Let’s make something clear, it’s Florida’s wins, not it’s losses, that explain the College Football Playoff committee’s No. 11 ranking of the Gators.
Here’s a full look at the November 2️⃣6️⃣ #CFBPlayoff Selection Committee Rankings.
Is your team in this week?
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 27, 2019
Florida’s two losses are about as good as it gets. There is no shame in losing to the No. 2 and No. 4 ranked teams in the country.
However, Florida’s wins have been underwhelming to mediocre, at best.
And that is the hardly up for debate.
You can start with the fact that the Gators faced two, yes two, FCS opponents.
While both Tennessee-Martin (7-5) and Towson (7-5) finished with winning overall records, neither earned bids into the 24-team FCS Playoffs. Also, between the two schools a few of their losses came via Austin Peay, Albany, and Elon, not exactly blue blood programs.
After opening the season with a neutral site victory over Miami, many felt this was a positive. The Hurricanes were expected to compete in the incredibly weak ACC Coastal division. That, however, has not been the case. Miami is now 6-5 and coming off an embarrassing loss that even head coach Manny Diaz is calling a low-point in the program’s history.
Auburn is the only team that Florida has beaten that was worth anything.
That said, glance over to social media and you can read all about how horrible and basic the Auburn offense is.
There is also significant talk about the possibility of Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn either being fired or leaving for Arkansas (say, what?).
And that’s what Florida has to hang it’s hat on?
Here’s a list of opponents the Gators have beaten:
- Miami (6-5)
- Tennessee-Martin (7-5, FCS)
- Kentucky (6-5)
- Tennessee (6-5)
- Towson (7-5, FCS)
- Auburn (8-3)
- South Carolina (4-7)
- Vanderbilt (5-6)
- Missouri (5-6)
Florida wins have come against opponents whose combined (non-FCS) record is only 40-37.
Note: We all should question how Baylor, ranked No. 14 in last week’s CFP rankings, moved up five spots (jumping Florida, among others) after beating a 6-5 Texas team.
But is Florida the most deserving two loss team out there?
The answer is no, and it once again comes down to wins.
The committee actually got it right with Penn State.
While the Nittany Lions have been far from flashy this year, they have two quality losses (No. 8 Minnesota by 7, and No. 2 Ohio State by 11) to go with two wins over ranked opponents, including one on the road.
Penn State went to Iowa and defeated the No. 17 team in the country, and followed that up with a home win over No. 13 Michigan.
PSU faced one FCS team (Idaho), but their wins have come from teams with a combined (non-FCS) 49-39 record.
While very little of this merits debate since most of it will play out over the next two weekends, it’s clear that Florida’s wins just aren’t impressive enough to warrant a top-ten ranking.
This isn’t meant as a slight to the program in any way. What Dan Mullen has done is nothing short of impressive.
Mullen has had to overcome injury after injury and the October gauntlet that this year’s schedule threw at him.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to beat LSU or Georgia.
But the sky isn’t falling. With a win over Florida State and a few more dominoes to fall, the Gators could play in a New Year’s Six Bowl for the second consecutive season.
The rankings will also begin to take care of themselves.
It’s important to remember, Baylor and Oklahoma will play again in the Big 12 title game. Minnesota will face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. Utah could lose to Oregon in the PAC-12.
And more importantly, Georgia will probably lose to LSU in the SEC tilt.
The prospects of playing a New Year’s Six Bowl, a potential top-5 finish, and not watching UGA lift the National Championship trophy, should make any Gators fan ecstatic.
*Note: This isn’t intended to debate the merits of several one loss teams in front of Florida.
All rankings based on current CFP rankings.