The UCLA football team, which already had a surprisingly high ranking in the ESPN Football Power Index, moved up again on Monday.
After a team goes 3-9 on the season, one would not expect to see that same team positioned in any Top 25 rankings, but that is where the UCLA football program finds themselves. On Monday, ESPN released their latest Football Power Index (FPI) which has the Bruins ranked 20th in the nation with a score of 11.9
What is even more astonishing is that this is a rise from the first offseason FPI which was released a day after the national championship.
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In those rankings, the Bruins came in 21st with a score of 11.7. ESPN also gave UCLA the 14th best offense, the 28th best defense and the 68th best special teams.
The FPI score is given to teams based on their projected strength, especially when trying to determine how they will do in future contests. Along with UCLA’s ranking, their score increased by 0.2 points. Interestingly, UCLA rose partly due to the fact that Utah fell from 18 to 22.
In the latest FPI rankings, ESPN did not rank offense, defense, and special teams, but instead gave projections for the season. In regards to win-loss projection, the Bruins were given 7.8-4.5, which is quite a jump from 3-9.
Next, ESPN gave teams a projected estimate of winning out, and UCLA received a 0.1% chance, which is more than reasonable considering their schedule, which we will get into shortly. Their odds increased when calculating the chance to win the Pac-12, which came in at 14.1%. This is the third-best in the Pac-12 behind Oregon (35.3%) and Washington (19.9%). And when it comes to the strength of schedule, UCLA has the 9th toughest in the country.
Still, like most UCLA fans, ESPN can see that the Bruins are indeed improving. The 2018 3-9 record was not great, but we can all agree that significant changes have been made and seeing how this team has made improvements, there is no doubt they will finish this season better than they finished the last one.