With no spring football to tide over ravenous college football fans at the moment, that hasn’t stopped the NCAA’s website from taking an early look into the 2020 season.
According to an article written by Wayne Staats earlier this month, he has the Florida football team ranked No. 9 in his version of the Preseason Top 25.
After taking over a program that had finished 4-7 in 2017, Mullen appears to have the Gators on the right track back to after going 10-3 in his first year at the helm in 2018 and 11-2 in his second year in 2019.
The 2018 season in particular saw Florida earn its first major bowl win since the 2009 Sugar Bowl when the Mullen-led Gators defeated Michigan 41-15 in the Peach Bowl. Florida followed up that feat by making it two BCS bowl victories in a row via a 36-28 triumph over Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
The Gators finished both of Mullen’s seasons as a top 7 team, according to the AP and ESPN Coaches polls.
Staats cited first-year starter Kyle Trask as a reason for optimism in 2020 and opined that it could be the year the Gators topple SEC East rival Georgia for the division crown.
Florida is on a three-game losing streak against the Bulldogs in their annual Jacksonville tilt, and haven’t won since a 24-10 Gators decision in 2016.
“Yes, the Gators have to solve rival Georgia,” wrote Staats. “But Florida has gone 10-3 and 11-2 in Dan Mullen’s first two seasons, including a pair of New Year’s Six wins. QB Kyle Trask took over for the injured Feleipe Franks and looked great with his 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Next season could very well be the time the Gators return to the SEC East perch.”
Even having said that, Staats has the Bulldogs ranked No. 5 in his 2020 poll, writing that Georgia boasts one of the top defenses in the country.
In the same poll, Clemson is No. 1, followed by Ohio State and Alabama at No. 2 and 3, respectively. There are five SEC teams in the poll’s Top 10 as LSU (4) and Auburn (10) also make an appearance in that tier.
For Staats’ entire Top 25 preseason poll capsules, go to the link at NCAA.com. Are the Gators ranked too high in this poll? Too low? Or just right?