The dust has barely settled on the 2012 college football season and there already is at least one publication that has put out 2013 preseason rankings.
Paul Myerberg has gained traction with his “FBS re-ranking” as part of his respected “Pre-Snap Read” blog before joining USA Today on Oct. 1, 2012. The Gators are No. 8 in his final re-ranking of the season after coming in at No. 9 and No. 10 in the final AP and coaches’ polls of the 2012 season.
As far as next season, Myerberg has Florida at No. 5, which is the second highest among SEC teams as reigning BCS National Champion Alabama comes in at No. 1 followed by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 Oregon.
That means Myerberg has Florida pegged as the favorite to win the SEC East. The Gators technically were Eastern Division “co-champs” as they finished with a 7-1 league record, but 7-1 Georgia played in the SEC Championship game after beating the Gators 17-9 in Jacksonville.
Here’s what Myerberg wrote about the Gators:
“Why No. 5? Will Muschamp’s defense will insert a few new starters and not miss a beat. In addition, the offense, and quarterback Jeff Driskel in particular, will only get better in a second year under coordinator Brent Pease. What about the losses to the NFL? Those that have left thus far can be replaced.”
Florida State comes in at No. 6, followed by Georgia at No. 7, Notre Dame at No. 8, LSU at No. 9 and Nebraska at No. 10. Other SEC teams are South Carolina at No. 14, and Texas A&M at No. 15 while Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are listed as teams “also under consideration.”
Myerberg writes that his list is the teams “most deserving of a top-25 ranking in 2013 preseason polls,” and he makes convincing arguments about each one in the column.
As he noted, Driskel will be back for his second season as a starter in Pease’s offensive system. The Gators’ offensive line certainly should be improved and the running game led by Matt Jones should be in solid hands.
Florida will need to fill holes on all three levels — line, linebacker and secondary — of the defense, but the return of several key contributors should blend well with what appears to be shaping up as one of the top signing classes in the country.
One concern looking ahead to 2013, which was the same concern heading into 2012, is the need for playmakers at receiver. Many believe signees such as Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson will fill that void next fall, though.
This is just the first of many preseason rankings that are sure to have the Gators among the top teams nationally heading into 2013.
Just to note, Florida was No. 34 in Myerberg’s “The Countdown” preseason rankings heading into 2012.