How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 4
By Paul Myerberg // Sep 18, 2012
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 (32.6, 6, 5)
2. Pac-12 (40.2, 3, 6)
3. SEC (41.1, 1, 6)
4. Big Ten (47.3, 15, 2)
5. A.C.C. (54.6, 4, 2)
6. Independent (55.3, 10, 1)
7. Big East (56.3, 24, 1)
8. Mountain West (79.6, 23, 1)
9. WAC (80.3, 29, 0)
10. MAC (86.3, 20, 1)
11. Conference USA (89.5, 48, 0)
12. Sun Belt (91.9, 58, 0)
Thoughts? And before continuing, a reminder: I’m using this morning’s re-rankings, not The Associated Press or USA Today polls. It’s a simplistic way to break down the conferences for a number of reason, with no one reason bigger than the fact that it ignores the idea – with the SEC, for instance – that a conference is defined by its elite, not the sum of all its parts.
Hence the SEC’s slide from second to third, behind not just the Big 12 but also the Pac-12. But look at the Pac-12: six teams in the top 25 and 11 teams inside the top 86. If you remove No. 123 Colorado from the equation, the Pac-12’s top 11 teams average a 32.8 rating.
And that still wouldn’t be enough to unseat the Big 12, which remains the best league in the country – from top to bottom. Is the SEC better among its top six or seven teams? Of course. But the SEC has been dinged by Arkansas’ slide into the abyss, giving it three teams among the bottom 48 spots.
The issue for the Big 12 is that come the start of league play, it will begin eating itself apart – teams like Texas Tech and Iowa State will drop out of the top 50 if, or when, they lose to teams like Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma. Likewise with the Pac-12. At some point in October, the SEC will return to the top spot.
I’m interested in two neck-and-neck battles: Mountain West vs. WAC and Conference USA vs. Sun Belt. The WAC is being propped up by two teams, Utah State and San Jose State, that will soon join the Mountain West. The Sun Belt and Conference USA are the two worst leagues in the F.B.S., slightly behind the MAC.
The MAC’s going to make a run at the WAC and M.W.C. during conference play. Non-conference play is always cruel to the MAC, due to the willingness of its members to schedule up against B.C.S. conference competition; come December, the MAC should have five to seven teams at bowl eligibility.
Tags: A.C.C., Arkansas, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independent, Iowa State, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, Sun Belt, Texas Tech, WAC
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