Stats & Info: Big 12

ACC, Big 12 close in best conference debate

January, 23, 2015
Jan 23
1:08
PM ET

Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesVirginia and Duke are two top-five teams that highlight a top-heavy ACC in college basketball this season.
One of the hottest topics to debate in this or any college basketball season is which conference is the best.

Most would agree that the argument comes down to the Big 12 and ACC. The Big 12 could potentially place eight of its 10 teams in the NCAA tournament, while the ACC could have four top-three seeds.

So which is the better conference? The answer depends on whether you’re looking for the deeper conference or the one with more potential to win it all.

Deepest Conference

The Big 12 is undoubtedly the deepest conference from top to bottom. Eight of its 10 teams rank in the top 50 of ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, and the conference has the highest average BPI ranking in the nation.

Sixty percent of the Big 12 is currently ranked in the AP poll (the highest percentage of any conference), and by the end of the season, two other teams could have an argument for inclusion. Even TCU, which lost its final 19 games last season, entered conference play undefeated (thanks in large part to a very weak nonconference schedule).

In nonconference games, the Big 12 has the best record in the nation but lacks a marquee nonconference win from a team other than Kansas.

The question surrounding the Big 12 is whether it has an elite team. No team in the Big 12 is ranked in the top eight of the AP poll or BPI.

Strongest At Top

Unlike the Big 12, the ACC has strength at the top, but the bottom of the conference has significant holes.

The ACC has four teams in the top 10 of the latest AP poll; no other conference has more than one.

This imbalance is captured in BPI. The ACC possesses five of the top 13 teams; the average BPI rating of those five teams is four points higher than any other conference’s top five. Put another way, the ACC’s fifth-ranked team in BPI -- Louisville -- ranks 13th overall. No other conference’s fifth-ranked team has a ranking higher than 20.

Even accounting for the fact that the ACC has five more teams than the Big 12, the average ranking of the top third of the conference is significantly higher for the ACC.

A case can be made that Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville or Notre Dame could win it all; all five of those teams were projected as top-four seeds in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology.

Combining It All

So the question remains: How do you balance conference depth with conference strength at the top?

ESPN Stats & Information has released weekly conference power ranking for college football the past few years (for a detailed description of the methodology, click here). In short, the system equally weights the ratings from ESPN’s Football Power Index (conference depth) and the AP poll (power at top) to determine the best and worst conferences in the country.

This formula has been adapted for college basketball with one change. Because such a lower percentage of college basketball teams receive AP votes, the weighting for these rankings is 25 percent AP voting and 75 percent BPI.

In a fairly anticlimactic ending, the Big 12 and ACC are tied atop the rankings. For those needing an answer, the Big 12 holds a 0.013 point edge over the ACC. The next three conferences are closely bunched, with the Pac-12 ranking third on the strength of its top two teams -- Arizona and Utah -- ranking in the top 12 of the AP poll.

Though not pictured, the bottom three conferences in the rankings are the SWAC, MEAC and WAC.


Pac-12 tops final conference rankings

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
10:42
AM ET
After posting a Power 5-best 6-3 record in bowls, the Pac-12 rose to No. 1 in ESPN Stats & Information’s Conference Power Rankings -- a system that equally weighs the rankings from The Associated Press poll and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) to determine the best and worst conferences in the country.

The Pac-12 not only had the best record, but it also outscored its opponents by more than eight points per game in bowls. Oregon, Utah and Stanford won by 24 or more points, and UCLA, Arizona State and USC won hard-fought contests. After an impressive bowl season, which included a trip to the national championship, the Pac-12 finished the year with six teams ranked in the AP poll, tied for the most of any conference with the SEC.

As the Pac-12 excelled, the SEC’s top teams struggled through bowl season. The SEC West in particular -- which was 28-0 against nonconference opponents entering bowls -- went 2-5, including 0-4 in New Year’s Six bowls.

Although many were quick to bury the SEC, the Conference Power Rankings account for the entire season and all teams in the conference, and the strength at the bottom of the SEC is unrivaled in college football.

We learned throughout bowl season, however, that there is more parity across the top of conferences than might have been expected. Each Power 5 conference had two teams in the top 10 of the final AP poll, and all had a team ranked in the top six.

