Conference Pride: Week 1

Submitted by SpikeFan2016 on September 5th, 2017 at 11:22 PM

Towards the end of last season, I started writing a (mostly) weekly diary relating to divisional races within the Power 5 conferences and the chances certain teams would end up in conference championship games (Example). I plan to repeat that process this season, but it's obviously not a useful exercise until we're about two thirds through the season.

In the meantime, I wanted to spend some time relating to interconference records instead of intraconference records. Ergo, behold the first installment of a weekly diary to extend through the non-conference season (and rebooted for bowl season), detailing how each of the conferences are fairing against external foes. It shall be called "Conference Pride" which is "partial satire" on those who would chant something such as, oh, I don't know, "SEC! SEC! SEC!" when their 7-5 team wins the Music City Bowl. 


Too Long, Didn't Read (TL;DR)

  • The ACC had a rough opening weekend, although it likely had the most difficult schedule from top to bottom of any of the major conferences. They avoided any egregious losses, but also didn't win any games they weren't expected to or any over teams that will be in the Top 25 come Week 2. Their 10-4 (2-4 P5) record was the second worst among the conferences and they gave up several opportunities for big wins (Georgia Tech, NC State).
  • The Big Ten was the only major conference to avoid any bad losses (in fact, its losses were impressive with bottom-dwellers Purdue and Rutgers threatening Top 15 opponents) and notched two high profile wins. On the other hand, it's raw record isn't as impressive as the PAC 12 or SEC. Week 2 will be a pivotal one for the B1G, with 7/14 teams playing Power 5 opponents. 
  • The Big 12 had an abysmal opening weekend despite having a fairly easy slate. They had the worst loss of any P5 school (Baylor) and didn't notch a single impressive victory. The conference seems poised to take further beatings in the next two weeks. 
  • The PAC 12 was actually perfect in Week 1 overall and even against the P5; its sole loss came in Week 0 from Oregon State to Colorado State from the Mountain West. Yet, the conference did not beat a single ranked team, many of its contenders struggled in too close for comfort wins against inferior opponents (USC, Washington, etc.), and they were the only conference besides the Big 12 to have a member lose to a Group of 5 school. Look for us to find out more about the PAC 12 in the coming weeks. 
  • The SEC posted a perfect 3-0 record against the ACC after losing their perch atop the college football world to the basketball-centric conference during the 2016 season. Yet, their two losses were both pretty brutal, for very different reasons, from big brand schools in each division (A&M and Florida). 

ACC

Non-Conference Record: 10-4 (0.714); 2-4 (0.333) vs. Power 5

  • vs. Big Ten: 1-0
  • vs. Big 12: 1-0
  • vs. PAC 12: 0-1
  • vs. SEC: 0-3
  • vs. Non-Power 5: 8-0

Marquee Wins (Week 1):

  • #21 Virginia Tech 31, #22 West Virginia 24 (Baltimore, MD)

    • The Hokies notched the conference's only ranked win in Week 1 by prevailing over their long-dormant rivals, the West Virginia Mountaineers of the Big 12. It was a promising way to begin season 2 of the Justin Fuente era in Blacksburg as VT looks to repeat as ACC Coastal Champions. 

Bad Losses (Week 1):

  • California 35, North Carolina 30 (Chapel Hill, NC)

    • Losing at home as a double digit favorite (line was -13.5 UNC) is a pretty brutal way to start the year for a basketball school that has suprisingly resided in the upper echelon of their football division for the past several years (Tar Heels came in 1st in the Coastal in 2015, 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2014). Especially considering the fact that this was against a brand new head coach kicking off a rebuilding season while 2,000 miles from home for a 9AM PT kickoff. 

Big Ten

Non-Conference Record: 10-2 (0.833); 2-2 (0.500) vs. Power 5

  • vs. ACC: 0-1 
  • vs. Big 12: 1-0
  • vs. PAC 12: 0-1
  • vs. SEC: 1-0
  • vs. Non-Power 5: 8-0

Marquee Wins (Week 1):

  • #11 Michigan 33, #17 Florida 17 (Arlington, TX)

    • We all know what happened in this one. Dominating win over the perennial SEC East Champion for the youngest team in football. 
  • Maryland 51, #23 Texas 41 (Austin, TX)

    • Yes, Texas was grotesquely overrated. Yet, for a Maryland program that hadn't defeated a ranked foe since 2010, this was a monster road win. In addition, it's a big national perception boost for the conference to have one of its perennial bottom-feeders take down college football's premier brand ($$$) in their own house (as an 18.5 point underdog, nonetheless). The jury's still out on DJ's Terps 2017 potential, but I have a feeling they'll make the Big Ten East interesting before too long. 

