ESPN Football Power Index

ESPN Power Football Index

ESPN Football Power Index

Editor’s note – This story has been updated to reflect numbers current as of August 28, 2017.

With 10,000 simulations under it’s belt, the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) provides an intriguing view of college football and specifically the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The FPI looks at past performances, updates weekly as the season progresses and predicts a team’s future performance. It’s the next best thing to accurate but just like life, there’s always an unpredictable side. That’s one part of sports that makes it interesting.

Five ACC teams and Notre Dame all rank in the top 25 of the FPI. Now, even though that isn’t a clear prediction of where those teams may rank in polling this season, it is worth keeping an eye on.

There is an inclination to say that the ACC is down overall among the Power 5 conferences this season.  From one perspective, the loss of a number of well known and proven offensive weapons is certainly disconcerting to fans. Status quo is something that keeps baby safe. Cue hair pulling, gnashing and spitting along with a few choice words because status quo is yesterday’s news.

Fear not, teams are loaded with budding offensive stars who have been patiently awaiting their turn. By the end of this season those stars of yesterday will be long forgotten. And, if you wanted a real battle on the field each week, this is the year that defense will rule the ACC. With that being said, the conference may be tougher where it counts most. Those rising offensive players, soon to be stars, will simply put the icing on the cake. Optimistic view? Keep this article handy for quick reference by mid season.


ESPN Football Power Index – The ACC


If you haven’t been paying attention, Florida State has been building another national contender. We’ll know just how close they are to realizing another title from day one as they take on Alabama. No matter how that game pans out, unless it’s a complete blow out of course, they will likely face off again for all the marbles. If you’re hoping for a blow out, stop holding your breath, you’re going to pass out before it happens.

So, how do ACC teams and Notre Dame rank in the FPI? Let’s take a closer look from top to bottom.

  • Florida State – The Seminoles top off the conference and have a 42.9%  38.2% chance of taking home the win at Charlotte. Overall, they rank #3 in the FPI and we’ll look at what teams are ahead of them in a moment.
  • Clemson – The reigning national champs have more visible losses in personnel than most. But, do you really think that a coach like Dabo Swinney isn’t constantly reloading? The Tigers have a 23.4%  25.6% chance of taking home the conference title. Overall, they rank #6 #7 in the FPI.
  • Miami – Is this a carry over from similar touting of the team’s prowess last season? Miami comes in at #15 #18 in the FPI and have a 17.3% chance at an ACC Championship.
  • Louisville – Coming in at #17 #15 in the FPI with a projected win/loss record of 8.6-3.5 (stats are a beautiful thing), the Cardinals are right where they should be. Fans may not agree but the roster does.
  • Notre Dame – The Irish stand absolutely no chance of winning the ACC Championship. Did that make you take notice? That lack of conference affiliation may end up hurting the team’s shot at a national championship. The Irish are #20  #19 in the FPI. Their projected win/loss record this season, 8-4.
  • NC State – Surprised? You shouldn’t be as the Wolfpack has slowly been building toward their day in the sun. With an FPI ranking of #22 #20, NC State has a projected win/loss record of 7.7-4.3.

ESPN Football Power Index – The Rest


Keep in mind, this isn’t a preseason Top 25 ranking but it should provide enough indication of teams that belong in said.

  • #28  North Carolina
  • #31  Virginia Tech
  • #36  #38 Georgia Tech
  • #44  #46 Pitt
  • #45  #47 Syracuse
  • #52  #53 Duke
  • #58  #57 Wake Forest
  • #69  #67 Boston College
  • #73  Virginia

The FPI ranks a total of 130 teams and with the number of Power 5 conferences, an ideal goal for a conference is to have all of their teams in the top 50. Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College and Virginia should and most likely will be in that grouping by next season.


ACC Nation Football Preview – Virginia


Who sits on top of the ESPN Football Power Index? The Big Ten and SEC take the top two spots but take note of the strength of schedule rankings of the top 3 teams. This is an important factor as one poor performance by the top ranked team will send them tumbling both in the FPI and the AP Top 25.

ESPN Football Power IndexOne conference to keep an eye on this year is the PAC 12. With six teams in the top 25 of the FPI, this could be the season that West Coast football re-emerges from what seems like a long slumber.

Parity among the Power 5 conference makes for a much more interesting year in college football.