ESPN’s Sun Belt FPI Numbers Are Out: Let’s See How Their Projections Fared Last Year

ESPN recently released its Football Power Index numbers for every team, including each Sun Belt team. Before we jump into this year’s completely pointless FPI projections, let’s compare last year’s projections to how the team’s actually finished.

To start, the FPI was on the money with a few teams. The FPI only gives each team’s chance to win each game. Using a spreadsheet from Excel wizard Andrew Hutchinson from Hawgs247.com we’re able to see which record is most likely for each team according to the FPI.

Spot On

Team Proj record % chance of record Actual record
Louisiana-Monroe 4-8 26.17% 4-8
Louisiana-Lafayette 5-7 26.78% 5-7
Appalachian State 9-3 29.54% 9-3

WHIFF

ESPN was off on every other team but there were a few teams that the FPI missed on big time.

New Mexico State

The FPI gave the Aggies a 26.33 percent chance to finish 4-8 and just a 12.37 percent to garner bowl eligibility. NMSU ended up with six regular season wins, a feat the FPI gave the Aggies an 8.93 percent chance of doing.

Georgia State

The Panthers turned in a solid season in year one of Shawn Elliot’s tenure. The FPI, however, wasn’t so bullish on GSU.

The FPI gave the Panthers a 38.44 percent of reaching bowl eligibility and a 26.03 percent chance of going 5-7. The Panthers ended up winning seven last year and won an eighth during bowl season against Western Kentucky.

Troy

ESPN wasn’t too far off, projecting a nine win season before the Trojans won 10 in the regular season. I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Troy was given a 4.1 percent chance to beat LSU.

The Trojans also had an 84.8 percent chance to beat South Alabama, according to the FPI. So, yeah. The FPI is worthless.

2018 Season Projections

Bowl Eligibility

According to the spreadsheet, the FPI predicts five teams to reach the postseason this year. Last season, the FPI predicted only three Sun Belt teams to reach a bowl game and five did. Below are the five teams projected to go bowling in 2018 and their percent chance of doing so.

 

Appalachian State 96.22%
Arkansas State 93.02%
Troy 90.10%
Georgia Southern 78.65%
Louisiana-Monroe 77.85%

Chance to Win Conference

ESPN views the Sun Belt very nearly the same as it did last year, as it should. Arkansas State has the luxury of not being in the same division as Troy and Appalachian State and The season finale between the Mountaineers and Trojans will likely decide the East division.

 

Arkansas State 36.80%
Appalachian State 34.30%
Troy 26.60%

 

Projected Records

Appalachian State 8.0-4.0
Arkansas State 7.7-4.3
Troy 7.3-4.7
Georgia Southern 6.7-5.3
Louisiana-Monroe 6.6-5.4
South Alabama 4.2-7.8
Louisiana-Lafayette 4.2-7.8
Coastal Carolina 4.0-8.0
Texas State 3.9-.8.1
Georgia State 3.8-8.2

Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is that Georgia State is projected to have the worst record in the Sun Belt, or at least among the worst.

The FPI sees the conference in three tiers: the top three, Georgia Southern and Louisiana-Monroe, and then a bunch of 4-8 teams.

Personally, I have the Sun Belt split into four tiers, but I’ll get into that further into the offseason.

For now, thank you for reading this completely pointless article and wasting four minutes of your day. I appreciate it.

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