After three weeks of football, the Big 12 remains slightly ahead of the SEC in the ESPN Stats & Info Conference Power Rankings - a formula that equally weighs the rankings from the AP Poll and a compilation of available BCS computer rankings in order to determine which conferences are the best and worst in the country.
The Big 12 continued its dominance in non-conference games this week, winning all seven of its games outside of the conference on Saturday. Overall the Big 12 is 22-2 in non-conference games, the best record of any conference in the FBS.
The majority of the Big 12’s non-conference victories have come against non-AQ opponents, though. Of the Big 12’s 24 non-conference games, only four have been against AQ opponents (3-1 in those games). This mild schedule is one reason why eight of 10 teams are currently undefeated and nine teams received at least one vote in the AP Poll.
The SEC remains slightly behind the Big 12 after losses by Ole Miss (to Texas) and Kentucky (to Western Kentucky). While the top half of the SEC is the strongest of any conference, losses by the league’s bottom half is hurting its overall ranking.
The ACC and Big Ten dropped the furthest in the rankings this week.
The Big Ten continued to fall in the rankings after its highest-ranked team, Michigan State, lost to Notre Dame. Currently there is no school from the Big Ten ranked in the AP Top 15 (the SEC has five and Big 12 has four). The Big Ten has just four wins against other AQ schools – and three of the wins are by Northwestern.
Next week is highlighted by several conference games between ranked opponents. We will find out which team is atop the ACC and Big 12 in two Top 15 matchups Saturday that will likely affect the next week’s conference rankings – No. 10 Clemson at No. 4 Florida State (8 ET on ABC) and No. 15 Kansas State at No. 6 Oklahoma (7:50 ET).