FEI does not agree.
According to calculations made by football data analyst Brian Fremeau, Miami enters the season favored in half of its games. The most likely outcome for the Hurricanes in 2016 is a 6-6 record. Fremeau’s FEI projections, which are adjusted every week during the season, open the year giving Miami a 26 percent chance to go .500.
Doesn’t seem likely to happen. Personally, I believe the Hurricanes will go 8-4 this year. I have them ranked No. 26 to start the year.
But the Fremeau Efficiency Index has them No. 48. FEI rates each team based on drive efficiency over the 20,000 or so possessions annually in FBS-vs.-FBS games. FEI game projections are calculated off those ratings, adjusting for home field advantage. They are updated every week with each team’s likelihood to win. Injuries and other “human” factors are not taken into account.
This is not to say such data is useless or wrong. Far from it. It is interesting (to me, at least) and one of many tools that can be used to get a handle on what we’re seeing out there.
A similar efficiency metric, SB Nation’s S&P+, projects eight wins for Miami. Those ratings see the Hurricanes as heavy favorites against Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Virginia and Duke; slight favorites against Appalachian State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pittsburgh; slight underdogs against Virginia Tech and North Carolina State (both road games) and heavy underdogs against Florida State and Notre Dame.
According to FEI’s current projections, Miami stands a less than 50 percent chance to win on the road at Appalachian State … and it gets worse. The Hurricanes are projected to follow that with five losses in a row, losing at Georgia Tech, to Florida State and North Carolina, and at Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
If that plays out … yikes.
Miami is favored in its final four games, against Pittsburgh, at Virginia and North Carolina State and against Duke.
Miami has a 91.5 percent chance to beat Florida Atlantic, but the next six weeks are much lower: Appalachian State (34.2), Georgia Tech (27.8), Florida State (24.9), North Carolina (45.5), Virginia Tech (27.0) and Notre Dame (15.4). Miami finishes an FEI favorite against Pittsburgh (52.2), Virginia (54.5), North Carolina State (53.3) and Duke (62.4).
Miami has a 1 percent chance to go 10-2 and a 3 percent chance to go 9-3, according to FEI. The Hurricanes have a 10 percent chance to go 8-4, a 20 percent chance to go 7-5 and a 26 percent chance to go 6-6, the most likely outcome. A 5-7 record has a 23 percent chance of happening, with 4-8 a 13 percent chance and 3-9 a 4 percent chance.