Florida didn’t get the win on Saturday against No. 1 Alabama, but it’s hard to not be impressed by its performance. The Gators lost 31-29, the closest matchup coach Nick Saban has had with an SEC East team since he lost to South Carolina in 2010. UF still has some issues, but it looked like a bona fide championship contender and made the best team in the country very nervous.
ESPN also doesn’t seem to think any less of Florida after the loss. In its post-Week 3 college football power rankings, the Gators ranked No. 9, the same spot they occupied heading into the Alabama game. Here’s what Andrea Adelson said about UF.
When it came down to it, Florida was a missed extra point away from taking Alabama into overtime. While that might be oversimplifying what happened, it is also true that not many expected the Gators to give the Tide a fight — especially after trailing 21-3 early in the game. But Florida gashed Alabama on the ground, rushing for 258 yards and four touchdowns to slowly chip away at the lead and put itself in position to try to tie with a 2-point attempt. Though the Gators ultimately lost 31-29, coach Dan Mullen said afterward that this is a game they can build off, with the ultimate goal to see Alabama again in Atlanta in the SEC championship game.
After two years of struggling to run the ball, Florida appears to have an elite ground attack. The offensive line is playing very well, and the defense adjusted after a rough start and played much better in the second half.
Emory Jones still needs to play better if he’s going to remain the starter, but he took some positive steps and held his own against a vicious defense on Saturday. With a string of games coming up that should be wins, Florida has a chance to improve on its ranking here quite a bit.