Bad Losses (Week 1):

  • None

    • The Big Ten's only losses were from its two worst teams over the past two seasons. Both were playing top 16 teams, both covered the spread by significant margins, both led at times and Purdue was extremely close to winning despite suffering #Columbus esque reffing. If anything, both losses were two of the most encouraging games from the conference this week. 

Big 12

Non-Conference Record: 7-3 (0.700); 0-2 vs. Power 5 (0.000)

  • vs. ACC: 0-1
  • vs. Big Ten: 0-1
  • vs. PAC 12: N/A
  • vs. SEC: N/A
  • vs. Non-Power 5: 7-1

Marquee Wins (Week 1):

  • None

Bad Losses (Week 1):

  • Maryland 51, #23 Texas 41 (Austin, TX)

    • Already discussed this one from the victors' angle; from the losers', it's unabashedly brutal. Particularly for a fanbase with such unrealstic expectations. Their new, exceedingly highly paid head coach, walked into DRK stadium as an annointed savior and left, less than four hours later, to trash being rained onto the field by fans. Yikes. 
  • Liberty 48, Baylor 45 (Waco, TX)

    • The Baylor Bears also welcomed a new head coach home with a mind-boggling defeat. Although the circumstances were dolorous to begin with after the widespread sexual assualt scandal, losing to an FCS team that went a measely 6-5 in 2016 is not going to make things any easier for this shamed program. 

PAC 12

Non-Conference Record: 12-1 (0.923); 3-0 vs. Power 5 (1.000)

  • vs. ACC: 1-0
  • vs. Big Ten: 1-0
  • vs. Big 12: N/A
  • vs. SEC: 1-0
  • vs. Non-Power 5: 9-1

Marquee Wins (Week 1):

  • UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44 (Pasadena, CA)

    • 34 point comeback against an SEC West team? Second biggest comeback of all time in college football and biggest in school history? Sounds marquee to me. 
  • California 35, North Carolina 30 (Chapel Hill, NC)

    • The type of win Tom Herman wishes he had. What a fantastic start for Justin Wilcox as he begins his headcoaching career. 

Bad Losses (Week 1):

  • Colorado State 58, Oregon State 27 (Fort Collins, CO)

    • Yes, Oregon State has consistently been the worst team in the PAC 12. Yes, Colorado State is consistently one of the more solid teams in the Group of 5. Still, a 31 point defeat for a Power 5 school at the hands of a Group of 5 school is pretty rough. Particularly for Gary Andersen, who nonsensically ditched the Badgers for the Beavers, as he enters Year 3 in Corvallis. 

SEC

Non-Conference Record: 12-2 (0.857); 4-2 vs. Power 5 (0.667)

  • vs. ACC: 3-0 
  • vs. Big Ten: 0-1
  • vs. Big 12: N/A
  • vs. PAC 12: 0-1
  • vs. Independents: 1-0
  • vs. Non-Power 5: 8-0 

Marquee Wins (Week 1):

  • #1 Alabama 24, #3 Florida State 7 (Atlanta, GA)

    • Despite this game being slightly closer than the score indicates, and Saban & Co. benefiting from a few "lucky" turnovers/dubious calls, Bama is still solidly #1 and The Tide rolls on. When will teams finally start refusing to play Alabama in neutral site season openers? 
  • #13 LSU 27, BYU 0 (New Orleans, LA)

    • Although a Tigers' win is not at all surprising and BYU looks to be nothing to write home about, LSU looked very balanced in all three phases of the game. Plus, a Power 5 shutout is always a nice resume boost. 

Bad Losses (Week 1):

  • UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44 (Pasadena, CA)

    • Sumlin decided to play out the script of a typical Aggie season within the confines of a single game (impressive start garnering national praise followed by a sudden, staggering plummet into despair). I'm surprised they didn't Lane Kiffin him on the tarmac of LAX. 
  • #11 Michigan 33, #17 Florida 17 (Arlington, TX)

    • It's not so much that Florida lost as much as it is their offense only scored 3 points. Without the two pick 6s, this would've been an absolute blowout and true Gator fans are well aware of that. Not a good sign for Year 3 with an offensively based coach. 

Week 1 Power Rankings

T-1st Big Ten, SEC

3rd PAC 12

4th ACC

5th Big 12

 

Comments

Ali G Bomaye

September 6th, 2017 at 8:51 AM ^

Awesome, except that this is a triumph for Baylor's former AD, Ian McCaw, who allowed the repeated incidents of sexual assault to happen on his watch at Baylor and who is now the AD at Liberty.