After Ohio State's 42-20 victory over Oregon Monday night, the national champion is from the Big Ten for the first time since 2002. The Big Ten’s reputation had taken a hit in recent years, but Ohio State helped dispel the myth that the Big Ten could not compete with other top conferences by taking down the SEC and Pac-12 champions on its path to the title.

Michigan State and Wisconsin also beat top-20 opponents to help the Big Ten post its first winning record in bowls since 2009. Even more impressive is that the Big Ten was a Vegas underdog in all 11 of its bowl games and was expected to win about four games, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. After exceeding expectations, the Big Ten rose 6.1 points in the Conference Power Rankings, the biggest rise of any conference during bowl season.

Elsewhere, the Big 12 had the worst bowl record of any Power 5 conference. Besides TCU’s 39-point victory over Ole Miss, the Big 12 was outscored by an average of 10.7 points in its other six games. The Big 12 ended the year 3-12 against nonconference opponents ranked in the top 40 of ESPN’s Football Power Index, the worst record of any Power 5 conference.

Next year, expect another great competition between the Pac-12 and SEC for the top conference in the nation. The SEC’s weakness this year, inexperience at quarterback, should become a strength as nine of 14 teams are returning their starting QBs next season.

The Big Ten and Big 12 also should make a splash with TCU, Ohio State and Baylor ranked as the top three teams heading into next season in Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early Top 25. Keep an eye out for ESPN’s Preseason FPI, which will be released this spring, to see where your team and conference rank heading into next season.

Power rankings: Big 12, not SEC, is No. 1

December, 1, 2014
12/01/14
11:21
AM ET

AP PhotosTrevone Boykin, Bryce Petty and Jake Waters lead the Big 12's top three teams
For the first time in years, the SEC has been knocked off its perch as the top conference in the nation in ESPN Stats & Information’s Conference Power Rankings.

The SEC was 0-4 in its SEC-ACC rivalry games, marking the first time since 2000 that Georgia, Florida and South Carolina each lost to its major in-state rival. The SEC is 5-6 (.455 win percentage) in nonconference games against other Power 5 opponents, which ranks third among Power 5 conferences.

The race for No. 1, however, is basically a tie between the Big 12 and SEC. The Big 12’s rating is based largely on its strength at the top of the conference, which is measured by The Associated Press poll. The Big 12 has three teams -- TCU, Baylor and Kansas State -- in the top 10 of the AP poll, the most of any conference. Two of those teams will face off this weekend in Waco, Texas.

The Big 12 has a lower average Football Power Index ranking than the SEC and Pac-12, meaning that despite its strength at the top of the conference, it is not particularly deep. The Big 12 has four teams below 60th in the Football Power Index, which is as many as the Pac-12 and SEC have combined.

Nonetheless, Baylor, TCU and Kansas State are in the midst of strong seasons, and in a 10-team league, that has vaulted the Big 12 to the top of the rankings. In four of the first five College Football Playoff rankings, the Big 12 has been on the outside looking in, but the conference should have a strong argument for inclusion with Tuesday’s release.

The biggest riser in the Conference Power Rankings this week was the ACC. After sweeping the SEC-ACC rivalry games Saturday, the ACC rose 7.0 points to nearly pull even with the Big Ten. Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville each rose at least three spots in the AP poll and continued to climb in the Football Power Index.

It has been an up-and-down season for many conferences. The Big Ten was buried early in the year before bouncing back, particularly against the ACC, in Weeks 4 and 5. The ACC was having a down year before it swept the SEC-ACC rivalry series in Week 14. Conference strength will play a role in the College Football Playoff selection, but just as there has not been a dominant team this year, there also may not be a dominant conference.


Power rankings: Big 12 now at No. 2

November, 24, 2014
11/24/14
9:40
AM ET
Tim Heitman/USA TodayTrevone Boykin and TCU are contending for a College Football Playoff spot out of the Big 12.
The Conference Power Rankings are back! We decided to take a few weeks off to let conference games play themselves out but have decided to bring the rankings back before Rivalry Week.

As a quick refresher, the Conference Power Rankings are a formula that equally weighs the rankings from the Associated Press poll and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) to determine the best and worst conferences in the country. The AP Poll is designed to capture the strength at the top of the conference, while FPI is intended to capture conference depth.

