling that mindset to current players and recruits that come to UF and it’s showing more with each game we play. Go Gators Great Season!

    • BAMA’s DB’s have been horrible all year, and I figured if Clemson with it’s passing attack would take them out if they didn’t keep constant pressure on the Clemson QB. The Oklahoma Game gave Dabo his Offensive game plan for the NC game Throw at Surtain (the Big Get for BAMA last year in DB recruiting. He did not progress as well as Trey Dean did at DBU!!!

  7. Last night’s game definitely gives the rest of the SEC hope. But, remember that it was Clemson and right now, they are the alpha dog of college football that has everything facet of their program clicking on all cylinders.

    I would say this for 2019….I’d keep my eye on Texas A&M in the West. As much as I dislike Jumbo, I believe that the resources he has in College Station and his ability as a head coach will make them worthy challengers to Bama’s throne. The Gators still have work to do in the East to get to Atlanta but we are in great hands with Coach Mullen and there may be chinks developing in Athens.

    Winning the East and winning the SEC is do-able very soon, if not 2019 then 2020 for sure.

  8. I want to join the group and congratulate the Gators on an outstanding year. To predict we would win 10 games and finish at # 7 nationally seems impossible, but it happened with a lot of hard work and expert coaching.
    Clearly we saw last night that not only can Alabama be beaten, but they can also be demolished with relentless
    effort and excellent execution on every play on either end. Alabama’s QB can be gotten to and hastled into INT’s. Their running game can be slowed and their high flying WR’s can be covered. As Dabo said, if Clemson can do it so can a lot of other teams. The 2019 Gators are one of those teams.

  9. Just read the USA Today Sports Top 25 for the 2019 Season. Yeah, all the usual suspects, yadda, yadda, yadda, but they rank Texas at #5 and TAMU at #10. UCF is going to be upset that they’re not preseason national champions at #12, but I’ll be a suck egg mule if they haven’t got the Gators at #14.

    I would like to officially go on record at this time as being the first say say, “In a pig’s ass!”.

    In fact, at this time I’d also like to commit some of Gator65’s money to wagering a few small bets on it.

    Damn, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands today — that’s what I get for staying up until nearly 10:30 PM watching a football game, I guess. I don’t even do that on New Year’s Eve!

  10. Too funny the coaches have us ranked 2 spots ahead of the leg humpers.
    With their legion of 8 star recruits and such, how can this be? How can we have the same record after they have had so much better recruiting classes year after year? Why ask why?

    • Well, at the risk of a barrage of 105mm beehive rounds, or worse yet, being disemboweled with a dull butter knife and having my innards cast to the fishes of the seven seas, I still say something ain’t quite right up in Athens. Not that I know what the hell it is, mind you, but it’s either that or 8-star recruits just ain’t what they used to be. Maybe they should have gone for all those 3-stars like Clemson did last year instead?

  11. Tide Dominion of the SEC will soon end. Gators are on the comeback trail setting our sights on Georgia first and foremost (of course, we need to beat Miami etc.). O-Line will be ready with some drop-off at first, but not for long. We will be stronger at linebacker and wide receiver. Our running game will remain solid. Love the new additions at DBU. D-Line departures will be very adequately filled. Like how our QB depth is growing – we were very thin there two years ago and only slightly deeper last year. Looking for improved production at tight end. DT should be solid – looking for our biggest DT to improve his discipline and hone his desire to play. GO GATORS!!!

  12. Great season and thank you, CDM and Gator players, coaches and staff! Future looks bright indeed!

    So… we were AHEAD of LSU in the last poll, WE beat the #7 team by 26 points, LSU beat the #8 team by a measly 8 points, PLUS we beat LSU in the regular season, and somehow they jump ahead of us? Do people really think that much of UCF? Apparently not since even going 25-0 in two seasons didn’t get them any higher than #8!! So what gives?

    Methinks some AP voters need to lose their voting privileges in the future!

    Not that it matters, #6 vs #7, I just hate stupidity.

    • Looking head-to-head-to-head-to-head doesn’t work. Based on that linear reasoning, Kentucky should be ahead of Florida as well as Missouri. Oh, then that mean’s Tennessee is ahead of Kentucky, but, but, but the Vols lost Florida. So how does this work again?

  13. Alabama lost to undefeated Notre Dame in 1973, yet still claims a share of the title with the Irish, will they do the same this year? Shameful to continue their bogus claim of 17 national championships. Their 1941 claim of a national championship would be like Florida or LSU claiming it this year.