Comparing The Conferences In Football

Submitted by Enjoy Life on December 7th, 2009 at 12:25 PM
The conference records for every conference would have to be .500 (for every team that wins a conference game, there is a team that loses that same game). So, one way to compare the conferences is to look at Non-Conference records. Here is a table that shows the non-conference records for 2009 sorted in order of best record against other FBS teams.

I have shown the FCS records but did not include these in the %  because everyone beats up on the poor FCS folks.

All BCS conferences have a winning non-conference record and all non BCS conferences have a losing non-conference record -- except for the Mountain West which squeaks in at 50%.

The WAC, CUSA, MAC, and SunBelt have terrible non-conference records which probably explains why even their "good" teams (Boise State?) get no respect.

2009 Non-Conf Games

 

FBS

 

 

FCS

 

NON DIV 1

 

Conference

Teams

W

L

%

W

L

W

L

SEC

12

31

6

84%

11

0

 

 

Big East

8

22

8

73%

10

0

 

 

Big12

12

26

13

67%

8

0

1

0

Big10

11

22

11

67%

9

0

 

 

PAC10

10

17

9

65%

4

0

 

 

ACC

12

18

16

53%

11

2

1

0

MW

9

15

15

50%

6

0

 

 

WAC

9

11

19

37%

6

0

1

0

CUSA

12

10

29

26%

9

0

 

 

MAC

13

9

34

21%

7

2

 

 

SunBelt

9

5

27

16%

3

0

0

1

INDEPENDENT

3

16

15

52%

2

0

 

 

TOTALS

 

202

202

50%

86

4

3

0

Comments

DoubleMs

December 7th, 2009 at 12:38 PM ^

By this chart, Cincy should be in the NC game, not Texas.

I think the NC game this year is a media coup of the worst kind - far worse than when Utah got left out, because Cincy actually has had resume wins.

chitownblue2

December 7th, 2009 at 12:51 PM ^

As an intellectual exercise, lets do some comparisons:

Record of SEC Champion Alabama's OOC competition: 14-22 and 1 FCS team.
Record of MWC champion TCU's OOC competition: 18-19 and 1 FCS team

Record of SEC runner-up Florida's OOC competition: 18-18, 1 FCS
Record of MWV runner-up BYU's OOC competition: 20-28, no FCS

Record of SEC #3 LSU's OOC: 18-30
Record of MWC #3 Utah's OOC: 20-28

Record of SEC #4 Ole Miss OOC: 12-23, 1 FCS
Record of MWC #4 Air Force OOC: 19-16, 1 FCS

From this small sample, the SEC played teams with a combined record of 62-93, and 3 FCS teams

The MWC played teams with a combined record of 77-91, and 2 FCS teams.

The top of the MWC played a tougher OOC schedule than the top of the SEC - perhaps that skews your numbers?

Enjoy Life

December 7th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

Yes, individual teams within any conference will have more or less difficult OOC schedules.

However, since about 2/3 of all the games are In-Conference, the fact that the conference as a whole is weaker leads to a degradation of the overall record of the teams from the weaker conferences.

BTW, I don't think there is any "one" way to compare conferences. This is just one of several.

bronxblue

December 7th, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

Nice chart.

I would like to see the breakdowns of the OOC schedule for a given conference by team, since I would like to see about those Big East and Big 12 wins. For the life of me, I cannot think of one marque Big East or Big 12 non-conference win.

funkywolve

December 7th, 2009 at 1:24 PM ^

Cincy has the best non-conference victory of anyone from the Big East - they beat Oregon St in Corvallis. UConn and Pitt beat ND, South Florida beat Florida St, West Virginia beat East Carolina.

The big ten's non-conference slate isn't that great either. Iowa probably has the best non-conference victory - beating Ariona at home. After that, there's not much. OSU beating Navy? Michigan beating ND? Minnesota beating Air Force?

bronxblue

December 7th, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

I agree it was not a banner OOC for either conference this year. I always thought the Big 10 was down this year against other conference - USC/OSU was the big name, but Illinois being trounced by Mizzou and Purdue losing a heartbreaker to Oregon also jumped to mind. I just could not remember a big-time OOC win for Cincy and, outside of the Ok St. - Georgia, for the Big 12.

Engin77

December 7th, 2009 at 5:43 PM ^

was the second game of the season; Oregon struggled the first three weeks, then rose up and destroyed then #6 Cal in Eugene in their fourth game. Purdue only lost by two, but the Oregon you'll see in the Rose Bowl is playing at a different level.
Iowa's win at home over Arizona was also an impressive Big Ten win.

oakapple

December 7th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

It would be useful to break down those records to distinguish BCS-level opponents from Mid-Majors. According to the table, the Big East would be the second-toughest conference, but did the Big East rack up a lot of those victories against the MAC, C-USA, and the like?

Logan88

December 7th, 2009 at 3:05 PM ^

One major disadvantage in place for the non-BCS teams is that they have to play a greater number of their non-conference games on the road as opposed to BCS teams, thus contributing to their weaker non-con records.

jokewood

December 7th, 2009 at 6:21 PM ^

errr... "scalps" (no PC) each conference collects.

