ESPN FPI Tabs Colorado As College Football’s Worst Team In 2023

Deion Sanders watches on at the Colorado spring game.

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The Colorado football program has seen a complete makeover ahead of the 2023 season, and it’s given fans in Boulder a brand-new outlook on the future of the team.

After seeing just four winning seasons over the last two decades, many believe the Buffaloes are turning a corner. Excitement amongst the fanbase is skyrocketing while publicity surrounding the team is at an all-time high.

That shift has come due to a change at the helm, with Deion Sanders taking over as the Buffs’ head coach. In a very short period of time, he’s been able to not only build momentum, but also flip a roster that won just one game last year.

Much of that success has come in the portal where Colorado boasts the No. 1 transfer class in college football.

Five-star players like Cormani McClain and Travis Hunter were eager to get on campus, a stark change from the recruiting cycles of the past.

The influx of talent has led to an immediate payoff at the box office, where the Buffs are seeing an uptick in both merchandise and ticket sales. This, coming on the heels of a sold out spring game.

But while many are anticipating a quick turnaround, there are others that are skeptical.

Vegas has pegged the Buffaloes’ win total at just 3.5 games, though that’s not stopped bettors from placing their national championship wagers on Deion Sanders’ bunch.

ESPN analyst Kyle Bonagura was also recently heard telling fans to “pump the brakes” on their Colorado football expectations. If his employer’s FPI projections are correct, a lot of excited supporters will come to the crushing realization that it takes time to build a program.

ESPN releases an FPI projection before each season which predicts both a team’s power rating and overall record.

The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 20,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily. FPI data from seasons prior to 2019 may not be complete.

Here’s more on the ratings system for those interested.

While not the end-all-be-all, it is a good starting point when trying to separate football’s top teams from the rest of the pack. And let’s just say the formula is not too high on Colorado.

In fact, it projects the Buffs to have the worst record in all of college football comes season’s end. They’re the only team in the nation to have a win total of less than three games.

With a projection of 2.6 wins and 9.4 losses, the Buffaloes sit at the bottom of the list. And judging by the upcoming schedule, it’s likely going to be tough sledding in Boulder.

The team starts its season with a trip to play national runner-up TCU before hosting Nebraska in the second game. The Buffs have their best chance to pick up a win in the non-conference against rival Colorado State in Week 3.

Then, PAC 12 play begins, which will see the program play the likes of Oregon, USC, UCLA, and Utah. They won’t be favored in many, if any, of their conference matchups.

Luckily for Colorado, football games aren’t played on paper. We’ll see if they can exceed ESPN’s expectations.