Jason Ivester

Breaking down Arkansas' FPI ranking

Check out how ESPN's FPI views Arkansas' chances in 2017.

Arkansas remains at No. 36 in ESPN's spring edition of its Football Power Index released Wednesday.

That means the Razorbacks are in the upper third of the 130-team FBS, but they rank 11th in the SEC, ahead of only Ole Miss (No. 38), Missouri (No. 41) and Vanderbilt (No. 46).

The FPI is a computer-generated ranking system based on team strength that uses four main factors: performance of the three main phases (offense, defense, special teams) over the last four years, returning starters, recruiting over the last four years and head coaching tenure.

The top five also remained the same, with Ohio State at No. 1 followed by Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State and Auburn.

This version of the FPI was different from the initial release in February, though, because it includes record and game-by-game projections. It predicts the Razorbacks to be bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season with a 6.1-5.9 record and gives them a 0.1 percent chance to win the SEC.

Unlike in recent years, Arkansas has a relatively easy schedule. Its strength of schedule is ranked 31st by the FPI.

Here are the Razorbacks' game-by-game winning percentages:

Game Chance of winning, per FPI
vs. Florida A&M 99.7%
vs. TCU 38.7%
vs. Texas A&M 42.5%
vs. New Mexico State 96.5%
at South Carolina 37.4%
at Alabama 6.6%
vs. Auburn 19.9%
at Ole Miss 42.2%
vs. Coastal Carolina 95.2%
at LSU 13.1%
vs. Mississippi State 56.7%
vs. Missouri 62.2%

As you can see in the chart above, Arkansas is favored in only five games. However, that does not mean the FPI is predicting the Razorbacks to finish 5-7. They still have a chance to win other games, but they have less than a 50 percent chance to do so. Likewise, they also have a chance to lose the games they are favored to win.

Using those percentages, you can calculate how likely it is for Arkansas to finish 0-12, 12-0 and every record in between. Here is a chart of all 13 possible records and the percent chance of the Razorbacks achieving each one:

Record Likelihood
12-0 0.0014%
11-1 0.05%
10-2 0.55%
9-3 3.31%
8-4 11.21%
7-5 22.86%
6-6 28.69%
5-7 21.80%
4-8 9.42%
3-9 1.97%
2-10 0.13%
1-11 0.0027%
0-12 0.000007%

Despite being favored in only five games, Arkansas' most likely record is 6-6, at 28.7 percent. To become bowl eligible, the Razorbacks need to win at least six games and the FPI gives them a 66.7 percent chance of doing that.

Last spring, ESPN's FPI projected Arkansas to win 6.5 games, which was pretty close to its actual total of seven wins.


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