After several weeks off, the order of the conference power rankings has not changed. The SEC remains the No. 1 conference, but the gap between the SEC and every other conference has narrowed. The SEC’s rankings in the Football Power Index have not changed significantly; the SEC has nine teams ranked in the top 25 of FPI, which is as many as the Big 12 (four), Big Ten (three) and ACC (two) have combined.

In the AP poll, however, the SEC has six teams in the Top 25, including three in the Top 10. The SEC had a stretch of four weeks with five AP Top 10 teams before Auburn and Ole Miss started to fall. Nonetheless, the SEC leads the Big 12 in the Conference Power Rankings, largely because of its FBS-best 48-3 record (5-2 vs Power 5) in non-conference games.

None from No. 2 among top four
The Big 12 is second in the Conference Power Rankings but currently does not have a team in the Top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings. Could the second-best conference in the FBS be left out of the playoff?

The Big 12’s strength lies at the top of the conference. Baylor and TCU are fifth and sixth, respectively, in the AP poll. Overall, the conference has as many AP Top 25 teams (four) as the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 despite having at least two fewer conference members than those leagues.

The Pac-12 is not far behind the Big 12, and the top three conferences have almost a 20-point lead over the Big Ten and ACC. If UCLA were to make the Pac-12 Championship Game and win, the Bruins would have an argument for inclusion in the playoff based on the Pac-12’s strength and the Bruins’ non-conference schedule (second in the FBS).

Florida State is undefeated but has played arguably the easiest conference schedule of the contenders. The ACC is the weakest of the Power 5 conferences, so if Florida State were to suffer its first loss, the relative strength of an ACC schedule would be examined as the Seminoles make a push for the playoff.

The perception of the ACC can change drastically this week. All four ACC teams in the Top 25 of the AP poll – Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville – face SEC opponents. Three of those teams have greater than a 60 percent chance of winning, according to FPI. If the ACC can pull off the sweep of these games, it could start to change the perception of the ACC’s conference strength.

Power rankings: Big 12 solidly second

October, 13, 2014
10/13/14
9:19
AM ET

Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesBryce Petty and kicker Chris Callahan survived TCU. The teams are part of the top-heavy Big 12.
The “hot” debate entering the season was whether the Pac-12 could surpass the SEC as the top conference in the nation. The Big 12 was rarely mentioned as a top conference, however, despite returning the majority of its starting quarterbacks and having two of the top five defenses in ESPN’s preseason defensive efficiency rankings.

Five of the Big 12’s 10 teams are in the top 15 of The Associated Press poll, tied with the SEC (which has 14 teams) for the most top-15 teams in the nation. Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State all have one or fewer losses and a legitimate shot at the College Football Playoff.

All of those teams will not finish the season with one loss, but it’s worth noting that two of their losses came in close games against the teams that played for the 2014 BCS National Championship (Auburn defeated Kansas State and Florida State defeated Oklahoma State).

The bottom of the Big 12, however, is not as strong as that of the Pac-12 or SEC. The Big 12’s average FPI ranking, which is designed to measure a conference’s depth, ranks below that of those two conferences.

The SEC remains at the top of the conference power rankings. It has the top team in the AP poll (Mississippi State) and in the FPI (Auburn), the two components of these power rankings. The SEC West remains unbeaten against any team not in the SEC West as the Magnolia State has catapulted to the forefront of the college football world.

The Pac-12 will rise in the conference rankings if its top teams can continue to win. Last week, we discussed how the Pac-12 is missing an elite team. Oregon looked strong against UCLA, and the defenses of Stanford and Washington defenses looked solid against explosive offenses in Week 7. The issue is that the Pac-12 does not have a team in the top eight of the AP poll.

In other conference action, next week is a big one for the ACC as Notre Dame heads to Florida State. The Seminoles are the best team in the ACC, but if they lose to Notre Dame at home, the conference could take a big hit in perceived strength and in the College Football Playoff race.


SEC still the best in college football

January, 14, 2014
1/14/14
9:20
AM ET
Despite losing its first national title in eight seasons, the SEC finished atop ESPN Stats & Information’s Conference Power Rankings by a wide margin.

