The fine folks over at ESPN have certainly done their homework, in more ways than one. They not only have created a metric that gives fans and readers something to talk about, but it’s also something that we need.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) generates an index for every team in major college football, or the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). This number measures team’s true strength on a net points scale; expected point margin vs average opponent on a neutral field.
It is said to be the measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward with the rest of each specific season. The FPI represents a value of points above or below average for a team. It also generates a projected result based upon 20,000 simulations of the rest of the season’s scheduled games, or in this case, all six of the newly-scheduled games on the Pac-12 season.
ESPN updates these numbers daily and are certainly subject to change quite rapidly in this season that is 2020.
So, today we are here to discuss their numbers for your Stanford Cardinal. And the win-loss projections for each game this season.
The Cardinal’s 2020 season schedule was announced this past weekend and as such, we have our first look at what the ESPN FPI has to say.
Week 1 @ Oregon Ducks
ESPN gives the Card just a 19.1% chance to win this one as Oregon’s FPI number is the sixth-best in the country.
Week 2 vs Colorado Buffaloes
ESPN has this as the best chance for a win for Stanford, right at 81.5% over the Buffs.
Week 3 vs Washington State
ESPN has Stanford with a 74.9% chance to hand Washington State a road loss.
Week 4 @ California Golden Bears
ESPN has Stanford winning the Big Game 52.8% of the time this season, noting that Cal ranks 42nd on their FPI, compared to Stanford’s 31st ranking.
Week 5 @ Washington Huskies
ESPN has Stanford with a 45.4% chance of knocking off Washington.
Week 6 vs Oregon State Beavers
ESPN grants Stanford a 79.0% chance to beat the Beavs to close out the ‘regular season.’
Overall, ESPN has Stanford with a 8.9 on the FPI, or 31st in the country. They give Stanford a 0.5% chance of winning out and just a 2.9% chance of winning the conference this season.
Still, a projected win-loss record of 4-2 with the chance to go 5-2 in this of all seasons is still a glimmer of hope.