FanPost

ESPN FPI Update


ESPN has updated their win projections for all of the teams. I assume that this will be the last update before football begins. In the past they have updated each week during the season based on the results from the games.

In most cases the numbers changed very slightly, if at all. There were some that changed enough that a team went from an underdog (less than 50% chance of winning) to a favorite (more than 50% chance of winning). And from those changes, there are a couple of conclusions about the strength (or weakness) of some teams can be assessed.

UW

Overall for UW the numbers changed very little. UW's win percentage went up a little in 7 games, down in 3 games, and stayed the same in 2. The two games where UW was the underdog, they are still the underdog, but their win percentage did improve a little. For the Michigan game the win percentage went from 38.6% to 39.3%; and for the Oregon game it went from 43.1% to 45.1%. The three teams where the win percentage went down were Cal (83.8% to 83%), UCLA (76.6% to 73.7%), and WSU (82.4% to 82.1%). UW's projected wins has increased slightly from 8.5 to 8.7.

UCLA

As you can see, it seems that ESPN's FPI likes UCLA more now. UCLA's win percentage increased in every game. In their Arizona State game, their win percentage improved from 45.4% to 50.1%, meaning that they went from underdog to favorite. Their overall projected wins increased from 6.1 to 6.6.

Utah

Utah is the other team that increased the number of games where they are favored. The difference for them is the BYU game where they went from a win percentage of 47.5% to 57%. They also improved their win percentage in almost every other game. Their projected wins improved from 7.9 to 8.1.

WSU

ESPN's FPI has a better impression of WSU now than before. They aren't favored in any more games (still just 4), but their win percentage improved in 9 of their games. As a result, their projected wins improved from 5.3 to 5.5.

ASU

At first glance it may not look like much changed for ASU. They are still favored in 9 games and their projected wins are still at 8.3. But, they are the only Pac12 team to go from underdog to favored in one game and favorite to underdog in another game. They went from 45.5% (underdog) vs BYU to 53.8% (favorite); and they went from 54.6% (favorite) vs UCLA to 49.9% (slight underdog).

Stanford

Stanford is still favored in 6 of their games, but their projected wins went from 6 to 5.5. The reason for that is that their win percentage dropped in all but one game (vs Vanderbilt); that includes 2 games where they had a win percentage of close to 60% which are now just above 50% (UCLA and WSU).

Arizona

Arizona's win percentage also dropped in all but one game; that game is against BYU, but they are still a huge underdog (18.5%). Their win percentage even dropped in their one game where they are the favorite-against Northern Arizona (from 92.6% to 92%). As a result, their projected wins dropped from 3.3 to 3.

Other Pac12 Schools

There was not enough change in the other Pac12 schools to note. Cal's, Oregon State's, and USC's projected wins went up slightly (5.1 to 5.3, 4.4 to 4.5, and 8.6 to 8.7 respectively) while Colorado's and Oregon's went down slightly (5.3 to 5.1 and 9.5 to 9.4 respectively).

Some Other Observations

Even though I was not tracking BYU directly, they play enough Pac12 schools this year that it is clear there is a noticeable change in the perception of BYU. BYU's win percentage dropped in every game against a Pac12 opponent (Arizona, Utah, Arizona State, WSU, and USC). BYU is still favored in 8 of their games, but I believe that was probably 10 previously since they had been favored over Utah and Arizona State and are not any more.

As I mentioned above, both UCLA and WSU seem to have given a slight bump from ESPN's FPI, although in neither case is it significant enough to make a difference in whether the teams will be contending for a title. A bump for UCLA makes more sense since they were able to add some good players through the Transfer Portal (like Zach Charbonnet). I'm not sure about WSU's bump, but maybe it has to do with Jaden De Laura's return from suspension.

The outlook for the Pac12 in non-conference games against Power-5 opponents did not improve much, especially since Colorado went from being favored against Minnesota to now being the underdog. That was one of only 3 games where the Pac12 team was favored; now it is just 2 (Stanford over Kansas State and over Vanderbilt). However, the win percentage for the Pac12 team did improve in 7 games, but not enough to make them the favorite. In most cases it went from bad to not-quite-as-bad (like Colorado going from 11.8% to 14% vs Texas A&M or USC going from 21.3% to 22.8% vs Notre Dame).