Florida is ranked No. 25 in the first USA TODAY coaches poll of the 2016 season, released Thursday.
The Gators return to the coaches’ poll’s preseason rankings for the first time since 2013, when they held the No. 10 ranking in both the USA TODAY and Associated Press polls coming off an 11-2 season and a Sugar Bowl berth.
Of course, that 2013 season didn’t go how Florida wanted — but it was also a year in which the coaches’ poll still mattered at season’s end, helping factor into the Bowl Championship Series formula in the final year of the BCS’ existence. Now, with the advent of the College Football Playoff, polling of coaches and media members likely only informally affects the College Football Playoff’s selection committee, whose selectors have proven largely inclined to ignore the polls and deliver their own capricious picks.
Whatever Florida does or does not do on the field this fall, not what a slew of
SIDs coaches think of the Gators in September, will determine the fate of the 2016 season. But if the Gators think they’re being underrated in 2016 after coming away with the SEC East crown and a 10-win season in 2015, and can convert that perceived disrespect into motivation, I’m all for that.