ESPN’s Football Power Index is back.
Doesn’t it seem like the 2017 season just ended? Well, don’t let that stop you from debating which teams will enter the 2018 campaign in the best shape to make a memorable run. On Wednesday, ESPN Analytics’ Seth Walder released the FPI’s initial preseason rankings. The team on top: Clemson. (No respect for Alabama’s national title?)
However, it doesn’t take long for the SEC to claim a presence within the top 5. The Crimson Tide come in second, followed by Georgia, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Washington, Auburn, Penn State, Oklahoma and Michigan State round out the top 10.
For what it’s worth, Mississippi State is slotted at No. 16, and Texas A&M is No. 20. Florida, which is No. 22, is the last SEC team in the FPI’s preseason top 25. (LSU barely misses out, coming in at No. 26.)
You can see the full rankings here. In case you need a refresher, here’s an explanation from Walder about ESPN’s FPI:
FPI is our predictive rating system for college football teams that we use to fuel our predictions and projections before and during the season. You can read about how FPI works here or watch a short video about it below. But the abridged version is that factors used in the preseason model include:
- Team performance over the past four seasons (most emphasis on last season)
- Returning starters at quarterback, on offense overall and on defense
- Whether a team has a returning head coach
- Recruiting rankings over the past four seasons
Clearly, preseason projections are all for fun at the moment. It’s way too early to make sweeping judgments about possible national title contenders for the coming fall. Still, ESPN’s FPI gives big respect to the SEC’s strongest teams, which should be expected after Alabama and Georgia met in the National Championship Game in January.
Will Clemson be able to hold on to the top spot? Will Alabama assert its strength again? Will Georgia rise as the SEC’s best? How about someone else?
So many questions. Thankfully, the answers will come in time. Let’s hope these quiet months before the fall pass as quickly as possible.
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