Say what you will about football and analytics in football, but one thing is for certain, if there is a place for analytics in the game from the fan’s perspective, it certainly is about conversation pieces.
I am a firm believer in the use of analytics in football, both as a team and player while also as a conversation starter for the media and fans alike. And ESPN’s Football Power Index is absolutely a conversation starter and a great way to look ahead to the coming games for your UCLA Bruins.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) generates an index for every team in major college football, or the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). This number measures team’s true strength on a net points scale; expected point margin vs average opponent on a neutral field.
It is said to be the measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward with the rest of each specific season. The FPI represents a value of points above or below average for a team. It also generates a projected result based upon 20,000 simulations of the rest of the season’s scheduled games, or in this case, all six of the newly-scheduled games on the Pac-12 season.
ESPN updates these numbers daily and are certainly subject to change quite rapidly in this season that is 2020.
And as such, let’s take a look at what ESPN has to say about UCLA’s 2020 shortened season, as tough as it is to look at from their angle.
Getting right to it, ESPN has the following win percentages for each game on the season:
Week 1 @ Colorado Buffaloes: 57.1%
Week 2 vs Utah Utes: 33.3%
Week 3 @ Oregon Ducks: 11.2%
Week 4 vs Arizona Wildcats: 60.9%
Week 5 @ Arizona State Sun Devils: 43.7%
Week 6 vs USC Trojans: 18.2%
ESPN has UCLA with an FPI of 3.4, or 55th overall, and has the Bruins with a projected record of 2.6-4.4 based upon their simulations. They give UCLA with a 0.0% chance of winning out this year and just a 0.4% chance of winning the conference.
Of note, it is the hardest ‘remaining strength of schedule’ of all four of the California Pac-12 teams, ranking 79th in the country, though.
I don’t know, silver lining is maybe this will be Chip’s last year?