ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) can be a great tool. I personally find its remaining strength of schedule part very informative and think the win-out percentages given to each team are fascinating.
However, this is just absurd.
FPI has updated it’s rankings after Week 8 of the season, and while some may have a problem with Auburn and LSU being in the Top 10, that is definitely NOT the worst part of it.
Coming in at No. 11 in FPI is Ole Miss. You know, 3-4, under-.500 Ole Miss.
One of the biggest problems with FPI is that it really values a strong strength of schedule, of which Ole Miss certainly has. Is strength of schedule important? Absolutely! However, what does it say about Ole Miss when they have literally lost all of the games that make their strength of schedule look so good? Sure, they’ve played three teams in the FPI Top 10, but if they’ve lost all of them, and then lost another game on top of that, why are they ranked 11th?
Pretty much, it comes down to this: until Ole Miss gets a quality win, they shouldn’t be ranked that highly in any rankings, poll, metric, etc. They are 33 spots ahead of Arkansas in FPI, who is in the same boat with three “quality losses” to FPI Top 10 teams.
And, you know, Arkansas actually beat Ole Miss and potentially has another quality win with TCU.
Obviously a ranking — human or computer — can’t just be a list of teams by record or by transitive property of who-beat-who. However, there is a point where a team needs to get proper credit for winning, and Ole Miss getting this much credit for losing is ridiculous.
If ESPN would release their algorithm, it would be easier to find that out, but until then, we are left to guess work and criticism over the metric that ESPN heavily touts on their television and media properties.