ESPN’s Football Power Index predicts the Iowa football team will win the Big Ten West, but it also sets the win’s ceiling lower than expected.
While many of the predictions coming out about conference and division success is based on an individual’s thoughts and feelings about the college football landscape, ESPN’s Football Power Index is based on simulations and analytics. According to this measurement of teams, the Iowa football team has the best chance of winning the Big Ten West, but it also has the best chance of falling flat on its face.
Per ESPN, here is what the Football Power Index is:
"The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season."
Currently, the Iowa football team’s FPI is 10.5 which puts them at 23rd overall in the nation, above every other team in the Big Ten West. They were also given an 8% chance of winning the Big Ten, which means, they are getting the best chance to win the Big Ten West as well.
For context, here are the other teams in the Big Ten West:
- Wisconsin: 6.7 FPI; 1.4 winning %
- Nebraska: 8.2 FPI; 6.0 winning %
- Minnesota: 8.9 FPI; 7.9 winning %
- Northwestern: 3.1 FPI; 0.6 winning %
- Purdue: 0.4 FPI; 0.2 winning %
- Illinois: -3.9 FPI; 0.0 winning %
Interestingly enough though, based on the 10,000 simulations, the win-loss range for the Iowa football team is just 7.9 wins to 4.4 wins, which aptly fits Las Vegas’ betting line of 7.5 wins. Both Nebraska and Minnesota have higher projected win totals despite lower FPIs and winning percentages.
Digging deeper into the analytics, ESPN gives the Iowa football team just a .1% chance of winning out for the season, which would have to happen if the Hawkeyes want a shot at the College Football Playoff.
There is a lot of promising things to take away from the analytics heading into 2019 including that advanced analytics likes the talent currently on the team.
As the season progresses, these metrics will continue to be updated to reflect games that have been played already.