5 reasons ESPN’s FPI rankings suck (this week)

·3 min read

Numbers have been a part of sports for as long as scores have been being kept but their use in recent decades has only grown. Advanced metrics swept across baseball and other sports have followed suit.

Some of those numbers have improved team’s performances or helped to better educate fans while others simply have not.

One that hasn’t is the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI). Like the computers that were used during the BCS days this is entirely done from a formula and not from the opinion of humans.

Here’s the thing though, this formula sucks as it was smart enough rank Alabama No. 1 this week but seemed to mess up the majority of things soon after.

Here are five reasons this week’s FPI rankings suck.

Related: How Notre Dame’s opponents fared in Week One

5. Miami Ranked 13th

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I hate to pick on Miami too much as they simply because the latest victim to be swept away by the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama but what exactly from a neutral field game in which they went down 27-0 before kicking a field goal to end the first half was done well here? If anything Miami allowed just 3.9 yards per carry but that's not exactly banner worthy. Yet the Hurricanes are at No. 13 based off of what, simply showing up for a game against the nation's best team?

4. Nebraska-Illinois Issue

Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The entire nation saw Illinois push Nebraska around in Week Zero, beating the Huskers 30-22 while leading for over 34 minutes of the game, including the final 30:37. Illinois lost 37-30 to Texas-San Antonio this past weekend which is certainly a problem, but does Nebraska's dominating win over Fordham win them that much respect? It must as the FPI somehow ranks Nebraska 50th and Illinois 78th. Huh?

3. LSU over UCLA

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One of the marquee games last week was UCLA hosting No. 16 LSU in a game the Bruins were in complete control of for the majority, once leading by as many as 18 points. Now I get going on the road is tough and preparing for a game while a hurricane rips through your state understandably takes away focus. I acknowledge that but also know at the end of the night the scoreboard and box scores don't lie, and that UCLA dominated in both. Yet LSU checks in at No. 24 while the Bruins come in one spot behind at 25.

2. North Carolina Trumps Virginia Tech

Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina was hyped to have one of the nation's best offenses entering the year but in the opener Virginia Tech pitched a first half shutout and ended Sam Howell's Heisman Trophy campaign before it could get started as the Hokies picked off three passes and allowed just 10 points on the night. Virginia Tech (25) took the early lead and held it the final 55:01 of the game, yet still ranked six spots behind the Tar Heels (19) in this week's FPI.

1. Clemson Ranked 2

Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

"Is it a case of Georgia being great or Clemson being down?" is the way I heard it posed Tuesday night on a national radio show. Whatever you choose to believe literally nobody walked away Saturday night thinking Clemson is primed for another championship run. However, despite the loss Clemson still checked in second in this week's FPI while Georgia inexplicably ranks fifth. Trash.

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