ESPN analyst Rod Gilmore thinks new Florida coach Billy Napier can make an immediate impact in Gainesville.

Gilmore has heard the negativity about the Gators entering 2022, but he isn’t sure things will be all that bad in The Swamp this fall.

Appearing on “College Football Live” this week, Gilmore said he thinks the Gators can be in the mix for the No. 2 spot in the SEC East by year’s end:

“It’s fascinating to me (that) people are counting Florida out. I’m not convinced,” Gilmore said. “You know, the race for No. 2 behind Georgia (in the SEC East) is wide open and Florida has a real shot. This is now Anthony Richardson’s team as the quarterback. Emory Jones has moved on to Arizona State. (Richardson) is incredibly talented with his feet, with his arms. He has a chance to be a tremendous player. This is now his team.

“Now, on the other side of the ball, they get 7 players back on defense. Seven starters. I think Florida has a chance to be way better than a lot of people expect, particularly when they get settled at quarterback with Richardson.”

Florida will face a tough test in Week 1, as College Football Playoff dark horse Utah will visit Gainesville on Saturday, Sept. 3. We’ll see if the Gators are up to the task.