ESPN’s Football Power Index disrespects Arkansas

·5 min read

At SEC Media Days in July, the league’s assemble media voted Arkansas to finish third in the SEC West. It was the highest the Hogs had been tabbed in the division in about a decade.

But the differences between the eyeball-test and data in this day and age of sports has never been farther apart.

ESPN’s Football Power Index does not think as highly of the Razorbacks, with Arkansas checking in as the No. 10 team in the 14-team conference. 

The SEC has been college football’s premier conference for more than 15 years and that’s reflected somewhat as Arkansas, despite being 10th-ranked, is No. 26 overall.

But teams like Auburn and Mississippi State, which were both picked well below the Razorbacks as the seventh-place and sixth-place projected finishers are much higher.

It’s impossible to say what gives, considering ESPN’s proprietary algorithms spit out the data, but it shows that somewhere, Arkansas’ underlying numbers simply aren’t up to snuff. For whatever reason.

He’s a complete look at the SEC on August 1.

1. Alabama (No. 1 overall)

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass in the second half the NCAA Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Cincinnati Bearcats 27-6.
Cotton Bowl Cincinnati Bearcats Alabama Crimson Tide

Last year: 13-2, 7-1 in SEC

Projected this year: 11.4-1.5

2. Georgia (No. 3 overall)

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) scrambles with the ball as Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) gives chase Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, during the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Last year: 14-1, 8-0

Projected this year: 11.6-1.3

3. LSU (10th overall)

LSU defensive back Eli Ricks (1) runs with the ball after making an interception against Florida during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla.

Last year: 6-7, 3-5

Projected this year: 7.7-4.3

4. Auburn

Auburn Tigers quarterback Zach Calzada (10) during the A-Day spring practice at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, April 9, 2022.

Last year: 6-7, 3-5

Projected this year: 7.4-4.7

5. Texas A&M (12th overall)

Sep 25, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) in action during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last year: 8-4, 4-4

Projected this year: 7.4-4.6

6. Ole Miss (17th overall)

Oct 2, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders (20) wraps up Ole Miss wide receiver Dontario Drummond (11) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Last year: 10-3, 6-2

Projected this year: 7.7-4.3

7. Kentucky (18th overall)

Sep 18, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) lines up a pass during the fourth quarter against the Chattanooga Mocs at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Last year: 10-3, 5-3

Projected this year: 8.2-3.9

8. Mississippi State

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) looks to pass downfield against Texas A&M during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Last year: 7-6, 4-4

Projected this year: 6.5-5.5

9. Tennessee (24th overall)

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) throws a pass during an SEC conference game between Tennessee and Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
Syndication The Knoxville News Sentinel

Last year: 7-6, 4-4

Projected this year: 6.5-5.5

10. Arkansas (26th overall)

Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) rushes during the seance half as Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Akial Byers (1) pursues at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Arkansas won 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Last year: 9-4, 4-4

Projected this year: 6.5-5.5

11. Florida (29th overall)

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 27: Anthony Richardson #15 of the Florida Gators celebrates after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 24-21 in a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Last year: 6-7, 2-6

Projected this year: 6.9-5.1

12. South Carolina (45th overall)

Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Juju McDowell (21) runs for a touchdown as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Cedric Gray (33) defensive back Tony Grimes (20) defend in the second quarter during the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last year: 7-6, 3-5

Projected this year: 5.9-6.1

13. Missouri (56th overall)

Missouri’s Kris Abrams-Draine during a NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Last year: 6-7, 3-5

Projected this year: 5.5-6.5

14. Vanderbilt (108th overall)

Vanderbilt Head Coach Clark Lea’s football helmet from when he was a player is displayed during the Vanderbilt interviews in the Hyatt Regency at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Wednesday, July 21, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Sec Media Days Vanderbilt

Last year: 2-10, 0-8

Projected this year: 2.5-9.5

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Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire