This formula says Michigan is the Big Ten’s best football team – Detroit Free Press

6 months ago Comments Off on This formula says Michigan is the Big Ten’s best football team – Detroit Free Press

We can argue all day about which schools have the best college football teams going into 2016. But what do the numbers say?

ESPN’s Football Power Index projections say Florida State is America’s No. 1 team, followed by LSU and Oklahoma. A little further down, at No. 11, is Michigan, the highest-ranked Big Ten team on the board.

The FPI projects the Wolverines with a record of 10.2-2.2, with a 34.4% chance of winning the Big Ten.

The rest of the Big Ten’s Top 5: Ohio State is 17th, Nebraska is 23rd, Wisconsin is 32nd and Michigan State is 33rd. The FPI projects MSU to go 7.5-4.6 and a 5.2 chance of winning the conference.

“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,” the FPI rankings site says. “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.”

We don’t blame you if you choose to take these projections with a grain of salt. For one thing, they are very SEC-heavy; five SEC teams rank ahead of Michigan, for example. And Tennessee, which ended last season ranked 22nd in the Associated Press Top 25, is all the way up to No. 5, only behind LSU in the conference.

For a full explanation of how the FPI system works, check this out. It’s not supposed to be a ranking system; rather, it’s supposed to project future outcomes based on team strength, schedule, etc.

At the end of the day, these are all just projections that won’t end up being true. But what else do we have until August rolls around?

Contact Brian Manzullo: Follow him on Twitter @BrianManzullo.

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