Updated ESPN FPI favors Louisville in 5 of last 6 games

 247sports.com  10/18/2020 15:45:59 

Louisville's narrow loss at Notre Dame has shifted the ESPN Football Power Index's outlook for the program in a positive direction for the remainder of the 2020 season. After once rising to a a high of No. 14 in the FPI, the Cardinals now sit at No. 53 following the most recent update. The team rose one spot following the weekend's action.

The ESPN FPI now has UofL as the (slight) favorite in 5 of the remaining 6 contests, but still indicates a sub-.500 season. Virginia Tech, which visits Cardinal Stadium on Halloween, is the lone team to currently have a better than 50 percent of defeating the Cardinals. Louisville is currently a slim favorite at Virginia, at Boston College and in the season final vs Wake Forest.

Louisville's remaining schedule ranks No. 57 in the strength ratings. The FPI forecasts that the Cardinals will close the regular season at 4-7.

The FPI gives the Cardinals just a 68.9 percent chance of defeating visiting Florida State on Oct. 24. The Seminoles upset No. 5 North Carolina 31-28 on Saturday night.

Here's how ESPN describes the FPI:

FPI is a predictive rating system designed to measure team strength and project performance going forward. The ultimate goal of FPI is not to rank teams 1 through 128; rather, it is to correctly predict games and season outcomes. If Vegas ever published the power rankings it uses to set its lines, they would likely look quite a lot like FPI.

Correctly predicting game outcomes can’t be done by evaluating teams’ records because some teams are stronger than their records indicate (lots of close losses), and others have favorable schedules. Both of these situations are reflected in the game- and season-level projections.

It is important to note what FPI is not -- FPI is not a playoff predictor, and it is not designed to identify the four teams most deserving of making the College Football Playoff. ESPN has other metrics, including Strength of Record, that can be used to identify the most deserving teams.

FPI Score: 3.6
FPI Rank: 53rd
Projected W-L: 4.4 - 6.6
Chances of Winning Out: 0.3%
Chances of Winning Conference: 0.0%
SOS Remaining Rank: 57th

Current ACC ratings:

Here's how the ESPN FPI projects each Louisville game on the 2020 schedule.

Dez Fitzpatrick

Projection: 89.5% Louisville Win

RESULT: Louisville win 35-21

Current record: 1-4, 1-2 C-USA

Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham was listed as top player in the ACC after tossing for a career-high 343 yards and three touchdowns. He added another touchdown on a 14-yard run. A pair of receivers - Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith - went for more than 100 yards. The Cardinals offense posted 487 total yards. The UofL defense limited WKU to just 248 yards.

Louisville has now won 12 straight against the in-state opponent.

The game ends a three-games series between the two programs and there are no future games currently slated.

Game One: Louisville won 35-21Game Two: WKU fell to Liberty at home, 30-24Game Three: Defeated rival and host Middle Tennessee, 20-17Game Four: Marshall rolled past the Hilltoppers, 38-14

Game Five: WKU lost to UAB 37-14

Up next: The Hilltoppers host UT-Chattanooga on Oct. 17.

Western Kentucky now sits at No. 108 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Louisville leads 22-12

Miami QB D'Eriq King

Projection: 76.7% Louisville Win (Previous 83.0%)

RESULT: Miami win 47-34

Current record: 4-1, 3-1 ACC

The outcome didn't match the pregame projection, as the Cardinals struggled to keep pace with Miami throughout.

The Louisville defense allowed numerous big plays, including back-to-back series that allowed one-play, 75-yard touchdowns that squashed any hope of the Cardinals chances of opening league play with a win.

Louisville dropped 13 spots in the FPI after the loss to Miami.

Game One: Miami defeated UAB at home, 31-14.Game Two: Miami won at Louisville 47-34.Game Three: The Hurricanes thumped rival Florida State 52-10 at homeGame Four: Miami fell at top-ranked Clemson, 42-17

Game Five: Miami downed visiting Pittsburgh, 31-19

Up next: Miami hosts Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 24.

The Hurricanes climbed four spots following win over Pitt. Miami now sits at No. 21.

Series History: Miami has now won two straight against the Cardinals to increase its all-time series lead to 11-3-1

PittsburghPanthers.com

Projection: 49.5% Louisville Win (Previous Week: 61.2%)

RESULT: Pittsburgh win 23-20

Current record: 3-2, 2-2 ACC

Once projected to have a 72.2 percent chance of defeating Pittsburgh, the Cardinals are now viewed as a slim underdog by the ESPN FPI.