The SEC lost its two BCS bowl games but went 7-1 in its eight other bowl games. Its only non-BCS blemish came when Georgia, without quarterback Aaron Murray, lost by five points to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl.

Overall, the SEC finished with seven teams ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, including four in the top seven. Only the Pac-12 had more than three teams ranked in the entire AP Top 25.

What sets the SEC apart is its depth. Mississippi State, which finished fifth in the SEC West, won its bowl game by 37 points. Similarly, Vanderbilt, which finished fourth in the SEC East, won by 17 points without its starting quarterback. In all, 10 of the SEC’s 14 teams finished with winning records, including seven teams with at least nine wins.

The Pac-12 also showcased its depth during bowl season. Despite losses by its top two teams, Stanford and Arizona State, the middle of the Pac-12 was dominant. All six of the Pac-12’s bowl wins came by at least 15 points, and Pac-12 teams' average margin of victory in those games was 22 points.

Overall, the Pac-12 finished with six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and five teams ranked in the top 10 of ESPN's Football Power Index. As a result of its strength in the computers, the Pac-12 was the clear No. 2 conference in the Power Rankings.

The Big 12 finished third in the Conference Power Rankings for a second straight season. Oklahoma's win over Alabama was the highlight of bowl season for the Big 12, but losses by Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas all hurt the conference.

After sending nine of its 10 teams to bowls last season, the Big 12 had only six bowl-eligible teams in 2013. The lack of depth and having no “elite” team kept the Big 12 from emerging as a top conference this season.

The Big Ten had the worst bowl record (2-5) of any BCS automatic-qualifying conference, but the conference won its most important game, the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State rallied from a 10-0 first-quarter deficit to defeat Stanford and give the Big Ten its first Rose Bowl victory since Ohio State won in 2010. The Spartans finished ranked third in the final AP poll, their highest finish in the national polls since 1966, and fourth in ESPN’s Championship Drive Ratings.

However, the Big Ten had a losing bowl record for a fourth straight season. Since its last national championship in 2002, the Big Ten is 30-52 in bowls and has only once had a winning bowl season (2009).

The ACC won its first BCS championship since 1999 and broke the SEC’s streak of seven straight titles. Clemson also won its bowl game against Ohio State to give the ACC two BCS bowl victories.

Despite sending a record 11 teams to bowls, the ACC’s bowl season will be defined by its two wins in BCS bowls. The only reason that the ACC is not ranked higher in the conference rankings, however, is the conference is still lacking depth; the ACC went 3-6 in its non-BCS bowl games, with the six losses by a combined 103 points.

Non-AQ conferences had an up-and-down bowl season, with the Sun Belt winning both of its games and the MAC losing all five of its contests.

The Mountain West finished the season as the top non-AQ conference, but the gap between the Mountain West and the “Big 6” conferences is quite large heading into the 2014 playoff. Many questions remain heading into the playoff, but the fate of the non-AQ conferences seems dim with only one spot guaranteed in the six major bowls for teams in the American, C-USA, Mountain West, MAC and Sun Belt conferences.

Next season, look for the Pac-12 to challenge to the SEC for the top conference in the nation. The Pac-12 should only get stronger with Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Oregon State and Arizona State returning their starting quarterbacks.

Conversely, seven of the SEC’s top eight teams will have to replace their starting quarterbacks next season. Check back next year to see where your conference ends up.





Could top conference be out of title game?

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
12:42
PM ET
Heading into the final week before the bowls are announced, the SEC leads ESPN Stats and Info’s Conference Power Rankings by a wide margin.

The SEC has seven teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including three of the top five teams in the country in Auburn, Alabama and Missouri.

The SEC’s strong out-of-conference record has a lot to do with its success in the polls; the SEC is 47-9 in non-conference games, including 3-1 last Saturday against the ACC.

Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina all defeated their ACC rivals on Saturday, and the SEC’s only out-of-conference loss this past weekend came at the hands of then-No. 2 Florida State.

However, the biggest debate heading into conference championship weekend is whether the SEC deserves a spot in the BCS National Championship Game to defend its seven straight titles.

