Will the Tennessee Volunteers take a big step forward in 2018? ESPN’s FPI seemingly predicts that the Vols will be around .500 in year one under Jeremy Pruitt.
Tennessee went 4-8, with a winless record in the SEC. As a result, Butch Jones was fired. The Vols were in the conference basement, and were the only team to fail to win a game in league play. So will the Vols rebound in 2018?
ESPN’s FPI has been updated to include projected win-loss records. The Vols, who are the No. 53 ranked team per FPI, have a projected record of 5.8 wins and 6.2 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 win between five and six games this season, with a 6-6 as a more likely outcome. That wold be a bounce back to around where Jones was in his first two years, when he went 5-7 and 7-6.
Tennessee is given no chance to run the table or to win the conference. They’re playing against the 57th-hardest schedule in the country.
Here’s a look at the top 10 of ESPN’s FPI, right now. From the SEC, Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn all make the cut. Clemson is the No. 1 team heading into 2018.
ESPN has Tennessee favored in five games, including two in SEC play. They’re also only slight underdogs against Missouri.
None of the individual game projections are all that surprising. Tennessee should have no issue with schools like ETSU, UTEP, or Charlotte, which FPI has the Vols winning at least 95-percent of the time. UT is also favored vs. Kentucky and at Vanderbilt, which checks out.