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BYU Football Makes Big Jump After ESPN Corrects Errors In FPI Rankings

BYU Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Texas State Bobcats in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Suddenly, the national outlook on BYU football in 2021 has taken a big leap forward courtesy of the ESPN FPI.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) released their preseason rankings in April, but since they’ve acknowledged the initial rankings “contained data and modeling errors.”

ESPN released a new preseason ranking to correct the errors, and now BYU has climbed significantly up the charts.

Back in April, BYU checked in at No. 63 in ESPN’s error-filled FPI rankings. Fast forward to now, BYU climbs to No. 38. That’s a leap of 25 spots. Good enough for a few more wins.

ESPN’s FPI win probability projections bear that out for BYU.

The Cougars are favored to win 10 of their 12 games, according to the ESPN FPI. BYU fans are hoping that this batch of rankings isn’t laced with the errors that ruined the spring rankings with these types of projections.

A 10-win season would be a massive accomplishment for a BYU team looking to replace quarterback Zach Wilson and four other NFL draft picks from their 11-win team a season ago. But suddenly, the odds are in BYU’s favor to put up another big year. At least according to sometimes error-filled ESPN FPI.

ESPN FPI’s Win Probabilities for BYU

vs. Arizona – 83.9%

Utah – 52.5%

Arizona State – 54.5%

South Florida – 88.2%

at Utah State – 87.9%

Boise State – 78.7%

at Baylor – 41.5%

at Washington State – 64.7%

Virginia – 62.7%

Idaho State – 98.9%

at Georgia Souther – 68.2%

at USC – 31.2%

Where BYU Football opponents appear in updated ESPN FPI ratings for the 2021 season

Arizona – 98 (Previous ranking: 102)

Utah – 30 (PR: 57)

Arizona State – 29 (PR: 31)

South Florida – 95 (PR: 105)

Utah State – 117 (PR: 120)

Boise State – 71 (PR: 78)

Baylor – 42 (PR: 47)

Washington State – 73 (PR: 90)

Virginia – 37 (PR: 32)

Idaho State – N/A

Georgia Southern – 80 (PR: 88)

USC – 21 (PR: 26)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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