Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Stats & Info [Print without images]

Monday, November 12, 2012
Big East tumbles in conference rankings

By Sharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Info

The SEC remains atop the ESPN Stats & Info Conference Power Rankings despite its top team, Alabama, losing to Texas A&M on Saturday.

Alabama’s loss barely fazed the SEC in the rankings because of the depth of the conference. The SEC now has five teams ranked in the AP Top 10 and six teams with two or fewer losses. No other conference has more than one team ranked in the AP Top 10 or four teams with two or fewer losses.

Unlike the SEC, the Big East was greatly impacted in the conference rankings after its top team, Louisville, lost to Syracuse on Saturday. There are two reasons for the Big East’s drastic fall.

First, the Big East only has eight teams, so a loss by any of its top teams has a greater marginal impact than a loss by a top team in a conference with 14 members. Additionally, the Big East has just three teams that are currently above .500, so the conference relies on those three teams to carry it in the rankings.

Louisville was ranked 11th in the AP Poll last week after a 9-0 start. The Cardinals dropped to 20th in that poll after its loss, resulting in the Big East losing 454 AP points from last week. There is a very real possibility that the Big East will not be able to fill all six of its bowl tie-ins with three teams currently bowl eligible and 11 games remaining.

One conference that will fill its bowl tie-ins is the WAC. The WAC is its final football season as a conference and is finishing strong with three teams battling for its conference title. Louisiana Tech is ranked 20th in the BCS Standings and has a chance to play in a BCS Bowl game if it finishes 16th or higher and ahead of a conference champion from an AQ conference.

If San Jose State can beat BYU Cougars next weekend to move to 9-2, there is a chance that the WAC also could pass the Big East in the conference power rankings.

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Big Ten continues to rebound from a slow start largely because of Ohio State ’s 10-0 record. The Buckeyes are not bowl eligible this season, but they are accounted for in the conference power rankings because they are receiving votes in the AP Poll and the computers. If Ohio State and Penn State were excluded from the formula, the Big Ten would rank below the ACC in the conference power rankings.

Next week there are plenty of games with conference title implications. Rutgers travels to Cincinnati in the Big East, Louisiana Tech hosts Utah State in the WAC, Duke takes on Georgia Tech in the ACC, Toledo travels to Northern Illinois in the MAC and USC takes on rival UCLA in the Pac-12. All of these games will shape conference title races and impact the bowl season.