Will the Ole Miss Rebels take a big step forward in 2018? ESPN’s FPI seemingly predicts that the Rebels will perform about how they have been doing in Matt Luke's first season without the interim tag.
Ole Miss went 6-6, which given the adverse situation that the Rebels found themselves in after the NCAA and Hugh Freeze scandals, was probably an accomplishment. The Rebels finished unranked, and sixth in the SEC West. So will the Rebels improve in 2018?
ESPN’s FPI has been updated to include projected win-loss records. The Aggies, who are the No. 45 ranked team per FPI, have a projected record of 6.3 wins and 5.7 losses.
A reminder on FPI:
The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.
Basically, the formula suggests they will be around .500 this season. That would be a repeat of Matt Luke's first year as head coach in Oxford. FPI sees more of the same for the Rebels moving forward.
Ole Miss is given no chance to run the table, and a 0.1-percent chance to win the conference. They’re playing against the 46th-hardest schedule in the country.
Here’s a look at the top 10 of ESPN’s FPI, right now. In the SEC, Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn all make the cut. Clemson is the No. 1 team heading into 2018.
ESPN has Ole Miss favored in six games, including three in SEC play. They’re also only slight underdogs against Texas Tech in the season opener.
None of the numbers are overly surprising. However, some may be somewhat surprised to see Ole Miss as a slight favorite against a South Carolina team coming off of a strong season, even at home.