ESPN’s FPI rankings badly disrespected LSU football

LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

LSU football was left out of the top 10 of ESPN’s FPI pre-season 2020 rankings.

ESPN’s 2020 pre-season FPI rankings were released this week and LSU football, despite being the defending national champions, aren’t in the top 10.

The Tigers come in at No. 12 in the rankings, just behind Notre Dame, Georgia and Florida.

The FPI rankings, according to ESPN, are “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”.

Here’s the top 10.

I understand why LSU isn’t at the top of these rankings. The Tigers are losing a lot of production from their 2019 championship team. Players like Joe Burrow, Grant Delpit and Justin Jefferson, among a bevy of others, can’t easily be replaced.

But it’s not like the cupboard is bare. LSU still has the the best wide receiver in the nation (Ja’Marr Chase) on their roster. And quarterback Myles Brennan is absolutely capable of leading a productive offense.

I certainly think the Tigers should at least be in the top 10. And they should definitely be above Oklahoma — a team they trounced 63-28 in the Peach Bowl.

The Sooners are losing a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Jalen Hurts). It’s not clear who will start under center in Norman next season. Oklahoma is also losing wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to the NFL, who led the team in receptions (62) and receiving yards (1,327).

Linebacker Kenneth Murray, the Sooners’ leading tackler in 2019, is also heading to the NFL.

I just don’t see any way to justify putting LSU at No. 12 and Oklahoma at No. 3. It doesn’t make any sense.

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But fortunately for the Tigers, these rankings have no bearing on how the 2020 season will actually play out.