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.
|Team||Proj record||% chance of record||Actual record|
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.