Football Outsiders — a popular analytics website — has released their preseason rankings and strength of schedule marks. Using the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), they’ve ranked teams 1-130, along with their schedules.
Here’s how they did it.
Preseason projected ratings are a function of five-year program ratings, recent recruiting success, and returning offensive and defensive experience. Strength of schedule (SOS) ratings are a function of the projected FEI ratings of a given team's schedule of opponents and the location (home/away/neutral) of each game, representing the average number of losses an elite team (two standard deviations better than average) would have against the schedule.
In the team rankings, Tennessee came out 25th overall — right where just about everyone else has them. We did see some different numbers for certain teams. Georgia is ranked 7th, Oklahoma State is down in 20th and Texas A&M is all the way up at 21st. Each of those vary from both the coaches and AP polls.
The SEC East team rankings shake out like this.
30. South Carolina
The interesting thing here is Georgia Tech, who checked in at 26th overall just behind Tennessee. That’s not exactly reassuring for Volunteer fans.
This measurement also places the Vols with the 5th toughest schedule in the FBS. Drawing Alabama and LSU out of the west is likely the reason why. It’s clear that this publication thinks that the SEC is the best conference in the land. Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and LSU were the four in front of Tennessee.
Their data gives Alabama a 42 percent chance of going undefeated while giving Ohio State a 38 percent chance. The Wisconsin Badgers actually have the 3rd best shot at running the table according to Football Outsiders.
You can read the full post here. It’s going to be fun to look back and see how close they were later on in the season.