GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida was at best on the fringe of the College Football Playoff discussion last week, buoyed by its impressive win over LSU but with a crowded, narrow path to one of those top four spots.

That hope dissipated entirely somewhere in the second half at Florida State on Saturday as the Gators stumbled to a 31-13 loss in Tallahassee, Fla.

That said, Florida’s CFP ranking remained unchanged at No. 15 in the latest edition unveiled Tuesday night.

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The number is moot, though, as a three-loss Florida team has no path to a playoff berth even if it could pull off a stunner this Saturday and upend No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

The fact is the Gators (8-3) lost three of their biggest games by double digits, at Tennessee, at Arkansas and at Florida State.

Aside from that big victory at LSU, their next best win is over either Georgia or Kentucky.

Instead of worrying about the playoffs now, the Gators have to worry about avoiding another three-game losing streak to end the season as happened last year.

Where Florida is ranked

The Gators remained at No. 15 despite the lopsided loss at Florida State. They are one spot behind No. 14 Auburn, sitting as the third-highest SEC team in the rankings.

No. 21 LSU and No. 22 Tennessee are the other SEC teams to make the top 25.

What it means

Not only is Florida out of the playoff discussion, but it missed an opportunity last week to assert itself as the second-best team in the SEC and position itself for a Sugar Bowl berth.

Instead, barring an upset of Alabama, the Gators look to be headed for the Outback Bowl while stuck behind the playoff-bound Crimson Tide (a virtual

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