SALT LAKE CITY — ESPN’s updated Football Power Index team ratings for 2019 is out, and it provides some interesting numbers for the state of Utah’s three FBS college football teams.
Utah, following a 9-5 2018 campaign that saw the Utes reach the Pac-12 championship game, ranks No. 22 with a 11.5 FPI rating.
The Utes are favored in 10 games this season, with their percentage to win each game shown below (favored games in italics):
- Aug. 29, at BYU, 60.5%
- Sept. 7, vs. Northern Illinois, 94.6%
- Sept. 14, vs. Idaho State, 99.0%
- Sept. 20, at USC, 45.1%
- Sept. 28, vs. Washington State, 68.2%
- Oct. 12, at Oregon State, 85.1%
- Oct. 19, vs. Arizona State, 70.3%
- Oct. 26, vs. California, 81.8%
- Nov. 2, at Washington, 31.4%
- Nov. 16, vs. UCLA, 57.9%
- Nov. 23, at Arizona, 63.8%
- Nov. 30, vs. Colorado, 84.7%
BYU, coming off a 7-6 season capped by a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, is No. 44 with an FPI rating of 5.5.
The Cougars are favored in eight games:
- Aug. 29, vs. Utah, 39.5%
- Sept. 7, at Tennessee, 18.6%
- Sept. 14, vs. USC, 45.4%
- Sept. 21, vs. Washington, 35.8%
- Sept. 28, at Toledo, 64.6%
- Oct. 12, at South Florida, 64.2%
- Oct. 19, vs. Boise State, 57.3%
- Nov. 2, at Utah State, 74.5%
- Nov. 9, vs. Liberty, 94.1%
- Nov. 16, vs. Idaho State, 98.1%
- Nov. 23, at UMass, 91.3%
- Nov. 30, at San Diego State, 67.8%
Utah State, fresh off an 11-2 season that saw the Aggies finish the year ranked No. 22 in the final Associated Press poll, ranks No. 83 with an FPI rating of minus-4.7. Part of the drop for USU could be in part that the Aggies are the only one of the three local schools with a new head coach, as Gary Andersen replaces Matt Wells, who left to coach Texas Tech.
The Aggies are favored in five games:
- Aug. 30, at Wake Forest, 23.9%
- Sept. 7, vs. Stony Brook, 91.3%
- Sept. 21, at San Diego State, 41.3%
- Sept. 28, vs. Colorado State, 70.6%
- Oct. 5, at LSU, 2.1%
- Oct. 19, vs. Nevada, 73.2%
- Oct. 26, at Air Force, 32.4%
- Nov. 2, vs. BYU, 25.5%
- Nov. 9, at Fresno State, 33.8%
- Nov. 16, vs. Wyoming 66.2%
- Nov. 23, vs. Boise State, 27.9%
- Nov. 30, at New Mexico, 63.3%
- Utah’s two games the Utes aren’t favored in include road games at USC to start Pac-12 play and at Washington. The Huskies beat the Utes twice last year, in Salt Lake City in the regular season and in the Pac-12 title game.
- BYU is favored in every game after its opening four contests, all against Power 5 teams, with the Cougars’ best odds for an upset at home against USC on Sept. 21. BYU is favored against rivals Boise State and Utah State later in the year.
- USU’s FPI ranking could improve significantly if the Aggies win two road contests they aren’t favored in during the first three games, at Wake Forest and San Diego State. From Oct. 5 at LSU to Nov. 9 at Fresno State, Utah State is only favored in one out of five games, including being the underdog at home Nov. 2 against BYU. The Aggies have won the past two games against the rival Cougars.
- ESPN’s FPI also projects several other categories, including projected win totals, conference win percentage and remaining strength of schedule rank. Utah is projected to win 8.6 games, with a 14.5% chance to win the Pac-12 and a remaining FBS strength of schedule rank of 47.
- BYU is projected to win 7.5 games and has a remaining FBS strength of schedule rank of 64.
- Utah State is projected to win 5.6 games, with a 3.4% chance to win the Mountain West and a remaining FBS strength of schedule rank of 70.
- Tennessee, which hosts BYU on Sept. 7, is ranked No. 15 with an FPI rating of 14.0. The Volunteers are coming off a 5-7 season.
- LSU, which hosts Utah State on Oct. 5, is ranked No. 4 with a 21.7 FPI rating. The Tigers are the third-ranked SEC team in the ratings, behind Alabama at No. 2 (27.9) and Georgia (22.3).
- Three Pac-12 teams show up ahead of Utah in the FPI rankings: Oregon at No. 10 (16.7 rating), Washington at No. 17 (13.5) and UCLA at No. 20 (11.9).
Correction: A previous version of this story had BYU playing at Utah on Aug. 29. The game is in Provo.