I know it’s not really the middle of the season yet, but the majority of inter-conference games have been played, and this will be the only conference report before the end of November.
Once again, the SEC doesn’t win the time period, but one first place and two second places is much better than any other conference.
The Pac-12 comes out first over Weeks 3 to 5 because it hasn’t lost an inter-conference game since Week 2.
Arkansas’ loss to Texas Tech was the only loss for the SEC, so that’s good enough for #2.
The Big Ten is third as it was the only other conference to finish with a winning record against the P5 (again, that’s Notre Dame or any member of the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12, or SEC) over the time period. The BIG also won 84% of its games against other FBS teams in that time.
The Big XII, the best conference of Week 2, achieved a .500 mark against the P5 and won 7 of 10 overall, good enough for fourth.
The records for the AAC and ACC were very similar so I made a list of wins and losses to compare. The ACC had slightly better wins, but that wasn’t decisive.
The losses were what convinced me the ACC deserves to be higher. Every team an ACC team lost to over the period has a winning record. The only ones that were sort of mediocre were East Carolina, Indiana (although the Hoosiers are 4-1 at the moment), and Cincinnati. The AAC lost to Furman, James Madison, Maryland, and South Carolina, among others.
So finally the P5 actually constitutes the top five conferences in this list.
The MAC was 2-9 against the P5 and 6-16 overall, but only one other lower conference even recorded a single win over the P5 (that was the MWC, who went only 1-12 against the P5). Only the CUSA had more wins over the five other conferences, but the CUSA went 0-9 against the P5.
I looked more into the MWC wins versus the CUSA ones, and the CUSA ones were a joke. It only beat one team with multiple wins, which was 2-3 Kent St. One of the Golden Flashes’ wins was over Delaware St. and the other was over Miami U., another of the teams the CUSA beat during the period.
The MWC didn’t have a great list either, but it did beat Virginia and it won the only contest between the MWC and CUSA when beat Colorado St. beat UTSA on the road.
Even though the CUSA beat hardly anyone, it still did better than the Sun Belt, which beat three teams with a total record of 4-11. Those three teams (San Diego St., Old Dominion, and Wyoming) have gone a combined 2-1 against the FCS.
For the overall records, the Pac-12, Big XII, and Big Ten were close. But I think looking at the teams they beat and lost to sorted it out pretty easily. The Pac-12 has no bad losses apart from Washington St.’s loss to Portland St. in Week 1. Hawaii (which beat Colorado) is the only other loss to a team not currently ranked. The wins aren’t astounding for either conference (Wake Forest, Kansas, Iowa St., and Oregon St. make up 4 of the Big Ten’s nine P5 victories), but the Pac-12 only has half as many losses as the Big Ten does and almost 2/3 the number of wins against FBS opponents.
The Big XII, on the other hand, comes out behind the Big Ten. Although it has the same P5 record as the Pac-12, the Big XII has five fewer wins over the FBS overall and has questionable losses such as Rutgers, UC-Berkeley, and South Dakota St. I know UC-Berkeley is currently ranked, but they haven’t really played a tough opponent yet, with the possible exception of Washington. Also, it’s not like the Bears beat Iowa St. or Kansas, they beat Texas. I know the Longhorns aren’t what they were five or six years ago, but they did make a bowl game last year.
The rest of the overall rankings proceed pretty logically from combining the Week 1 and 2 standings with those for the period since then. The AAC and ACC were extremely close going in, so the ACC winning the period gives it an edge overall. Those FCS losses made it somewhat easier.
Same thing with MWC and CUSA, but the MWC started off badly enough that this decision deserved a closer look. The MWC has actually done pretty well after Week 1. The wins are pretty similar (although I’d argue Washington and Virginia are better than Purdue and Vanderbilt), but I think you can tell more from the losses, since I’m comparing conferences with clearly losing records.
Thirteen of the MWC’s 19 P5 losses have come to the Pac-12 or SEC, and the other six were against the Big Ten. There are some teams in there that aren’t too good like Colorado, Oregon St., and Washington St., to be fair. Only five of the CUSA’s 18 P5 losses came against the SEC or Pac-12, and two of those were against Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
The new chart is below.
|3||Big Ten||Big Ten||Big Ten|
|4||Pac-12||Big XII||Big XII|
|10||Sun Belt||Sun Belt||Sun Belt|