This will probably be my second-to-last pre-bowl conference report.
Overall rankings and a list of results from the last three weeks follow.
I’m only ranking those conferences (the independents are ranked as a conference) with three or more inter-conference games during the period.
Rankings for the period
Rank Conference Overall (vs. AQ)
1. SEC 5-0 (1-0)
The SEC gained slightly against the Big XII with Arkansas’s win over Texas A&M. It’s hard to tell where either stands in their respective conferences. Both are technically toward the bottom of their divisions, but two conference losses aren’t anything to be ashamed of. Arkansas could realistically finish in a tie for second in the SEC West (or even a very crowded tie for first), Texas A&M has a chance to actually win the Big XII South outright. My guess is this is a fairly even match-up, but we need more games to assess it properly. Either could finish in a tie for last as well. The rest of the games weren’t remarkable, although most probably wouldn’t have picked Mississippi St. to beat Houston early on in the season. I think LSU/McNeese St. was the only recent I-AA/FCS game, but that isn’t really considered anyway.
2. Independents 5-0 (2-0)
Pitt and Wake Forest aren’t great, but they’re both AQ programs that have had some success in recent years. SMU wasn’t necessarily an easy win by Navy either.
3. Mountain West 1-2 (1-1)
I’m not going to penalize them much for losses by the two bottom-feeders, even though New Mexico lost to another bottom-feeder, New Mexico St. of the WAC. Utah is undefeated, but Iowa St. was an important win to give them a little bit of big-conference legitimacy after a weak early schedule.
4. Big East 3-1 (0-1)
5. CUSA 1-5 (1-3)
I just thought there were too many losses to have the CUSA up higher, but East Carolina got a good win over an ACC team. They’ve been making a habit of that over the years. It would have been a meaningful upset had the CUSA won any of its other games. Navy isn’t classified as AQ because they don’t get Notre Dame’s special BCS treatment, but Navy is playing like an AQ team right now. The only other loss is by Tulane to Army, and Tulane shouldn’t have been expected to win that game.
6. ACC 3-2 (0-0)
The wins are nothing impressive, so I had to put them below the CUSA. Eastern Michigan (even if it was a win by Virginia), Middle Tennessee, and Central Michigan (this is not Brian Kelly’s Central Michigan either).
7. Sun Belt 0-3 (0-3)
Similar reasoning to above. Arkansas St. was the only one with a realistic chance and they played Indiana so close, it’s hard to hold that against them.
8. MAC 0-5 (0-4)
This is the other side of the coin from the CUSA. If anything, Vanderbilt and Virginia should be subtracted from the AQ category, although they did both play a pretty bad EMU team. Miami U. was a chance to win based on Cincinnati’s other performances (sans Oklahoma). This wasn’t nearly bad enough to drop them back below the Sun Belt overall, however.
Overall (vs. FBS/I-A)
2. Big XII
4. Big Ten
9. Big East
12. Sun Belt
The SEC still has a big week against the ACC coming up at the end of the year, so there is still a chance for the Big XII.
Results for the period
Virginia Tech beat Central Michigan
Wake Forest lost to Navy
Virginia beat Eastern Michigan
Georgia Tech beat Middle Tennessee
N.C. State lost to East Carolina
Oklahoma St. beat ULL
Texas A&M lost to Arkansas
Louisville beat Memphis
West Virginia beat UNLV
Pitt lost to Notre Dame
Cincinnati beat Miami U.
Indiana beat Arkansas St.
East Carolina beat N.C. State
Memphis lost to Louisville
Tulane lost to Army
Houston lost to Mississippi St.
UAB lost to Mississippi St.
SMU lost to Navy
Notre Dame beat Pitt
Notre Dame beat Western Michigan
Army beat Tulane
Navy beat Wake Forest
Navy beat SMU
Central Michigan lost to Virginia Tech
Miami U. lost to Cincinnati
Toledo lost to Boise St.
Eastern Michigan lost to Virginia
Eastern Michigan lost to Vanderbilt
UNLV lost to West Virginia
Utah beat Iowa St.
New Mexico lost to New Mexico St.
Vanderbilt beat Eastern Michigan
Arkansas beat Texas A&M
Mississippi St. beat Houston
Mississippi St. beat UAB
ULL lost to Oklahoma St.
Arkansas St. lost to Indiana
Middle Tennessee lost to Georgia Tech
Boise St. beat Toledo
New Mexico St. beat New Mexico