The former Big East Conference mates will meet for just the second time since joining the ACC.

Pittsburgh finished 8-5 in 2019 and have high hopes for 2020. The Panthers are expected to have one of the nation's top defenses once again, and an improving offense could keep the team in the ACC title race.

Game One: The Panthers defeated Austin Peay 55-0 at home in its season opener.Game Two: Pittsburgh defeated Syracuse 21-10 in its ACC opener.Game Three: Downed Louisville 23-20 at home.Game Four: Pitt lost at home to NC State, 30-29Game Five: Panthers dropped a second straight game, falling in overtime to 31-30 at Boston College.

Game Six: Pitt fell 31-19 at Miami.

Up next: Pitt hosts Notre Dame on Oct. 24.

The Panthers dropped to No. 53 in the latest ratings.

Series History: Pittsburgh leads 10-8

Geoff Collins

Result/Projection: 72.2% Louisville Win (Last Week: 72.2%)

Current record: 2-3, 2-2 ACC

It's year two of the Geoff Collins in Atlanta and the rebuild continues. The aspirations continue to climb within the program, patience may still be needed. The defense should be better, but likely not enough to improve much on last season's 3-9 mark.

Some veteran Cardinals may have revenge on their minds after suffering one of the worst losses in program history at the hands of the Yellow Jackets in 2018, a 66-31 home defeat.

Game One: Tech pulled off a road win in week one, upsetting Florida State 16-13.Game Two: Georgia Tech lost its home opener, 49-21 to UCF.Game Three: Syracuse defeated the visiting Yellow Jackets 37-20.Game Four: Yellow Jackets defeated Louisville 46-27 at home.

Game Five: Clemson crushed host Georgia Tech, 73-7

Up next: Georgia Tech visits Boston College on Oct. 24.

Georgia Tech dropped 18 spots following the blowout loss to Clemson and now sits at No. 83 in the updated ESPN FPI.

Series History: Georgia Tech leads 2-0.

Ian Book

Result/Projection: 12.8% Louisville Win (Last Week 17.3%)

Current record: 4-0, 3-0 ACC

The Louisville defense played notably better, but the Cardinals offense struggled throughout, as Notre Dame avoided an upset loss. The Cardinals fell 12-7 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Notre Dame handed Louisville a loss to open the 2019 season, but the game provided a glimpse into better days ahead for the Cardinals. Louisville is making just its second trip to South Bend, where it defeating the hosts in 2014.

Ian Book is back to guide the Irish offense, but the offensive group will need to fill holes at receiver and in the backfield. That said, there is depth and talent on the squad to make the transitions smoothly.

Game One: The Irish pulled away late against Duke at home in week one, winning 27-13.Game Two: Notre Dame crushed South Florida 52-0.Game Three: The Irish defeated Florida State 42-26 at home.

Game Four: Notre Dame defeated Louisville 12-7 at home.

Up next: Notre Dame visits Pittsburgh on Oct. 24.

Notre Dame slipped three spots following win over Cardinals and is currently No. 11 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Notre Dame leads 2-1

Florida State head coach Mike Norvell.

Result/Projection: 68.9% Louisville Win (Last Week 68.6%)

Current record: 2-3, 1-3 ACC

One could argue that Louisville should have defeated Florida State the past two seasons. One could also argue that the Cardinals loss to FSU two seasons ago served as the catalyst for the removal of Bobby Petrino, while last season's late-game loss in Tallahassee served as an example of the resurgence in Satterfield's first season.

The Seminoles begin anew with first-year head coach Mike Norvell, who arrives following a successful run at Memphis State.

Game One: FSU fell at home to Georgia Tech 16-13 on Saturday.Game Two: Lost 52-10 at Miami.Game Three: Defeated Jacksonville State at home, 41-24.Game Four: Fell at Notre Dame, 42-26.

Game Five: Florida State upset No. 5 North Carolina, 31-28.

Up next: FSU visits Louisville on Oct. 24.

Florida State's climbed four spots after win over UNC. The Noles are No. 68 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Florida State leads 17-4

Result/Projection: 29.9% Louisville Win (Last Week 31.3%)

Current record: 2-1, 2-1 ACC

Another contest that Louisville has gone from favorite to underdog in the ESPN FPI.

