Gators leap into college football top 25 polls: Florida No. 19 in USA Today Coaches Poll

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports

After its season-opening upset of No. 8 Utah at The Swamp, Florida football broke into the Top 25 in the USA Today AFCA Coaches Poll at No. 19 on Tuesday.

The Gators (1-0) made an even more impressive debut in this week's AP Top 25, coming in at No. 12. Utah, still one of the favorites to win the Pac-12, dropped to No. 15 in the USA Today poll and No. 13 in the AP.

Florida will face a ranked opponent for the second straight week at The Swamp when it hosts No. 20 Kentucky (7 p.m., ESPN). The goal for the Gators will be to avoid any letdown after opening the season with a dramatic 29-26 over Utah that was decided on an interception by linebacker Amari Burney with 16 seconds remaining. Starting quarterback Anthony Richardson rushed for three TDs to lead the offense, earning SEC offensive player of the week honors on Monday.

David Whitley:Florida didn't look like a rebuilding program in its upset of No. 8 Utah 

Safety first: Florida starting QB Anthony Richardson must lead offense and stay healthy

Grading Florida's Week 1 performance:How did offense, defense and special teams look?

Billy Napier knows it's not time to get complacent

Gators head coach Billy Napier and the team run out of the tunnel at the start of the game in the 2022 season against the Utah Utes at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Sept. 3, 2022.

It was a successful debut for first-year Florida coach Billy Napier, who will now try to guard the Gators against complacency in their week two matchup with the Wildcats.

 "You've got to operate in truth, right," Napier said. "Operate in truth, tell the truth.

"I think sometimes we hear the things we want to hear and we don't hear some of the things we need to hear. So just remaining objective, evaluate it for what exactly it is. I think sometimes we get consumed with the results. Reality is we need to always evaluate, win or loss, independent of the result. What does the film look like, and what can we do better?"

Florida will look to avenge a 20-13 loss at Kentucky last season. The Gators are 2-2 in their last four meetings with the Wildcats.

"The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement," UF defensive lineman Tyreak Sapp said. "You've got to take that for what it is and move on to the next week and have laser beam focus on the next team and get ready for your next opponent."

Kentucky is led by quarterback Will Levis, who passed for 303 yards and 3 TDs in UK's 37-13 season-opening win over Miami (Ohio). The status of starting running back Chris Rodriguez, who was suspended for the opener against Miami, remains up in the air. Without Rodriguez, Kentucky rushed for just 50 yards on 26 carries against the RedHawks.