After going 5-7 in 2016, Ole Miss football is poised to improve slightly this season, according to ESPN’s FPI projections.
ESPN released its new FPI rankings this week, and the Rebels came in at No. 38 overall with a projected 6.4 wins in the regular season. FPI gives Ole Miss a win probability of greater than 50 percent in six games this season.
Here is ESPN’s explanation of how the metric works:
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.
Here is the full schedule, with FPI projections
|DATE||OPPONENT||ESPN FPI PROJECTION|
|Sept. 2||vs South Alabama||95.1% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Sept. 9||vs UT Martin||97.2% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Sept. 16||at Cal||59.5% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Sept. 30||at Alabama||7.7% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Oct. 7||at Auburn||10.7% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Oct. 14||vs Vanderbilt||66.0% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Oct. 21||vs LSU||22.8% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Oct. 28||vs Arkansas||57.8% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Nov. 4||at Kentucky||39.5% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Nov. 11||vs UL Lafayette||93.4% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Nov. 18||vs Texas A&M||47.5% chance Ole Miss wins|
|Nov. 23||at Mississippi State||40.0% chance Ole Miss wins|
FPI doesn’t like the chances for Ole Miss to pull off another upset of Alabama. After back-to-back wins in 2014-2015 and another close game against the Crimson Tide last year, Ole Miss has just a 7.7 percent chance of knocking off Alabama again this year.
The Rebels have three non-conference games where their win probability is more than 90 percent. In their other non-conference game, at Cal, they have a 59.5 percent chance of victory.
Their SEC slate won’t be so easy. Besides home games against Vanderbilt and Arkansas, the Rebels are underdogs in every other league game, per FPI. They’re best chance for three conference wins comes against Texas A&M (47.5 percent chance of victory).
If the Rebels beat the Aggies and won every game where they’re favored, they would actually finish with seven wins. That would be a marked improvement from last season, especially given recent personnel losses to the draft and declining recruiting. However, the Rebels would still have to sit out postseason play thanks to a self-imposed bowl ban.