If the season ended today, the top team in the ACC would face off against the top team in the Big Ten. According to ESPN Stats and Info’s Conference Power Rankings, the ACC and Big Ten are the lowest ranked conferences among the five major ones, and the SEC is by far the top conference in the country.

However, the debate is not necessarily which conference is the best, but which team is the most deserving.

When looking at ESPN’s Championship Drive Ratings – a system that determines the most deserving teams in the country -- Ohio State and Florida State are both ranked higher than the top team in the SEC.

Looking deeper by using ESPN’s Football Power Index – a predictor of future strength -- Ohio State should be favored by three points over Auburn and six points over Missouri on a neutral field.

It appears the Pac-12 and Big 12 will be on the outside looking in on the national title debate despite ranking second and third respectively in ESPN’s Conference Power Rankings. Both conferences have depth, but their biggest issue is that there is no “elite” team at the top.

Keep an eye on the bowl matchups announced next Sunday to see how conference strength plays into bowl selections. In the last three seasons, the SEC has the best record in bowl games among the five major conferences (17-11) while the Big Ten has the worst record (9-16).

Big Ten rises in conference rankings

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
2:05
PM ET
After a fairly uneventful weekend, ESPN Stats & Information’s Conference Power Rankings remained relatively unchanged, other than a slight gain by the Big Ten.

The SEC

The SEC continued to build upon its lead in the rankings after five of its top teams rose in the AP Poll. The SEC now has six teams ranked in the top 13 of the poll. No other conference has more than two teams in the top 13. 11 of the SEC’s 14 teams (79 percent) are also ranked in the top 50 of the FPI, the highest percentage of any conference.

The Big Ten

The Big Ten gained 3.9 points in the conference rankings after its top teams won on Saturday. Michigan State held Michigan to -48 rushing yards and confirmed that it has an elite defense. As a result, the Spartans rose six spots in the AP Poll and eight spots in the FPI. Michigan State’s emergence is important for the Big Ten because there is a perception that Ohio State is the only elite team in the conference.

The Big 12

The Big 12 fell 3.7 points in the rankings after Texas Tech lost its second straight game. The Red Raiders have fallen 15 spots in the AP Poll in the past two weeks, including 10 spots after their 18-point loss to Oklahoma State. There are now four teams in the Big 12 with no more than one loss in conference play. Each of those teams plays at least two games against the other three teams to end the season. That chaos at the top of the Big 12 will begin on Thursday night when Oklahoma travels to Baylor.

Next Week’s Slate of Games
Next week features seven different games that will shape conference races:

--SEC: LSU travels to Alabama on Saturday in a game that could eliminate LSU from the race for the SEC West.

--Pac-12: Oregon heads to Stanford on Thursday (9 pm ET, ESPN) in a game that will likely determine the winner of the Pac-12 North.

--Big 12: As mentioned above, Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Thursday in its first major test of the season.

--ACC: Miami (FL) will look to bounce back against Virginia Tech on Saturday in a game that could go a long way towards determining the winner of the ACC Coastal division.

--Big Ten: Nebraska heads to Michigan on Saturday in a must-win game for the Cornhuskers if they want to keep pace with Michigan State in the Big Ten Legends division.

--American: UCF hosts Houston on Saturday (7 pm ET, ESPN2)in a matchup of the only two undefeated teams in AAC play. If UCF wins, it will have beaten Louisville and Houston, the two 7-1 teams in the American Athletic Conference heading into this weekend.

--MAC: Ohio travels to Buffalo on Tuesday (8 pm ET, ESPN2) with first place up for grabs in the MAC East.

These games may not necessarily have a major impact on the conference rankings, but they will help determine the strength of the best teams in each conference.

For a refresher on the formula for the conference power rankings, click here

Pac-12 closes gap in latest Power Rankings

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
2:18
PM ET
After eight weeks, it should be no surprise that the SEC sits atop the ESPN Stats & Info conference power rankings.

The SEC has seven teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including three of the top six teams in the poll. The SEC leads all conferences with three undefeated teams and five teams with one or fewer losses.

The gap between second and third in the conference rankings is closing as the Pac-12 gained 3.2 points on Big 12 this week. With the Kansas State jumping over Oregon the BCS Standings, it raises the question -- Is the Big 12 or Pac-12 the stronger conference?

