Last year ESPN’s football power index (FPI) loved Tennessee. That metric had the Vols as a top ten team for much of the year. Same with 2015. Tennessee played in so many close games that the FPI actually had them as a top five team, despite having four losses.
This year, FPI has taken a step back with Tennessee. But not too far. FPI ranks the Vols #19 in the nation, just behind Michigan, Louisville and TCU. The metric ranks Tennessee’s schedule 30th in the nation.
Interestingly enough, FPI projects Tennessee to go (almost exactly) 8-4. They give the Vols a 4.1 percent chance to win the SEC. FPI gives Tennessee exactly a zero percent chance to go undefeated. Tennessee is the only team inside the top 20 to be given a zero percent chance.
Alabama isn’t the number one team on this list, either. It’s Ohio State. The Buckeyes are projected to go 12-1, with Alabama ranked second and projected to go 11-2. Auburn is ranked fifth according to the FPI, which is likely why the Tide were only given a 47.6 percent chance to win the SEC.
Other SEC East foes were ranked just ahead of Tennessee. Georgia checked in at 13, while Florida came in at 14. South Carolina was all the way down at 32. Kentucky was surprisingly high at 35, followed by Missouri at 39 and Vanderbilt at 46.
This is yet another projection for Tennessee finishing 3rd in the SEC East.
What does this all mean? Not a whole lot, but I always like looking at the FPI because it takes some human bias out of the equation. Unfortunately for Tennessee, the computers agree with most of the media for 2017.