The ESPN Football Power Index handed out last week, we remember had Stanford finishing 7-5. We wanted to know how they got to those numbers, well, now we have them.
Below is the projection for every game on the Stanford Cardinal football schedule in 2020.
Stanford’s Football Power Index (FPI): 8.9
FPI Rank: 31st
Projected win-loss record: 7.0-5.1
Chance of winning out: 0.0%
Chance of winning Pac-12: 1.7%
Strength of schedule remaining ranking: 32nd
Here’s how ESPN gets to their FPI, as a reminder:
FPI is a predictive rating system designed to measure team strength and project performance going forward. The ultimate goal of FPI is not to rank teams 1 through 128; rather, it is to correctly predict games and season outcomes. If Vegas ever published the power rankings it uses to set its lines, they would likely look quite a lot like FPI. Correctly predicting game outcomes can’t be done by evaluating teams’ records because some teams are stronger than their records indicate (lots of close losses), and others have favorable schedules. Both of these situations are reflected in the game- and season-level projections. It is important to note what FPI is not — FPI is not a playoff predictor, and it is not designed to identify the four teams most deserving of making the College Football Playoff. ESPN has other metrics, including Strength of Record, that can be used to identify the most deserving teams.
Week 1 — William & Mary
Projection (Percentage): WIN (98.9%)
I get it, simulations are going to account for everything, so the lone few chances that Stanford loses to W&M in their simulations must be seeing heavy injuries and torrential rain pour or something. This is a win.
Week 2 — @ Arizona
Projection (Percentage): WIN (61.2%)
Arizona still seems to be a work in progress under Kevin Sumlin but Grant Gunnell has the chance to break out. This one will be a close one and the simulations seem to think so.
Week 3 — USC
Projection (Percentage): LOSS (31.9%)
At this stage in the game, I’d be happy with that percentage as any Stanford fan. The fact that this is at the Farm likely gives them a few percentage points in favor and I’d assume on a neutral site, this is more like just a 20% chance to win for the Cardinal.
Week 4 — @ UCLA
Projection (Percentage): WIN (57.9%)
The Bruins are a depleted team and Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a ton to prove. The Cardinal defense is much better, and if I had to guess, I’d put my percentage on a Stanford win here closer to 65%.
Week 6 — @ Notre Dame
Projection (Percentage): LOSS (23.4%)
I’m not sold on Ian Book at quarterback for Notre Dame but this one is in South Bend, in their confines, on their timeframe. Tough to see Stanford coming away with more than a moral victory in this one.
Week 7 — Washington State
Projection (Percentage): WIN (77.5%)
The high-flying Cougar offense that once was will look a bit different but let’s not overlook just how much of an offensive guru that Nick Rolovich is. Not to mention, this is a conference game, right in the heart of injury territory. This one scares me,
Week 8 — @ Oregon
Projection (Percentage): LOSS (13.4%)
Yeah, we get it ESPN.
Week 9 — Oregon State
Projection (Percentage): WIN (81.6%)
The Beavers are likely building something to be a fierce competitor, just not in 2020. This is a tough game for them, and a game that Stanford has to not look over, but can likely get some rest for their starters ahead of the trip to Seattle.
Week 10 — @ Washington
Projection (Percentage): LOSS (38.3%)
Think of it this way: A gambling expert once said that a ‘home game’ gives the home team at least 2.5 points on a typical Vegas spread. So, if we subtracted that 2.5 points from Washington, this line gets closer and closer to the 50-50, pick ‘em type game between the Huskies and Stanford. Hope for good, non-rainy weather, and perhaps a favorable bounce in this one and the result goes the other way.
Week 11 — Colorado
Projection (Percentage): WIN (83.8%)
The Buffaloes will be hurting in 2020, it’s just a matter of how many points Stanford puts up in this one, or how few points they allow.
Week 12 — @ Cal
Projection (Percentage): LOSS (47.1%)
See point above in the Washington game. If Cal is subtracted the 2.5 points that they receive for being ‘at home’ — then this one is strongly in favor of Stanford. They likely bring the better roster to Berkeley, and what could be the better quarterback by this time this fall. Either way, this one should be a great game.
Week 13 — BYU
Projection (Percentage): WIN (82.8%)
The Cougars have to come to Palo Alto and that should frighten them. However, if BYU can stay healthy, they faced off against a formidable first four opponents last year and came away battle-tested. Zach Wilson, Matt Bushman and Brady Christiansen are NFL draft picks on their offense alone. Don’t overlook BYU.
So there we have it — the projections from ESPN for every game this season. Where do you agree most? Perhaps where do you disagree most?