Monday, October 8, 2012
SEC moves atop conference power rankings
By Sharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Info
The SEC claimed the top spot in the ESPN Stats & Info's Conference Power Rankings for the first time this season after upsets shook up the Top 10 this weekend.
The SEC jumped over the Big 12 largely due to its strength in the AP Poll. The conference has seven teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including three of the top four teams in the nation. No other conference has more than four teams ranked in the Top 25.
Losses by Top-5 teams LSU and Georgia did not impact the SEC’s conference ranking because they lost to teams that were also in the Top 10.
On the other hand, losses by TCU and Texas Tech impacted the Big 12 in the rankings since they lost to teams with worse records entering the game.
The computers still favor the Big 12 over the SEC due to the depth of the conference, but the gap has narrowed. The SEC’s dominance in the polls has vaulted the conference into first place for the first time since the final conference power rankings of the 2011 season.
The biggest movement of the week occurred in the middle of the rankings. The ACC fell from fourth to sixth after losses by two of its top teams, Florida State and Miami. The Big Ten and Big East moved up a spot as a result.
If there is any question whether the Big East deserves to be ranked ahead of the ACC, consider their head-to-head records. The Big East is 4-3 in games against the ACC this season.
The Big East has three teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for first time since the final poll of the 2009 season. The ACC and Big Ten each have just two ranked teams.
Additionally, the Big East has three undefeated teams in Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers, the second most of any conference. On the other hand, the ACC is the only BCS-AQ conference without an undefeated team and the Big Ten’s only undefeated team, Ohio State, is not bowl eligible this season.
As conference play heats up, there are a few non-conference games with implications next weekend. Notre Dame (vs Stanford), Oregon State (at BYU) and Louisiana Tech (vs Texas A&M) all try to remain undefeated against formidable non-conference opponents.
Look for these games to impact the first release of the BCS Standings and next week’s conference power rankings.