Monday, September 10, 2007

The Out of Conference Report

Updated out-of-conference records for the season, post-atomic devastation (a/k/a last weekend):
Big East14-2.880
Big 1018-4.820
Pac 1013-3.810
Big XII18-6.750
Before I get into a little bit of an explanation, let me start off by saying that the ACC's non-conference performance these past two weeks - aside from Georgia Tech - has been an utter disgrace. Miami losing to Oklahoma is understandable. 51-13 is not. Virginia Tech losing to LSU is nothing to be ashamed of. But 48-7 sure as hell is. UCF beating NC State is unacceptable. Virginia getting drummed by Wyoming is inexcusable. On top of that, the conference was unable to pull off possible upsets with Wake (Nebraska) and UNC (East Carolina). The first two weeks have been a perfect storm of awful play and bad luck.

To be fair to the ACC, it must be noted that six of the league's 16 non-conference games have been on the road. See the table below for full details:

ConferenceOOC Games/Road GamesPct.
Pac 1016/6.380
Big XII24/8.333
Big East16/4.250
Big 1022/4.180
That doesn't necessarily explain why the ACC has performed so poorly, but it does - in my opinion - clear up the reason for the huge gap between the other 5 power conferences and the ACC. The ACC has played more than double it's share of out of conference games on the road than either the Big 10 or SEC. Is the ACC still the worst of the power leagues? Yep. But not as much as the overall OOC record indicates.

The ACC is also tied for the second-highest percentage of it's non-conference competition coming against power conference (BCS) schools. See below:

ConferenceOOC Games/BCS FoesPct.
Big East16/5.313
Pac 1016/5.313
Big XII24/7.292
Big 1022/5.227
And each conference's record against other power-league competition:

Big East3-2.600
Big 103-2.600
Pac 103-2.600
Big XII4-3.571
This explains fairly well why the ACC has done so poorly in non-conference play so far...they're playing a decent percentage of tougher competition and just not doing well against it. Brilliant insight, I know. Also, of the 5 games against power-conference foes, the ACC was the road team in three of them (and one of the "home" games was Duke).

The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...

ConferenceOOC Games/1-AA FoesPct.
Big 1022/6.272
Big East16/4.250
ACC 16/3.188
Big XII22/3.125
Pac 1016/1.006
Bravo to the Pac 10, and utter shame and contempt should be heaped on the Big 10. The Big 10 thus far has played more 1-AA teams than BCS conference teams.

Some things to keep in mind that can't really be quantified in the above tables...

--the ACC has faced-off against the #2 and #3 teams in the country, on the road (and were mercilessly beaten), along with losing a close one to the #14 team in the other conference has come close to facing that scale of opposition yet
--the ACC has 4.5 new coaching staffs this fall...initial clunky outings have to be expected
--the ACC has Duke...that's an automatic four losses out of conference every year

The ACC still kinda sucks this year compared to other power leagues, but the gap is not as wide as many (including me) initially believed after this weekend's horror show. The Big 10 is probably the conference that the ACC could hang with the most, based on how horrid some that league's non-conference competition is. The ACC still has some major non-conference matchups this year, and unfortunately most of them seem like mismatches that do not tilt in our favor (Maryland vs. West Virginia/Rutgers, NC State vs. Louisville, Miami vs. Texas A&M, Florida State vs. Florida, Virginia vs. Anybody). An upset or two in these games could go a long, long way in restoring some much needed respect.


Fsujd said...

In Wake's defense, if you watched the game you have to believe they would have won with Skinner. QB play (interceptions) was a big reason Wake lost. Even without him they fought Nebraska toe to toe.

Marcus said...

I agree...and it's quite the tribute to Wake that we can say with a straight face that little ol' Wake could've/should've beaten the Huskers with Skinner.

Nonetheless, you play with what you have...and it was a home game for the Deacs, and it was still perfectly winnable in the 4th quarter.

ContactBuzz said...

Did you include GT over ND in your breakdown of ACC vs. BCS conference opponents? I know they're not officially a BCS conf team but they do get a seat at the BCS table for decision-making purposes.

Marcus said...

Buzz...I did include GT's win over ND, and that's the 1 win the ACC has over the other power (BCS) conference teams.

Beat UGA this year!