Stats & Info: Conference USA

Could top conference be out of title game?

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
12:42
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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).

Pac-12, Conference USA rankings jump

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
7:06
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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.


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