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Diving in to ESPN FPI and what it says about Georgia in 2024

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/03/24

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ESPN released its first FPI for the 2024 college football season and with it comes tons of data on teams across the country. Georgia received the highest rating and has the country’s best percentage chances both to make the College Football Playoff and win the National Championship.

Coming in with a rating of 26.8, the Bulldogs outpace the Oregon Ducks (24.5) and Texas Longhorns (22.9) – each of whom are headed to new conferences this fall. Ohio State (22.2) and Alabama (21.9) round out the top five and are the only other teams with a rating above 20.0.

Georgia will have to play both Texas and Alabama on the road this season, and if it is to hit the projected win total of 10.3, it would require wins over both. UGA comes in with the nation’s second-highest projected win total as Oregon leads the way at 10.8 playing a slightly easier schedule. While the Ducks will play at Michigan, they host Ohio State and avoid a traditionally strong USC program in their first year together in the Big Ten. Georgia on the other hand has its hardest games on the road at Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss.

Speaking of Georgia’s opponents, here’s where each comes in according to the FPI…

No. 3 Texas (22.9)
No. 5 Alabama (21.9)
No. 9 Tennessee (16.6)
No. 15 Clemson (12.2)
No. 16 Ole Miss (12.0)
No. 19 Auburn (10.1)
No. 20 Florida (10.1)
No. 34 Kentucky (6.2)
No. 49 Mississippi State (3.5)
No. 54 Georgia Tech (2.1)
No. 125 UMass (-12.9)
* FPI only rates FBS programs, not FCS ones like Tennessee Tech

As for Georgia’s schedule we all know is tough, the Bulldogs will be part of the two biggest games in terms of combined school ratings in the FPI. Georgia-Texas comes in with a rating of 97.7 while Georgia-Alabama is at 97.1. Oregon-Ohio State is next on the list at 94.7.

All told, UGA is in five of the top 20 combined rating games including two games ESPN deems as “leverage games” when it comes to changing the probability of a team to win a title (national or conference) or make the playoffs.

FPI gives Georgia a 10.8% chance to go undefeated and a 33.1% chance of securing itself a first round bye in the new 12-team College Football Playoff. Of course only conference champions are eligible to earn a bye, and FPI gives Oregon (36.2% chance to earn a bye) a better chance of winning the Big Ten than it does Georgia the SEC. However, the Bulldogs beat out the ducks when it comes to percentage chance at the top seed (19.7%).

In addition, the FPI also rates offensive and defensive units where Georgia comes in at 15.2 (offense) and 11.1 (defense). The ratings are good for second and third respectively, behind Oregon offensively and Ohio State and Alabama defensively.

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