Tennessee Jumps Into the Top 10 of ESPN FPI Rankings Before Pittsburgh Matchup

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    Tennessee Football

    KNOXVILLE, TN – Tennessee linebacker Juwan Mitchell (No. 10). Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

    After successfully defeating Ball State by a score of 59-10 in the season opener last Thursday, the Tennessee Volunteers football team has made a drastic jump up in ESPN’s Football Power Index rankings.

    It is important to note that the FPI rankings are not the AP rankings nor have an effect on the AP rankings. Instead, according to ESPN, the 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 20,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule.”

    Tennessee began the season as the No. 25 team in ESPN’s FPI rankings.

    Now, entering the second week of the season, Tennessee has made the leap all the way up to No. 10 in the rankings.

    Tennessee jumped several prominent teams including LSU, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Penn State, and Oklahoma. The Vols also jumped above their upcoming week two opponent in Pittsburgh.

    After starting the season with an FPI rating of 9.7, Tennessee now has a rating of 14.8. Additionally, after originally projecting Tennessee’s record of 7.1-4.9 (essentially 7-5), ESPN’s algorithm has now improved their regular season record projection to 7.9-4.1 (essentially 8-4).

    Aside from the FPI rankings, Tennessee did crack the Top 25 in the AP polls for the first time in the Josh Heupel era this week. No. 24 Tennessee’s matchup with No. 17 Pittsburgh now becomes Heupel’s first ranked showdown in orange.

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    ESPN’s Football Power Index has Tennessee’s season projections as follows:

    Six Wins

    • Week 1: 88.9 percent
    • Week 2: 96.9 percent

    Division Champion

    • Week 1: 1.4 percent
    • Week 2: 3.5 percent

    Conference Champion

    • Week 1: 0.2 percent
    • Week 2: 0.6 percent

    Playoffs

    • Week 1: 0.1 percent
    • Week 2: 3 percent

    Make the National Championship

    • Week 1: 0 percent
    • Week 2: 0.8 percent

    Win the National Championship

    • Week 1: 0 percent
    • Week 2: 0.2 percent
    VOLS Neyland Stadium

    (KNOXVILLE, TN) Neyland Stadium’s V-O-L-S letters. Photo by Ric Butler/Rocky Top Insider.

    ESPN Football Power Index Top 10 – Sept. 7, 2022 – 7:00 p.m. ET

    1. Alabama Crimson Tide – 31.6 points
    2. Georgia Bulldogs – 29.4 points
    3. Ohio State Buckeyes – 28 points
    4. Clemson Tigers – 23.7 points
    5. Michigan Wolverines – 19.1 points
    6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 17.8 points
    7. Texas Longhorns – 16.1 points
    8. Baylor Bears – 15.7 points
    9. Miami Hurricanes – 15.4 points
    10. Tennessee Volunteers – 14.8 points
    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.