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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Weekly Rankings

How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 2

As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

1. Big 12 (33.1, 7, 5)
2. SEC (37.7, 1, 6)
3. Big Ten (44.1, 6, 4)
4. Independent (49.0, 17, 2)
5. Pac-12 (49.2, 3, 3)
6. A.C.C. (52.6, 4, 3)
7. Big East (58.9, 27, 0)
8. Mountain West (75.6, 22, 1)
9. WAC (83.1, 34, 0)
10. MAC (84.6, 18, 1)
11. Conference USA (88.5, 36, 0)
12. Sun Belt (97.4, 60, 0)

Thoughts? It’s not surprising to see the Sun Belt bring up the rear: Florida International’s loss to Duke was a tough blow for the league, as were Middle Tennessee State’s loss to an F.C.S. opponent and South Alabama’s late defeat to Texas-San Antonio.

But that the WAC isn’t in second-to-last is a slight surprise. How was the WAC able to move just ahead of Conference USA? For one, Conference USA was dropped down a peg – if not more than one peg – by Houston’s inexplicable loss to Texas State. But overall, the WAC went 4-2 over the opening weekend; one of those two losses was San Jose State’s three-point setback at Stanford.

This might change once the calendar turns to conference play – the league consume itself – but as I suggested over the summer, the Big 12 is the deepest league in the country. The drawback is that teams like West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma might beat up on each other in October and November; for now, however, not even the SEC can tout similar depth.

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  1. Too High says:

    CUSA may be too high in your week 1 ranking. Maybe a ranking of 11.5?

    Why not just combine the bottom two into the CUSunBelt? All of those teams are indistinguishable and practically identical.

  2. Huh? says:

    How is the MWC below the Big East?

    Nevada and Boise represented themselves better than Pitt and Syracuse.

    How do you lose to Northwestern at home? Northwestern is one of the most consistently overvalued teams out there. They are a marginal bowl-eligible team (in a good year) that lays the biggest of eggs in a bowl loss to another marginal bowl team.

    Paul: Both this and the team-by-team re-ranking will look weird for at least another week. But keep in mind the fact that the Mountain West does include U.N.L.V. and New Mexico.

  3. Huh? says:

    UNLV almost beat Minnesota and their genius coach.

  4. Lawrence says:

    “9. WAC (83.1, 0, 34)”

    I think 34 and 0 need to be flopped. :)

    Great article as always, Paul, I agree that the Big 12 is looking very strong this year. Although, I would argue that even though they are deeper, there is something to be said for having 4 teams in the top 10 in the SEC… and I’m the farthest thing from one of those SEC homers.

  5. Dan says:

    OK Paul, couple questions jump out at me. At first I thought the ranking was simply on the average ranking, but numbers 3,4 and 5 discount that.

    So how is the PAC 12 with a 3,3 ahead of the B1G with a 6,4?

    Also the SEC looks awfully strong with a 1,6 yet trails the Big 12 with a 7,5? Averages are pretty close for both these cases.

    Your rankings may be absolutely correct, but I am just curious what carries the most weight.

    Great job this summer keeping me entertained with actual football material by the way. Enjoy your hard work.

    Paul: The Pac-12 issue was due to a faulty cut and paste. Did the list in order of the first team that popped up and didn’t recalibrate. Same issue with the MAC, which I mistakenly had listed ahead of the Big East. Both are fixed. For now, it’s merely a simple matter of adding up each team’s ranking and dividing by the number of teams in the conference. Very simple. But by the end of the year, it does give a fairly accurate barometer of where each conference stands.

  6. In response to the Tweet referenced below says:

    From “Pre-Snap Read on Twitter”:

    Via @KenMather_MAC — The MAC has now beat at least one B10 team in 6 straight years, the longest such streak in league history.

    * * * *

    Now imagine what the record would be if the Big Ten didn’t cherry-pick the matchups and didn’t only play at home or at “neutral” sites where the Big Ten team actually reaps the benefits (crowd size, noise, etc.) of the home field advantage.

    How long before Indiana stops playing Ball State? (That’s another MAC “upset” over a Big Ten team coming later this season). And the Hoosiers won’t come back, at least until Lembo gets hired away and Ball State sits at a low ebb.

    It seems like U. of illinois has played out-of-state WMU rather regularly recently, which is interesting considering that there is an in-state MAC team that they avoid like the plague. illinois plays “Foot” – that would be “football” minus the “balls” – BOOM!

  7. jjncaa says:

    To me, MAC is the conference of the week

  8. Josh H. says:

    Ouu. That would be a cool weekly article paul could do. A Conference of the week write up. But he does so much already (which we are all happy about too!) that it would be unfair of him to do that too. Thanks for the shout out to the MAC though. I think overall that we played a lot of teams tough (Buffalo was a big surprise to me) and though we probably should have won a few of those games (NIU and Toledo and heck…even probably Bowling Green), we didn’t roll over and gave a pretty good showing.

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