SEC leads Pac-12 in first conference rank

ESPN Stats & Information is again ranking the FBS conferences, and the SEC -- again! -- leads the nation, with the Pac-12 fairly close behind.

The rankings will use ESPN’s new Football Power Index (FPI) instead of the BCS computers, as it did last year, but the premise of the rankings remains the same. The AP poll will measure the strength of the top schools in the conference and the FPI will measure the depth of the conference.

The Pac-12 is 6.6 points behind the SEC and nearly 15 points ahead of the ACC, which is ranked third.

Here's the chart:

Here's what Stats & Info says about the SEC-Pac-12 battle:

  • The SEC leads the Pac-12 by 6.6 points through six weeks of football. The biggest difference between the top conferences is the strength of the SEC’s top schools.

  • The SEC has six teams ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll, compared to four top-20 teams in the Pac-12.

  • Many would argue that that Pac-12 has the best record in the FBS against non-conference opponents (29-4). However, 23 of their 29 wins came against opponents from non-BCS AQ conferences, including eight wins against FCS opponents.

  • In comparison, the SEC went 32-7 against out-of-conference opponents but played five more games against BCS-AQ conference teams than the Pac-12.

  • The SEC and Pac-12 have split their only two games against each other as Oregon beatTennessee 59-14 and Auburn beat Washington State 31-24.

A couple of notes on that:

  • The SEC has many of its weakest non-conference foes ahead. For example, LSU plays Furman on Oct. 26 and Alabama plays Chattanooga on Nov. 23. The Pac-12 has only three non-conference games ahead, two against Notre Dame and Colorado's game on Oct. 19 with Charleston Southern, a hasty schedule grab to replace the canceled Fresno State game.

  • Second, among those Pac-12 non-AQ wins are Boise State, BYU, Nevada and Utah State. Not exactly Georgia State.

  • Finally, the SEC has 14 teams, so it has more chances to have teams ranked, including at present its new teams, Texas A&M and Missouri, formally of the Big 12. The Pac-12 had five ranked teams last week before Arizona State went belly-up against Notre Dame.