According to the conference rankings, the Big 12 remains ahead of the Pac-12, but the race is the closest that it’s been all year.

The Pac-12 has the advantage in the AP Poll with three teams ranked in the AP Top 10, which is one more than the Big 12. Both conferences have four teams ranked in the AP Top 25, but the Pac-12’s teams are ranked comparatively higher than the Big 12’s.

The Big 12 is favored by the computers with nine of its 10 teams ranked in the top 50 (out of 124) by the computers. In comparison, eight Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 50.

Additionally, the Big 12 has a better non-conference record than the Pac-12. The Big 12 is 26-3 in games outside of the conference, which is the best record of any conference in FBS. The Pac-12 is 24-10 in games outside of its conference, but has played a more challenging schedule.

Thirteen of the Pac-12’s 34 non-conference opponents have been from a BCS AQ or Independent conference. In comparison, just six of the Big 12’s 29 non-conference opponents have been in these conferences.

Losses by West Virginia, TCU, Baylor and Iowa State this past weekend hurt the Big 12. The Mountaineers are now 25th in the AP Poll after ranking in the top five two weeks ago. TCU, Baylor and Iowa State were all left out of the rankings after losing close games.

Wins by Oregon, USC, Stanford and Oregon State this past weekend helped the Pac-12 as the top of the conference demonstrated its ability. Those four teams won by a combined 98 points resulting in a significant rise in the rankings.

Elsewhere in the conference rankings, the Big East fell below the Big Ten after Cincinnati lost for the first time this season to Toledo (MAC).

The MAC now has four teams with one or fewer losses, including 7-0 Ohio, which is ranked 23rd in the AP Poll. The Big East, in the other hand, has just three teams with a winning record.

SEC boosts lead in Power Rankings

October, 15, 2012
10/15/12
12:36
PM ET
The SEC has a commanding five point lead over the Big 12 in the conference power rankings after seven weeks of football.

The SEC has seven teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including four teams ranked in the AP Top 10. No other conference has more than four teams ranked in the entire AP Top 25.

South Carolina’s loss to LSU did not significantly impact the conference rankings because LSU and Florida gained about as many points in the AP poll as South Carolina lost.

Additionally, Texas A&M’s 59-57 thriller over Louisiana Tech late Saturday night gave the conference its 31st non-conference victory in 38 attempts. Only the Big 12 (26-3) has a better record in games outside of its conference.

The Big 12 was hurt most by West Virginia’s loss to unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. West Virginia fell from fifth to seventeen in the AP Poll and no Big 12 teams were able to regain the points lost by the Mountaineers.

The Big East continues to rise in the conference rankings after victories by Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati to remain undefeated on Saturday.

Overall, the Big East has more undefeated teams than the Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC combined. The conference is tied with the SEC for the most undefeated teams in FBS, but the SEC has six more teams in its conference than the Big East.

Because the Big East has just eight teams, strong starts by three of its eight members have helped the conference jump over the Big Ten for fourth-place in the conference rankings.

If there is any doubt whether the Big East should be ranked ahead of the Big Ten and the ACC, just look at the AP Poll. The Big East has three teams ranked in the AP Top 25, and the Big Ten and ACC each have two ranked teams.

The top of the Big East will be tested next weekend as Rutgers and Cincinnati head on the road against Temple and Toledo, respectively. Additionally, Louisville will host a South Florida team that was picked to finish at the top the Big East in many preseason polls.

Other ranked matchups, particularly in the Big 12 and SEC, will add clarity to many conference races and the conference power rankings.

Pac-12, Conference USA rankings jump

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
7:06
PM ET
The Big Ten’s lead on the Big 12 has been cut in half and the ACC has moved securely ahead of the Mountain West in ESPN Stats and Information’s weekly college basketball rankings.
For a complete recap of how we rank the conferences, click here.

The computer portion of this week’s rankings is comprised entirely of the BPI, ESPN’s new College Basketball Power Index. The BPI team rating takes into account the game score, where the game was played, the pace of the game and whether any of the team’s top five players was missing. For a complete explanation on the College BPI, click here.

