Championship predictor: What will final 2017-18 table look like?

Will Sunderland bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt? Can new signing John Terry inspire Aston Villa to promotion? Will the promoted clubs struggle to survive?

Whichever club you follow, there are always high hopes at the start of any season.

Maybe this will finally be your club’s time to reach the top flight? The year your team “do a Huddersfield” by defying all pre-season predictions to win promotion?

We’ve had a go…

We may be opening ourselves up to criticism from fans, players and managers of several clubs by doing this, but we have decided to try it ourselves. Remember – it is just a bit of fun!

A group of 25 BBC Sport journalists who cover Championship football on a regular basis were asked to make their predictions, and their forecasts were combined to make a final table.

In our defence, there are about 620,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations, so the chances are that we will probably end up getting it horribly wrong!

How our predicted table was put together

Our journalists were asked to place each Championship team in positions one to 24. The first-placed team was given one point, the second-placed team two points and so on.

Once all predictions had been received, all of the points for each individual club were added together and then divided by the number of responses (25) to give each club an average position.

The team with the highest average position was placed first in the final table, while the side with the lowest average position was placed 24th.

BBC Sport’s predicted final table
PosTeamAverage
1Middlesbrough2.68
2Fulham3.36
3Aston Villa3.96
4Sheffield Wednesday5.12
5Derby County5.68
6Wolves6.92
7Reading8.24
8Norwich City9.08
9Hull City9.12
10Leeds United9.56
11Sunderland11.16
12Birmingham City11.60
13Cardiff City12.56
14Brentford13.20
15Nottingham Forest15.56
16Sheffield United15.80
17Preston North End16.96
18Queens Park Rangers17.52
19Bristol City17.84
20Ipswich Town18.44
21Barnsley20.12
22Bolton Wanderers20.36
23Millwall22.28
24Burton Albion22.88

How did we rate your club?

Title favourites

  • Eleven of our journalists predicted Middlesbrough will be champions, while five went for Aston Villa and four chose Fulham.
  • There were also votes for Sheffield Wednesday (two), Derby, Sunderland and Wolves.
  • Boro, Fulham and Villa each had 22 votes to finish in the top six, while nobody predicted any of those three clubs would end the season outside the top 10.

The teams coming down

While Middlesbrough were backed to do well, the fates of fellow relegated clubs Hull and Sunderland split our group of journalists:

  • Three thought the Tigers would finish second and four more had them finishing in a play-off place, but six had them ending the campaign in the bottom half of the table.
  • Sunderland’s range was even more extreme, from first to 21st, with 16 placing the Black Cats between seventh and 12th in the final table.
Hull City’s Leonid Slutsky is the first Russian manager to take charge of an English league club

The play-offs

  • Sheffield Wednesday (18) were the most popular selection to finish in one of the four play-off positions, but only three tipped them to clinch an automatic promotion spot.
  • Only seven predicted that Reading, who were beaten play-off finalists in May, would finish in the top six again in 2017-18.

Rising and falling

Of the 18 teams remaining in the Championship from 2016-17:

  • West Midlands trio Aston Villa (up 10 places), Wolves (up nine) and Birmingham (up seven) were the three clubs tipped to improve most on their final positions from last season.
  • Barnsley (down seven places) and Preston (down six) were the two predicted to have the most dramatic falls from where they ended in 2016-17.
Wolves paid a Championship record fee, reported to be £15.8m, to sign midfielder Ruben Neves from Porto in July

The teams coming up

  • Nobody predicted League One champions Sheffield United would end the season in the bottom three, while three have put the Blades down for a top-half finish in their first campaign in the second tier since 2010-11.
  • Nine thought Bolton would be relegated, while 18 predicted that play-off winners Millwall’s stay in the second tier would last only one season.

The relegation battle

  • Only four of our 25 journalists predicted Burton would survive, while eight thought the Brewers would finish bottom of the table – the most of any club.
  • Eight teams – Burton (21), Millwall (18), Bolton (nine), Ipswich (eight), Barnsley (seven), Nottingham Forest, Preston and QPR (three) – had at least three votes to be relegated in 2017-18.
Burton finished 20th at the end of their first ever season in the second tier, one point above the relegation zone

Source: BBC NEWS