ESPN’s FPI Predicts 2020 Mountain West Season
The computer module predicts a predictable conference champion
What do the computers say about MW football?
With college football a few months away, ESPN’s Football Power Index has updated its win-loss totals for each Mountain West team. Even with no spring football there were a few tweaks in the latest update and we will use those to see how the computers are predicting the Mountain West to finish in 2020, whenever that may be.
We have already put out our best odds and value bets for the season and they might change once we get closer to the season started — hopefully on time — and there are actually some practices and news to know how good the new players are to make a determination on projections.
There’s been no news of the season being postponed so far so, we can expect things to proceed with social distancing in mind. Odds for the season have already started coming out and as you can see at SportsBettingDime, those numbers are being updated periodically to encompass any team changes. Check back as August nears to see if there are any big changes to the odds.
ESPN’s FPI is a computer program and it is ever-changing but as for the preseason predictions, this is an explainer of how those numbers and rankings are formulated.
Preseason ratings historically have their flaws, but ultimately they allow for an opponent adjustment after Week 1 and are a great tool to preview the season. As noted, there are four components to the preseason rating: prior performance, returning starters, recruiting rankings and coaching tenure.
Prior performance, recruiting, returning talent, and coaching tenture.
Those four items weigh heavily to teams that have been good for a lot of years, so expect for Boise State to be at the top with winning double-digit games, winning divisions and having head coach Bryan Harsin around for a number of years.
Teams with new coaches will get dinged, just because that is the formula, so look for most of the West to be bogged down because of that. San Diego State should offset that a little bit since they have been winning over the years and maybe FPI takes into account Brady Hoke being on staff and stepping into the head coaching role.
With recruiting playing a role the service academies like Air Force will take a hit due to them almost always bringing up the bottom of the recruiting in the Mountain West.
Who Are The Computer Champs?
The FPI goes deep with win projections, percentage to win out, win division, win the conference and playoff odds. Obviously, being in a Group of Five league, the Mountain is giving zero percent to be in any playoff discussion.
Boise State is at the top and in fact the top three teams come from the Mountain Division with Wyoming and Air Force rounding out the top five. San Diego State is fourth to lead the West and that would mean a Broncos vs. Aztecs Mountain West title game. Both of those teams are being given over a 50 percent chance to win their respective divisions. That is saying something great for San Diego State that has a new coach, new quarterback, and a slew of new defenders.
The new coaches are dragging the West down as four of the top five are in the Mountain Division with New Mexico being the lowest-rated team in the Mountain Division all the way down at 12.
There are no teams projected to win double-digit games. The Broncos are given the best chance at 9.7 wins and then it is over a two-win gap between them and San Diego State. History has shown the Mountain West will end up having multiple double-digit win teams.
Only four teams are given even the tiniest of hope to go undefeated: Boise State, Wyoming, Air Force, and San Diego State. Only the Broncos are above the one percent threshold.
Plus, the FPI projects bowl eligibility, and seven teams meet the virtual six-win total.
Complete FPI (click this link for even more info)
|FPI Ranking||Team||Projections||6 Wins||Win Division||Win conference|
|35.||Boise State||9.7 – 2.8||99.5%||57.4%||47.1%|
|61.||Wyoming||7.5 – 4.6||88.9%||19.2%||13.2%|
|62.||Air Force||7.8 – 4.4||92.2%||19.2%||12.9%|
|68.||San Diego State||7.9 – 4.6||93.0%||17.6%||17.6%|
|91.||Colorado State||6.1 – 6.0||64.4%||3.2%||1.6%|
|96.||Nevada||6.4 – 5.8||69.9%||18.4%||3.4%|
|101.||Fresno State||6.0 – 6.1||63.3%||13.7%||2.3%|
|105.||Utah State||4.5 – 7.5||24.8%||0.8%||0.3%|
|106.||San Jose State||5.3 – 6.8||43.8%||7.0%||1.1%|
|113.||Hawaii||5.3 – 7.8||42.5%||3.4%||0.3%|
|114.||UNLV||3.3 – 8.7||7.6%||2.5%||0.3%|
|116||New Mexico||5.1 – 7.9||36.4%||0.2%||0.0%|