The two conferences that saw the biggest increase from the BPI are the Pac-12 and Conference USA. Neither conference has a team ranked in the Top 25 but their computer rankings increased over 15 points with our new process this week.

Wichita State
and Creighton each won on Saturday but the rest of the conference was just 2-5 in this past weekend’s BracketBusters. The Shockers are now ranked 19th in each of the Top 25 polls. However due to the improvement of the Pac-12 and Conference USA (largely because of the BPI) the Missouri Valley Conference dropped two spots from No. 8 to 10.

The Big 12 is now fewer than seven points behind the Big Ten for the top spot in the rankings. The Big 12’s computer ranking increased more than five points this week, and there are six Big 12 teams in the top 35 of the BPI, more than any other conference.

The ACC had a relatively stable week but was able to increase its lead over the Mountain West Conference for the five spot due to the MWC’s struggles. The Mountain West’s human bonus dropped in half from 11 percent to 5.5 percent, despite now having three teams ranked in the Top 25 polls.

UNLV and San Diego State were ranked in the top 15 in the human polls last week but after New Mexico beat each of them, they dropped roughly 10 spots. Though the Mountain West now has three teams ranked in each human poll, New Mexico is the highest ranked team at 18, which is why the conference’s human bonus has suffered.

Despite its win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday Murray State only improved a few spots in the human polls and the Ohio Valley Conference stayed in the No. 22 spot in the rankings.


Big Ten No. 1, Summit League makes leap

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
7:40
AM ET
The top 11 conferences in ESPN Stats and Info’s weekly power rankings remained the same this week, but it was the Summit League that made the biggest leap.

For a complete recap of how we rank the conferences, click here and here.

The Summit League continued its strong movement from last week and moved up four spots in this week’s rankings, largely due to two major wins on Sunday. South Dakota State, which sits on top of the Summit League at 10-4, dominated Washington 92-73.

Despite playing a depleted Xavier team, Oral Roberts scored another big win for the league when it defeated formerly eighth-ranked Musketeers 64-42 in Cincinnati. The Summit League has been a strong conference all season, amassing a .561 winning percentage against all other conferences, the 10th-best mark in Division I.

The Big Ten remained at the top of the conference rankings, although its lead over the Big 12 was nearly cut in half this week. The Big 12 will be hurt by Kansas’ loss to Davidson, but Baylor and Missouri remain undefeated. Kansas State also had a big win over another major conference team, Alabama, which will help the Big 12’s standing.

The SEC saw the biggest drop from the human polls this past week. Two teams fell out of the both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls (Alabama and Vanderbilt), leaving the conference with just three teams in each poll.

As you can see from the rankings below, the Atlantic Sun had the biggest fall this week, dropping four spots from 15 to 19.

After a weekend that altered the college football world, the latest BCS standings make it clear which conference currently reigns supreme.

The top three teams in the BCS standings are all in the SEC West–- LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas.

This is the first time in the history of the BCS that the top three spots are occupied by three teams from the same conference.

In fact only one other conference has ever even had three of the top five teams in the BCS standings: the Big 12 in 2001, 2007, and 2008

This came after Oklahoma State, Oregon, and Oklahoma all lost this weekend. It marked just the second time in the history of the BCS standings (which date back to the 1998 season), that three of the top 5 teams in the BCS all lost on the same weekend.

The only other occurrence came back in 2001, as noted in the chart on the right. That was the first Saturday following the initial release of the BCS standings that season.

There are no Big East teams in the BCS Standings for the second straight week. This also happened last season for the Big East when it went five straight weeks without a BCS-ranked team.

Only one other conference, the Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10), has had as many weeks without a ranked team. It hasn’t happened for them since 1999.

LSU is No. 1 in BCS for the sixth straight week, the longest such streak in school history

LSU and Alabama are currently on track for a rematch in the BCS National Championship Game. Since 1998 when the BCS first started there has not been a regular season rematch played out in the National Championship Game.

Arkansas reached its highest position in the BCS Standings. It is the seventh straight BCS standings where it has been been in the top 10, also the longest streak in school history.

At the back end of the standings, Notre Dame is 22nd, marking the first time since 2006 that the Fighting Irish are in the BCS Standings.

SPONSORED HEADLINES