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ESPN’s FPI predicts Arizona’s record, gives UA a 0.1% chance of winning Pac-12

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Northern Arizona v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

ESPN has released its Football Power Index for the 2020 season (if there is one), and it gives the Arizona Wildcats a 0.1% chance of winning the Pac-12.

FPI projects Arizona will go 3.4-6.6, basically setting the over/under at 3.5 wins. That more or less falls in line with our staff predictions. (I personally predicted Arizona will go 3-7, so I guess I’m kinda smart.)

In case you didn’t know, FPI is a metric that represents how many points above or below average a team is. It is based on 20,000 simulations of past performances, mainly using the expected points added metric, which takes into account yards, turnovers, red zone efficiency and other factors.

Arizona finished 87th in FPI last season at -2.4, dead last in the Pac-12. Right now Arizona has a 1.9 FPI, 57th-best in the country and ninth-best in the Pac-12, ahead of Oregon State, Washington State and Colorado.

Here are the FPI win probabilities for each game on Arizona’s schedule:

  • vs. ASU (52.5%)
  • at Washington (19.7%)
  • vs. Colorado (68.2%)
  • vs. USC (19.1%)
  • at Utah (15.7%)
  • at Oregon State (42.5%)
  • vs. Cal (47.2%)
  • vs. Oregon (12.7%)
  • at UCLA (37.3%)
  • at Stanford (22.5%)

You can see that Arizona is favored to beat ASU—pretty surprising—and Colorado, while the Cal and Oregon State games are basically toss ups.

FPI doesn’t have much confidence in Arizona as a road team, but home-field advantage could be minimal this year since attendance will be limited or perhaps even non-existent at some stadiums.