Beginning Nov. 3 the College Football Playoff committee will begin to sort all of this out, but for now the Florida Gators are back with the big boys of the AP poll. Barely.
Ranked 25th after Saturday’s wild 28-27 comeback win over Tennessee, the 4-0 Gators still don’t look like a team that ought to scare anybody. It’s more a matter of, hey, somebody’s got to be No. 25. This week it’s Florida.
Consider that Tennessee was No. 25 in the AP preseason poll. The Vols, who couldn’t keep a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter at the Swamp, are now out and leaking oil at 2-2.
Last week the Missouri Tigers were No. 25 and now they’re out, too. The difference between them and Florida in the eyes of voters is that the Gators were able to beat Kentucky and the Tigers weren’t. Not the strongest of recommendations but, again, somebody’s got to be No. 25.
Not that the Gators don’t prize the spot, or that Miami wouldn’t. It’s an important step on the way back to national prominence. Next Saturday night’s game with Ole Miss sure makes it a slippery step, though, followed by No. 9 LSU and No. 8 Georgia down theline.
That’s the challenge of making these poll numbers stick, and why FSU’s streak of 58 consecutive appearances in the AP Top 25, second only to Alabama, is a vital part of Jimbo Fisher’s continuity in landing great recruiting classes.