Brian Fremeau is one of those advanced stat gurus I follow. His particular metric, FEI, rates teams on the basis of opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. He generates preseason rankings that are derived from “five-year program ratings, recent recruiting success, and returning offensive and defensive experience”.
All that adds up to the highest preseason projection I’ve seen yet for Georgia’s 2017 season: seventh. FEI has the Dawgs most likely to lose no more than two or three games. That’s not cheaply given, either, as FEI has six of their opponents in the preseason top thirty and ten in the top fifty.
If you look at what Fremeau weights in the preseason, there’s a certain logic to Georgia’s FEI ranking: lots of returning experience, particularly on defense and in the offensive backfield; highly ranked recruiting classes in Smart’s first two tries; and a respectable, if not spectacular, five-year run for the program.
That, of course, is no guarantee of success for the upcoming season. The question is whether it’s a window into what Georgia is capable of doing in 2017. It won’t be too much longer before we start getting answers about that.