The ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) college football ranking and computer prediction model is a measure of team strength that predicts a team’s future performance.
Leaderboards and result predictions are based on 20,000 simulations of a team’s season using a combination of analytics including past results, opponent quality and a team’s schedule.
Editor’s Note: This is not a traditional “power ranking” of the best teams, but rather a prediction of how each team would finish against an average opponent on a neutral field, ranked by their expected points advantage per game.
25.Louisville. Despite a season-ending loss to rival Kentucky, the Cardinals did just enough to stay in the ESPN rankings, dropping five points in the poll.
24. Oklahoma. Brent Venables’ debut season ends in a 6-6 quagmire after an away loss to Texas Tech, and now the Sooners face a crucial offseason to fix things.
23. State of Oregon. The Beavers pulled off 9 wins with a statement comeback against rival Oregon, who had built a 31-10 lead in the third quarter.
22. Washington. Michael Penix led an offense that rallied for 700 yards in the Apple Cup to end the year with 10 wins in Kalen DeBoer’s debut season.
21. Baylor. Not an ideal reaction to last season’s Big 12 title campaign, as the Bears stumble to a 6-6 mark after losing to Texas in the regular-season finals.
20. Illinois. Beating rivals Northwestern in the state wasn’t enough to hold the Big Ten West’s title hunt, thanks to three straight losses late in the season, including to eventual division champion Purdue.
19.Minnesota. A strong finish for the Gophers, who move up 2 spots in the ESPN rankings after a comfortable win over rival Wisconsin to recover Paul Bunyan’s axe.
18. State of Mississippi. The Bulldogs clinched a Thanksgiving victory over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and moved up to third place in the SEC West.
17. Notre Dame. That five-game winning streak ended on the road at USC, but Marcus Freeman’s first year still ends on a strong note that carries over into Year 2.
16. Ole Fraulein. According to ESPN computers, the Rebels remain ahead of the Bulldogs in the rankings as they have just 0.7 points per game advantage over their rivals.
15.Oregon. After building a 21-point lead over rivals Oregon State, the Ducks stumbled through second-half errors and questionable decisions, losing two of their last three overall standings after that brilliant 8-game midseason winning streak, only to lose the Pac- 12 to miss title game.
14.USC. A lower than expected ranking for the resurgent Trojans as the index predicts the team to be 14.9 points better than an average team. AP and College Football Playoff voters will be kinder to this CFP hope in their polls.
13. State of Florida. A solid result for Mike Norvell’s team, who won five games in a row and scored over 40 goals in four of them, including a strong performance in the final against rivals Florida, who moved up to second place at the ACC Atlantic.
12. LSU. A surprise loss at Texas A&M in the Finals sends Brian Kelly’s team to a costly third loss and elimination from the College Football Playoff race, but there’s still a date against Georgia in the SEC title game with a chance of causing some havoc .
11. State of Kansas. The Wildcats overcame rival Kansas for the 14th straight season and booked a Big 12 Championship Game date against undefeated TCU with a chance to throw a monkey wrench in the College Football Playoff rankings next week.
10. TCU. Again, this low ranking is a result of FPI’s predicted goal spread per game, which estimates the Horned Frogs 16.5 points better on a neutral field. In the real-world polls, TCU should move up to third place after losing Ohio State.
9. Klemson. A stunning surprise at home against South Carolina throws the ACC favorites onto a second loss and knocks them out of the college football playoff picture as that offense finally got back to center when it mattered most.
8. Utah. The Utes had a chance to defend their Pac-12 title against USC thanks to Oregon’s loss on Saturday.
7. Penn State. Winning the Land Grant Trophy outside of Michigan State is enough to end with 10 wins and a likely invitation to a good bowl game for the Nittany Lions, but that program still trails OSU and Michigan in the Big Ten East.
6.Texas. ESPN has been unusually high with the Longhorns all season and still forecast them as 20.4 points better than an average team on a neutral field, hence the high ranking. We will test this theory when they receive a bowl invite.
5. Tennessee. Big Orange stumbled out of the college football playoff chase with that loss in Georgia and a smashing hit in South Carolina, but ended it strong, stomping down Vanderbilt and trying to make a mark in the bowl.
4.Michigan. This ranking will definitely piss off Wolverine fans, and it should. FPI stubbornly put Michigan behind Ohio State, despite a statement win in Columbus, its second straight after the offense mounted a bombing campaign against OSU Secondary. Playing for the Big Ten Championship, UM is ranked #2 on the leaderboard that actually counts.
3. State of Ohio. The index expects the Buckeyes to be one point better than Michigan against a so-called average team after being 22 points worse than the team ranked behind them in the same field. This offense can move, but in-game coaching maneuvers and sloppy defense continue to hold this team back.
2. Alabama. A nice big win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl brings the Tide to 10 wins this year and sets us up for quality bowl play. Will this game feature Bryce Young as quarterback? He still has to make that decision.
1. Georgia. The Index projects the reigning college football national champions to be 28.1 points better than teams at a neutral field after topping the league table in the regular season. Next up is a date against LSU in the SEC championship game in hopes of repelling the disgruntled Tigers and cruising into the playoffs as the No. 1 team in the country.
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