ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) was released recently, and the metric is high on the prospects for the Virginia Tech Hokies in 2020.
The FPI is described by ESPN as “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.”
Virginia Tech’s FPI score is 13.0, which ranks them 18th in the country in the preseason rankings. The Hokies’ average projected win-loss record is 9.1-3.4, and Tech’s “Strength of Schedule Remaining” is 62nd nationally to start the new season.
When breaking it down on a game-by-game basis, the rating projects Virginia Tech to go 10-2 on the season, with losses at home to Penn State and on the road to Louisville. The Hokies are given only a 28.6% chance of winning the Penn State game, but a much higher 43.0% chance of beating Louisville.
The road trip to North Carolina, which is seen as one of the season’s most pivotal match-ups in the ACC Coastal Division, has Virginia Tech as the projected victor, but only by the narrowest of margins. This game is seen as a virtual toss-up, with Virginia Tech given a 52.6% chance of winning.
It is a pivotal year for Justin Fuente and his newly constructed staff coming into Year 5 of his tenure with the Hokies. His first four years have produced mixed returns, with a 10-win season, a 9-win season, a 6-win season that was the program’s worst record since 1992, and a mediocre and at times, very underwhelming, 8-win season a year ago.
With several key returning starters in the fold and a wealth of experience coming back on the defensive side of the football, the Hokies should be in for a bounce-back season in 2020, and ESPN’s FPI seems to agree with that assesssment.