ESPN’s Football Power Index Ranks USC Football Out Of The Top 15

ESPN has updated its post-Spring Football Power Index (FPI), which has USC Football slotted just outside the Top 15, ranked 18th, and 5th in the Big Ten. This is the latest ranking measurement to have the USC Trojans slotted in the Top 25.

For those unsure what ESPN’s FPI is, here is a brief explanation. The Football Power Index (FPI) is ESPN’s cutting-edge rating system designed to predict the outcomes of football games and seasons with impressive accuracy. FPI gauges a team’s overall strength by analyzing its offensive, defensive, and special teams performance, all through the lens of expected points added (EPA). These ratings form the backbone of FPI’s game-by-game and season-long projections, making it an essential tool for football fans and analysts alike.

FPI is used in both the NFL and College Football, but in college football, each team’s performance is influenced by a unique set of factors. The four key elements that shape these assessments include data from the past four seasons (especially the most recent one), the number of returning starters on both offense and defense (with extra weight given to the quarterback), a yes/no factor indicating if the head coach is returning, and the strength of the team’s recruiting class (including transfers). College FPI relies heavily on these initial assessments because of the frequent mismatches in weekly games. These priors, adjusted for expected points added (EPA), ensure a balanced and competitive landscape where no single team holds overwhelming dominance.

Related: Devin Hester Wanted To Play For The USC Trojans?

18th A Fair Ranking For USC Football?

So what does all of this mean? In reality nothing. It is a nice tool that uses a ton of analysis and data points to give some predictive results. It has displayed some great accuracy, but like most machine learning, has had some mighty blunders as well. For example, last season the FPI ranked Ohio State number 1 after losing to undefeated Michigan, who the FPI kept at the two spot.

Regardless, if you like data and analysis, then USC Football coming in at 18 seems fairly reasonable considering how last season went, and with the loss of Caleb Williams at QB.

What do you think? Do you think FPI is a valuable or useful measurement?

Here are the complete Top 25 Rankings per ESPN’s Football Power Index.

  1. Georgia
  2. Oregon
  3. Texas
  4. Ohio State
  5. Alabama
  6. Penn State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Tennessee
  10. Missouri
  11. Florida State
  12. Michigan
  13. LSU
  14. Texas A&M
  15. Clemson
  16. Ole Miss
  17. Kansas
  18. USC
  19. Auburn
  20. Florida
  21. Louisville
  22. Kansas State
  23. Miami
  24. Arizona
  25. SMU

*If any USC Trojans fans are curious…the UCLA Bruins come in at 40.