Alabama Football: Win chances for the SEC West teams

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

In the spring we reviewed the early ESPN FPI rankings for Alabama Football and the other 13 SEC teams. At least in this preseason, Alabama football fans have good reason to tout the FPI, with the Alabama Crimson Tide having the overall No. 2 ranking.

The same analytics that feed the FPI also power the game predictors published by ESPN. The FPI gets frequent criticism. It is a predictive ranking of teams, but in the preseason, it suffers from being driven mostly by the previous season’s results. After several weeks of new game results, the algorithm is by design a more accurate predictor.

Going into SEC football fall camps, ESPN’s algorithm is interesting to project how certain teams compare. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor predicts the winning and losing percentages for every game.

Alabama Football, far different than any other SEC West team, has its lowest game-winning percentages above 76%. Other than the Texas (76.4%) and LSU (76.1%) games, Alabama’s lowest winning prediction is 87% against Kentucky. According to ESPN, the Wildcats have a 1% higher chance of beating Alabama than Tennessee.

LSU is predicted to have three games in which it has less than a 70% chance of winning. At 68.2% is the FSU game, along with Ole Miss at 66.3%. The Bengal Tigers are given a 23.9% chance to beat Alabama.

As the 2023 season progresses, the Bengal Tigers’ chances in Tuscaloosa will likely be calculated at a higher percentage.

Reviewing other SEC West teams and their predicted percentages is a worthwhile barometer to measure how far the other five teams may lag behind LSU and Alabama Football.

Other SEC West teams with unfavorable winning chances

Note: Using ESPN analytics, the teams listed below have games in which their predicted chance of winning is less than 35%.

  • Auburn Tigers – vs. Alabama Football (8.5%); vs. Georgia Bulldogs (9.2%); vs. LSU Tigers (11.3%); vs. Texas A&M Aggies (23.5%); vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (33.2%) and vs. Ole Miss (33.8%)
  • Arkansas Razorbacks – vs. Alabama (6.2%); Vs. LSU (13.1%) and vs. Florida (33.8%)
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs – vs. Alabama (9.4%); Vs. LSU (19.4%) and vs. Texas A&M (25.9%)
  • Ole Miss Rebels – vs. Alabama (10.4%); vs. Georgia (11%) and vs. LSU (33.7%)
  • Texas A&M Aggies – vs. Alabama (17.9%); vs.LSU (19.7%) and vs. Tennessee (31.3%)

While ESPN’s preseason FPI can be described as having mostly entertainment value, ESPN explains how it works during the preseason.

"the system measures the past performances of teams to determine a rating. It also takes returning or added production and recruiting statistics. Once that’s all calculates, ESPN simulates the season 20,000 times to create official projections."

Next. Best Bama QB-WR Duos of All-Time. dark

It is good to remember that one of the joys of college football is in a given game, the outcome is largely unpredictable.