SEC Football: ESPN really doesn’t like Tennessee and some other SEC teams

It might already be wake up and face the music time for nine, 2022 SEC football teams. According to ESPN’s FPI the nine are in a large group of 112 FBS teams that have less than a 1% chance to make the CFB Playoffs. Perhaps stunning is that ESPN’s algorithm gives 98 of the teams zero chance.

Months away from the first kickoff of the 2022 CFB season, the ESPN model is quite a jolt of reality. In that less than 1% chance group from the SEC are Ole Miss at 0.9%; Kentucky at 0.5%; Florida at 0.4% and Mississippi State at 0.1%.

SEC Football Teams with Zero Playoff Chances

The Playoff chances for Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Tennessee are exactly equal – zero percent chance to make the Playoffs. Given those projections, ESPN’s lack of respect for the Arkansas Razorbacks is close to its lack of respect for the Tennessee Vols. The fanbases of both schools are optimistic about their chances to upset the Alabama Crimson Tide. The ESPN FPI must be a blow to those lofty expectations.

Another SEC football team must be smarting from its projected Playoff chances. After beating Alabama last season and having another recruiting class bonanza, the Texas A&M Aggies are given a 1.4% chance to make the Playoffs. Coming off horrible seasons, ESPN gives LSU (2.8%) and Auburn (2.7%) better chances to make the Playoffs than the Aggies.

Note: In my opinion giving Auburn a greater chance than the Aggies is some kind of algorithmic nonsense.

No doubt many SEC fans, having noticed the ESPN projection, are livid their teams are not judged, as contenders. A fair counterclaim can be made no algorithm can accurately predict the outcome of many games. No team wins or loses until it plays.

Alabama football fans might agree about the FPI, given its history of past, preseason predictions. But instead of bashing ESPN, we might consider it is doing the CFB world a favor. Preseasons are when at least dozens of teams are hyped to nonsense levels. Ironically, ESPN leads the hype parade. But the Playoffs have shone in any one season, very, (make that VERY) few teams are legitimate Playoff contenders.

The teams ESPN projects have the best chance to make the CFB Playoff field are Ohio State (82.3%), Alabama (79.3%), Georgia (73.5%), Clemson (59%), Texas (21%), Notre Dame (17.6%), Michigan (14.8%), Oklahoma (12.6%) and Pitt (10.2%).

In fairness to ESPN, as designed, the FPI improves during the season as game results build.

Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia are the big FPI favorites to win the National Championship, with the highest projection going to the Crimson Tide at 30.1%.