One of the most referenced metrics for projecting a team’s record in college football is ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). According to ESPN’s website, “Football Power Index measures (a) team’s true strength on net points scale; expected point margin vs average opponent on neutral field.”
Here is how each game will pan out for the Michigan Wolverines in 2020 based on ESPN’s FPI projections:
Week 1- @ Minnesota (No. 23 in FPI) - 55.8% chance of victory
Week 2- vs. Michigan State (No. 58 in FPI) - 84.7% chance of victory
Week 3- @ Indiana (No. 18 in FPI) - 50.2% chance of victory
Week 4- vs Wisconsin (No. 4 in FPI) - 22.5% chance of victory
Week 5- @ Rutgers (No. 64 in FPI) - 83.6% chance of victory
Week 6- vs Penn State (No. 6 in FPI) - 28.6% chance of victory
Week 7- vs Maryland (No. 71 in FPI) - 91.5% chance of victory
Week 8- @ Ohio State (No. 1 in FPI)- N/A
Week 9- Crossover game - N/A
As you can see, ESPN is not keen on the Wolverines’ chances to make a run at the Big Ten, giving the team a 0.3 percent chance of winning the conference. They also give the Wolverines a 0.1 percent chance to run the table in 2020.
With that being said, Michigan’s FPI is at 12.5 (ranked No. 15) in the country at the jump of the season. Somehow, the Wolverines still finish No. 42 in the country based on their final record of a projected 4.9-4.1 wins in 2020 according to ESPN’s FPI.
In an odd year with some of the team’s top talent already heading to the NFL Draft and a new starting quarterback, the projection of hovering around .500 is not surprising. It also doesn’t help that Michigan’s strength of schedule is 16th in the country as they face three teams in the top ten and five in the top 25 in just an eight game stretch. In fact, the Big Ten boasts eight teams ranked in the top 25 by FPI.
With such parity expected in the teams that are in the second-tier of the conference (obviously the Buckeyes are the cream of the crop), FPI gives Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines just a 0.8 percent chance to make the playoffs by season’s end, the 17th best odds in the country.
What is your expected record for the Wolverines in this hectic season? Let us know in the comment section below!