ESPN releases early FPI projections, predicts SEC winner and CFP teams
ESPN released its preseason Football Power Index (FPI) projections on Tuesday, and the Ohio State Buckeyes took the top spot.
However, SEC supremacy remains alive and well. In terms of top-50 teams, the SEC leads all Power 5 conferences. It’s also the only Power conference with at least 5 teams inside the top 20.
FPI once again views the conference as the class of college football, with 3 teams cracking the top 5: Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.
Here’s how the preseason model ranks the SEC sides:
- Alabama (No. 2 nationally)
- Georgia (No. 3)
- LSU (No. 4)
- Tennessee (No. 12)
- Ole Miss (No. 16)
- Florida (No. 18)
- Texas A&M (No. 19)
- Kentucky (No. 28)
- Arkansas (No. 30)
- Mississippi State (No. 32)
- Auburn (No. 39)
- Missouri (No. 40)
- South Carolina (No. 42)
- Vanderbilt (No. 73)
FPI will be updated before the season begins in the fall, so this is just a snapshot. It’s based on returning production and incoming transfer production. That piece of it will continue to change throughout the summer months.
With the transfer portal open again until the end of April, rosters will continue to change. Post-spring depth chart clarity will lead to movement.
But as things currently stand, FPI thinks Georgia has the best chance of any SEC team to go unbeaten and make it to the College Football Playoff. It gives the Bulldogs a 22.4% chance to win out. Alabama (at 13.6%) is the only other team above 1.2%. It also gives the Bulldogs a 63.1% chance to make the CFP compared to a 62.1% chance for the Tide.
LSU has a 23.7% chance to make the CFP, according to FPI’s early projections. Tennessee (2.5%) is the only other team with at least a single percentage point chance.
Interestingly, though, FPI thinks Alabama has the best chance of any SEC team to make the national championship game, with a 38% chance compared to a 35.9% chance for Georgia.
All that in mind, it should come as no surprise that FPI views the SEC title picture as a two-horse race at this point. Georgia is given a 49.3% chance of winning the crown. Alabama has a 40.9% chance of winning the league. LSU has a 7.1% chance of winning the league title while Tennessee (1.2%) is once again the only other team with at least a percentage point chance.
(Florida has a 0.5% chance as the 5th most-likely winner. Graham Mertz fan club stand up.)
When it comes to the national title, FPI would take Ohio State (36.7%), Alabama (20.4%), or Georgia (19.1%) over anyone else.
Texas is the next most-likely champion, with a 5.7% chance. No one else is above 5%
You can find the full FPI projections here.