Wednesday, December 5, 2012
SEC finishes regular season atop rankings
By Sharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Info
At the end of the regular season, it should be no surprise that the SEC leads the ESPN Stats and Info Conference Power Rankings by a wide margin.
Six of the top 11 teams in the AP Poll reside in the SEC, including No. 2 Alabama, which will be playing for the conference's seventh straight national championship.
Nine of the SEC's 14 teams are bowl eligible, including six teams with at least 10 wins this season.
Like the SEC, the Big 12 has nine bowl-eligible teams. That is impressive considering that the conference has only 10 teams. Yet the Big 12 remains behind the SEC and the Pac-12 in the conference rankings because it lacks multiple “elite” teams.
The Big 12 has two teams currently ranked in the AP Poll, its fewest of any week this season. To put that in perspective, both the WAC and MAC have two teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25.
Speaking of the WAC, the conference finished the regular season as the sixth-best conference in the country according the power rankings.
Considering that the conference is in its final season of existence in football, the WAC had an impressive year. Four of its eight teams finished with at least eight wins, which is more eight-win teams than the Big 12, ACC or Big East.
The WAC finished the year ranked ahead of both the Big East and the MAC. Although the top of the MAC is strong -- as indicated by Northern Illinois’ berth in a BCS bowl game and the thrilling MAC championship game -- the bottom of the conference struggled. Six of its 13 teams did not win more than four games, which brought down its overall ranking as a conference.
All of the conferences will have the chance to prove their relative strength during bowl season. The ACC will try to improve upon its abysmal 2-6 bowl record last season, and the Big Ten will look to play better in its January bowl games than its 3-9 record over the last two seasons.