Gator aid

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.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Stats Geek!

20 responses to “Gator aid

  1. This is the year I really want the meteor to hit. I find myself thinking that Tooth Nation may be getting its act together, and we need the Handbags to put them back in their place. Then again, typing that just made me throw up in my mouth a little.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. fisheriesdawg

    I think there is a decent case that Florida will be a good bit better, though it is rare to see a team in the first year of a new coach really bust through (as we’ve all tried to forget a big chunk of 2016). I would say that they are definitely in the mix for 2nd, but it’s harder to see them competing beyond that than it is to see them falling to 4th. Normally a team like that would focus on year 2, but the talent differential is actually going to increase due to how bad Mullen’s last couple of recruiting classes were. Hopefully it takes Napier long enough that he never gets the boat up on plane and we’re doing this again in 4 or 5 years.

    Auburn…I wouldn’t begin to bank on advanced stats there. That team is either going 11-1 or 3-9.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the wheels fall off if the Utes leave Hogtown with a victory. Last year proved that they fold after and during adversity.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. W Cobb Dawg

    Another way of saying this is that fu is solidly in the middle pack of sec teams. They have to ‘hope’ Napier is better than Mullen when it comes to pulling out a win in those close games.

    And there should be a shoutout to Jim Donnan whenever the subject of close games comes up. Coming back in the bowl against Brees/Purdue. Who could forget Mumme’s kid screwing up the hold that gave us the win in Kentucky. The 4 OT win over Aubie. If it weren’t for close, nail-biter wins, Donnan wouldn’t have any at all.


  5. Dawg19

    Since Tennessee has to play Bama, I pull for the Vols to beat Florida. I figure the losses even out. Then again, I’d pull for the Taliban to beat Florida, so FTMF.

    Liked by 10 people

  6. dawgphan34

    I believe vegas favors Utah -2.5, advanced stats say Florida, and the money line is a florida lean.

    If they beat Utah, then they could be in a good position for 2nd in the east.


  7. practicaldawg

    We can make assumptions all day that result in a better Florida record: “assuming they have minimal injuries,” “assuming AR can be a QB and RB every single game and not get hurt,” “assuming they play harder for Napier all season even after losses.”

    But these are all pretty large assumptions

    Liked by 2 people

  8. pedropossum

    I will reserve my judgement until the Utah game and maybe the Kentucky game. Two wins and no injuries, they could fight for the season. Two losses against physical teams and the potential for injuries in those games could drastically change the narrative. At a bare minimum two losses will lead to fun sack napier conversations on the boards.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Texas Dawg

    Tennessee vs Florida is so difficult to watch. I hate them both and cringe anytime either one does something right. What really sucks is that it is so early in the season that you don’t get to enjoy one losing more than the other because it could be advantageous for us. Then again, if we play like last year, it really doesn’t matter who wins since we won’t need any help.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. biggusrickus

    I know everyone’s an optimist in August, but looking at last year’s trends and applying them to a new staff seems pointless to me. Also, you could completely turn your fortunes around, go 4-1 in one-score games, and end up with the same record. As a couple of your comfortable wins become dicey, and your close losses become more convincing. I don’t really know what to expect from Florida, so I’d split the difference between their floor and ceiling and guess 7-5.


  11. uga97

    Not sure regression to the mean is what it used to be considering teams like UK and UTknox go portalling and pull in players to shore up holes in the roster. Also, fwiw, both QBs at UK & UTknox had their first year of learning on the job in the SEC- so I expect both Hooker & Levi’s to have a higher learning curve as well as comfort level in their systems. I am thoroughly looking forward to both of these teams beating some Gator tail.


  12. archiecreek

    Re-gress to a mean???
    Hell, I hope dem ditch lizard sumbitches like…
    French’s yaller MUSTARD!!!