One SEC East school stands in the way of Florida’s bid to break through and win the conference, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).
That would be rival Georgia, according to the network’s popular FPI ranking system, which received an update on Wednesday. The Gators have an 8.3 percent chance of winning the SEC, while the Bulldogs are the only SEC East team with a higher chance at 10.5.
Still, Florida is slotted as the No. 15 team in the country. Its projected regular-season record is 7.9-4.4 as coach Jim McElwain’s squad will have to navigate the country’s fifth-toughest schedule based on ESPN’s formula.
If you’re not aware of how the system is put together, ESPN explains it as follows:
The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.
In determining each team in the country’s national ranking and chance to win their respective conference, ESPN arrives at that conclusion partly by breaking down each team’s shot at coming out victorious in each contest.
Note: Asterisk indicates neutral site game
|DATE||OPPONENT||ESPN’s PROJECTED RESULT|
|Sept. 2||vs. Michigan*||52.6% chance UF wins|
|Sept. 9||vs. Northern Colorado||99.7% chance UF wins|
|Sept. 16||vs. Tennessee||62.1% chance UF wins|
|Sept. 23||at Kentucky||61.9% chance UF wins|
|Sept. 30||vs. Vanderbilt||83.8% chance UF wins|
|Oct. 7||vs. LSU||43.7% chance UF wins|
|Oct. 14||vs. Texas A&M||70.8% chance UF wins|
|Oct. 28||vs. Georgia*||47.4% chance UF wins|
|Nov. 4||at Missouri||66.4% chance UF wins|
|Nov. 11||at South Carolina||61.2% chance UF wins|
|Nov. 18||vs. UAB||98.5% chance UF wins|
|Nov. 25||vs. Florida State||29.4% chance UF wins|
Some takeaways from these numbers:
- Florida is favored in nine games even though the team is projected to win 7.9 games. That’s explained by the fact that there are a lot of games hovering around the 50-50 mark. The Gators are slightly projected to win their opener against the Wolverines, but that’s not the case with home games against LSU and Florida State or their meeting in Jacksonville against Georgia.
- ESPN sees Florida easily taking non conference matchups against Northern Colorado and UAB, with at least a 98 percent chance of winning both contests.
- Out of Florida’s six games against division opponents, the only one in which the Gators have a 70 percent chance or better is in The Swamp against Vanderbilt on Sept. 30 (83.8 percent).
- Florida has lost four straight and six of the last seven against Florida State, and the FPI doesn’t see the Gators getting back on track in that rivalry. UF only has a 29.4 percent chance of coming out with a victory on Nov. 25.