For the first time since Louisville began play in the ACC, the Cardinals and Hokies will meet on the gridiron. The Hokies seem poised to improve upon a last season's second-place finish in the ACC Coastal Division race.

The Cardinals only wins in the limited series have come at home, the last in Oct. 1992.

Game One: Virginia Tech defeated NC State 45-24 in its opener this past weekend.Game Two: The Hokies won at Duke, 38-31.Game Three: Fell at No. 8 North Carolina, 56-45.

Game Four: Downed visiting Boston College 40-14.

Up next: The Hokies visit Wake Forest on Oct. 24.

Virginia Tech is No. 17 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Virginia Tech leads 2-5

Bronco Mendenhall

Result/Projection: 52.2% Louisville Win (Last Week 52.2%)

Current record: 1-3, 1-3 ACC

Louisville's 28-21 win over Virginia last fall served as another example that the rebuild under Satterfield was ahead of the presumed track. UVA bounced back from the loss to win the league's Coastal Division, but must find a replacement for quarterback Bryce Perkins and its top receivers if it wishes to enjoy similar success in 2020.

The team's opener vs rival Virginia Tech was postponed due to positive COVID-19 results with some VT players.

Game One: UVA opened its season with a 38-20 home win over Duke.Game Two: Virginia fell at Clemson, 41-23.Game Three: Fell at home to NC State, 38-21

Game Four: Virginia lost at Wake Forest, 40-23.

Up next: UVA visits Miami on Oct. 24.

Virginia dropped 2 spots to No. 66 in the updated ESPN FPI.

Series History: Louisville leads 5-3

Dino Babers

Result/Projection: 86.7% Louisville Win (Last Week 79.0%)

Current record: 1-4, 1-3 ACC

Syracuse was one of the bigger disappointments in 2019, finishing just 5-7 overall. Head Coach Dino Babers brought in new coordinators on both sides of the ball. The offense will need to fill needs at running back and wide receiver.

The Cardinals downed the Orange 56-34 in 2019.

Game One: The Orange lost to North Carolina 31-6 in its opener.Game Two: Syracuse lost 21-10 to Pittsburgh.Game Three: The Orange defeated Georgia Tech 37-20.Game Four: Loss to Duke, 38-24

Game Five: The Orange lost at home to Liberty, 38-21

Up next: The Orange visit Clemson on Oct. 24.

Syracuse dropped 18 spots after loss to Liberty and now sit at No. 105 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Louisville leads 11-7

Jeff Hafley

Result/Projection: 52.2% Louisville Win (Last Week 44.2%)

Current record: 3-2, 2-2 ACC

The Cardinals weren't favored last week, but the narrow loss at Notre Dame and BC's loss at Virginia Tech has shifted the odds back in Louisville's favor.

Louisville won a 41-39 thriller at Cardinal Stadium last fall. This year UofL will face an Eagles squad with a new direction under first-year head coach Jeff Hafley. Hafley arrives following one season as the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. The new era at Boston College will begin without standout running back AJ Dillon, who departed a year early for the NFL Draft.

Game One: The Eagles defeated Duke 26-9 in its season opener on Saturday.Game Two: BC scored 10 points in the 4th quarter for a 24-21 comeback win over Texas State.Game Three: Boston College fell at home to North Carolina, 26-22.Game Four: Defeated Pittsburgh 31-30 in overtime.

Game Five: Lost at Virginia Tech, 40-14.

Up next: The Eagles host Georgia Tech on Oct. 24.

Boston College sits at No. 65 in the ESPN FPI.

Series History: Louisville leads 7-5

Wake Forest Helmet

Result/Projection: 53.6% Louisville Win (Last Week 52.5%)

Current record: 2-2, 1-2 ACC

The 2019 meeting between Louisville and Wake Forest was one of the more exciting offensive showings in the nation last fall, with the Cardinals handing the host Demon Deacons a 62-59 defeat. Wake Forest lost quarterback Jamie Newman, but former starter Sam Hartman should be ready to regain the role.

Game One: The Deacs fell to top-ranked Clemson 31-13.Game Two: Lost a 45-42 shootout at NC State.Game Three: Wake Forest defeated Campbell at home, 66-14.

Game Four: Wake Forest downed visiting Virginia, 40-23.

Up next: Wake Forest hosts Virginia Tech on Oct. 24.

Wake Forest climbed 10 spots to No. 45 in the updated ESPN FPI.

Series History: Louisville leads 5-2

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