SEC
#9 11-2 Georgia Tech (ACC champ)
#11 9-3 Virginia Tech
#16 9-3 West Virginia
8-5 Clemson
9-3 MTSU
9-4 Ohio
6-6 Florida State
6-6 Texas A&M

ACC
#14 10-2 BYU
#17 9-3 Pitt
#21 8-4 Stanford
#22 9-4 Nebraska
11-2 CMU (MAC champ)
9-4 ECU (C-USA champ) (x2)
7-5 Oklahoma
7-5 UConn
7-5 USF

Pac 10
#8 10-2 Ohio State (Big Ten champ)
#23 9-3 Utah
11-2 CMU (MAC champ)
7-5 Tennessee
6-6 Notre Dame (x2)
6-6 Minnesota
7-5 Idaho
7-5 SMU

Big East
#18 8-4 Oregon State
9-4 ECU (C-USA champ)
9-4 Ohio
8-4 Fresno State
8-4 Northwestern
8-4 Navy
6-6 Notre Dame (x2)
6-6 Florida State
7-5 Southern Miss

Big Ten
#20 8-4 Arizona
8-4 Fresno State
8-4 Navy
9-3 Temple
6-6 Notre Dame
6-6 Iowa State
7-5 Air Force

Mountain West
8-5 Clemson
7-5 Oklahoma
8-4 Nevada
7-5 SMU

Big 12
7-5 Georgia
8-4 Nevada
7-5 Southern Miss
7-5 BGSU

jokewood

December 8th, 2009 at 2:41 AM ^

there is no "one way" to compare conferences. winning % is good, but overall quality of opponents and meaningful wins are also very important metrics. the Big East has a vastly superior bowl winning % to the Big Ten over the past 4 years, but that's not because the top of the Big East is vastly superior to the top of the Big Ten.

oakapple

December 7th, 2009 at 11:02 PM ^

I agree with the premise: signature wins over ranked teams are a critical stat. As I suspected, the Big East's high OOC winning percentage is padded with wins over mid-majors. Viewed in that light, the SEC's strength is clear. They not only had a high OOC winning percentage overall, but also snagged three wins against other BCS conferences.

quakk

December 8th, 2009 at 9:04 AM ^

I was looking at this last night trying to make some sense of the final BCS standings. Here's what I came up with:
http://quakk.co.cc/cfb/krach.results.htm

Coincidentally, Peter Wolfe's ranking, which is part of the BCS formula, applies these statistics to FBS and FCS together.

This includes conference games, not just non-conference. The rating likes the SEC the most, followed by the Pac 10, Big East, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Independents and MWC, C-USA, WAC, MAC and Sun Belt. Remember, this isn't counting games against FCS teams.

Enjoy Life

December 8th, 2009 at 11:33 AM ^

Are these the numbers ranking the conferences?:

SEC: 14
PAC10: 20
Big East: 31
ACC: 31
Big12: 53
Big10: 56
Ind: 76
MWC: 76
CUSA: 84
WAC: 86
MAC: 103
SunBelt: 107

If so, what do the relative values mean? Is the SEC 4 times better than the Big10? That seems unlikely.

Is there any way to see how close the conferences are using these values?

This is a basic problem I have with all of the algorithms. The resulting numbers seem to be meaningless except to get a ranking.

quakk

December 8th, 2009 at 3:52 PM ^

They're the average strength of schedule rank across all teams in the conference. For each team, SOS multiplied by W/L gives the rating. Wonder what it looks like when applied to conferences:
4.116 SEC
2.482 Pac 10
2.401 Big East
1.834 ACC
1.483 Big 12
1.365 Big 10
0.902 Independent
0.823 MWC
0.579 WAC
0.512 CUSA
0.296 MAC
0.234 Sun Belt

In general, this rating is a relative rating, i.e. you would expect the odds of winning for one team over another to be the ratio of their respective ratings. Maybe you could make the same argument for the 'average' conference team.

Out of curiosity, how would you rate any differently? What would you expect from the algorithms, and how is it different, if at all, in the polls?

Enjoy Life

December 8th, 2009 at 5:31 PM ^

So, that means the Big12 (1.483) and Big10 (1.365) are about equal?

But that the Big East (2.401) is 62% better than the Big12 and 76% better than the Big10?

In the OP, I used straight OOC (FBS Only) for ranking. To get a comparison you would just divide the %. For example, Big East (73%) versus Big10 (67%) would say the BigEast is 9% better than Big10.

Since there are a variety of SOS calcs, can you summarize how the Modified Terry-Bradley is calculated?

quakk

December 8th, 2009 at 9:58 PM ^

Rating divided by W/L... :^)

Here are a few links that explain it a bit better:
http://www.uscho.com/rankings/?data=krach

http://www.uscho.com/FAQs/?data=krach
- "Strength of schedule is a weighted average of your opponents' KRACH ratings."

http://www.mscs.dal.ca/~butler/krachexp.htm

http://slack.net/~whelan/tbrw/tbrw.cgi?2004/krach

--

The numbers do seem kinda counter-intuitive. I'm not sure my methodology is meaningful, it was just something I did.

After I wrote this, I thought, what if I calculate the rating by removing teams and just calculating the ratings based on non-conference record i.e. Boise St. vs. Oregon looks instead like WAC vs. Pac 10; Iowa vs. Arizona looks like Big 10 vs. Pac 10? But, alas, it was 5am and I went back to bed instead. I'll take a look at that today; not sure what it'll give me, but it'll be an interesting exercise.

brianshall

December 8th, 2009 at 7:27 PM ^

Conference rankings:

1. SEC
2. Big 12
3. Big East (!)
4. Big 10
5. Pac 10

Others

Y'all already know what I think's gonna happen to RR after 2010. But -- the evolution of football, tracing back to the brutal Miami teams of the 80s, has taken root in the South (and a bit in the Southwest) and that is where the skill, the talent, the athleticism, the dominance, will remain for at least a generation.

I do not believe RR/Michigan et al can establish a competitive beachhead of such skill and talent and style in the North/Midwest. But if it does, the Wolverines will be competitors for the next 20 years.