As I mentioned in my SEC projection post yesterday, Florida has some talent. Not enough to match with Georgia, but enough to be more than competitive with the rest of the division, assuming the Gators don’t suffer much in the injury department.
At SEC Media Days, the media picked Florida to finish fourth in the SEC East. Is that a reasonable take?
This Florida blogger thinks that advanced stats suggest that’s taking the Gators too lightly in 2022. One of the points he makes is regression to the mean.
This is where the SEC media love for Kentucky over Florida and the SEC West over Auburn starts to elude me. Based on EPA differential, the Gators, Tigers, Vols, Rebels and Wildcats were all essentially at the same level last year.
So why the difference in records? Well, Kentucky and Ole Miss went 7-1 in one-score games (5-1 for Kentucky alone). The Gators, Tigers and Vols went a combined 3-11.
If you’ve read my stuff (or anyone else’s analytics articles on football) for any length of time, you know these typically end up as 50/50 propositions. That doesn’t mean that teams that went 3-11 last year will go 11-3. What it suggests is that they will likely go 7-7, and when they do, that will bring their records much more in-line with the teams that had more successful 2021 seasons.
After last season’s loss to Georgia, Florida played like crap. Dan Mullen had lost his team, and it showed. I’m not saying Billy Napier fixes everything in one offseason, but you’d have to think the Gators will play harder for him than they did in the last third of 2021.
There will be an early test of that: the meteor game is September 24, in Knoxville. Florida hasn’t lost that game since 2016, so it will be interesting to see if Napier can hold serve.