Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier talks with quarterback Malik Zaire during practice.

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill says Florida has a ‘College Football Playoff roster’ if it can find quality quarterback

The Florida Gators enter the 2017 season among the favorites to win the SEC East, but at least one prominent analyst thinks the Gators have a much higher ceiling.

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill went on the Paul Finebaum show Monday and claimed the Gators could make the College Football Playoff if they emerge from fall camp with a quality quarterback.

Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire is the favorite to land the job, but Luginbill doesn’t seem to have confidence in him. On July 20, Luginbill told an Alabama radio station there was “no fit” between Zaire and Florida and he didn’t give the transfer “any chance” to start for the Gators.

On Monday, Florida coach Jim McElwain called it a “true competition” between Zaire, Feleipe Franks and Luke Del Rio.

Florida’s schedule sets up nicely for a postseason run, should the Gators be able to navigate it. UF opens with a marquee nonconference matchup against Michigan in Arlington, Texas. Florida also hosts Florida State on Nov. 25 during rivalry week.

In conference play, the Gators get arguably their three toughest opponents — Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU — at home. Florida only plays three true road games all season: Kentucky, South Carolina and Missouri.

The Gators will open with the Wolverines on Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.