Updated non-conference records among the BCS/power leagues, seven weeks into this nonsensical season:
Again, the ACC brings up the rear in these standings. On the plus side, the continuous improvement by the league each time I track these records is a positive sign. You gotta hand it to the SEC, a 30-4 record in this nutty year is good no matter how you slice it. But, as always, there's much more to the story...
Conf. Record Pct. SEC 30-4 .882 Big 10 28-7 .800 Big 12 36-11 .766 Pac 10 20-8 .714 Big East 26-11 .703 ACC 27-12 .692
ON THE ROAD
The ACC still has the second highest percentage of non-conference games in unfriendly environments...
*neutral site contests were counted as road games for both teams involved
Conf. Road Games*/OOC Games Pct. Big East 15/37 .405 ACC 14/39 .359 Big 12 15/47 .319 Pac 10 8/28 .286 Big 10 9/35 .257 SEC 6/34 .176
Well then, I think we can all see how the SEC gets that nice and tidy 30-4 record. The ACC and Big East were the bottom two in the overall standings, yet are the top two in percentage of non-conference road games, while the SEC and Big 10 were the top two in the overall standings, yet play the least amount of their non-conference games on the road. Discuss.
44% of the ACC's out-of-conference matchups so far have been against power-league competition, easily tops among the BCS conferences. See below:
And each conference's record against other power-league competition:
Conf. BCS Foes/OOC Games Pct. ACC 17/39 .436 Big 10 13/35 .371 Big East 13/37 .351 Pac 10 9/28 .321 SEC 9/34 .265 Big 12 11/47 .234
And yet, there is still even more to the story. The Big 10's 9-4 record looks impressive, but let's take a look at each conference's actual wins and losses vs. BCS foes to see how those records were compiled. Just for fun, count how many times you see "Notre Dame" and "Syracuse" among the Big 10's wins...
Conf. Record Pct. Big 10 9-4 .692 Pac 10 5-4 .556 SEC 5-4 .556 ACC 9-8 .529 Big 12 5-6 .455 Big East 6-8 .429
Big 10: Wins- Washington State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, @Washington, @Syracuse, @Notre Dame, Notre Dame; Losses- Missouri, Oregon, @Iowa State, Duke
Pac 10: Wins- @Syracuse, Tennessee, @Michigan, Colorado, @Nebraska; Losses- @Wisconsin, @Cincinnati, Ohio State, Notre Dame
SEC: Wins- Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, @North Carolina; Losses- @California, Missouri, USF, vs. Florida State
ACC: Wins- @Notre Dame, @Northwestern, @Colorado, Texas A&M, vs. Alabama, @Rutgers, Pittsburgh, @Notre Dame, UConn; Losses- UConn, Nebraska, @Oklahoma, @LSU, West Virginia, @USF, Louisville, South Carolina
Big 12: Wins- @Illinois, Miami, @Wake Forest, @Mississippi, Iowa; Losses- @Georgia, @Auburn, @Arizona State, USC, Florida State, @Miami
Big East: Wins- @Duke, Oregon State, @Auburn, @Maryland, North Carolina, @N.C. State ; Losses- Washington, @Iowa, @Michigan State, Illinois, @Kentucky, Maryland, @Virginia, @Virginia
After looking at the win/loss records and then the individual wins and losses listed above, I think it's beyond debate that the ACC has the most impressive resume in this category. 9-8 against BCS foes, 9 of the 17 games on the road, 6 of the 9 wins over teams with winning records, and 5 of the 8 losses to teams currently in the BCS Top 10. The SEC has the second best performance overall by my estimation. Strangely, after looking at the actual wins and losses, I'm least impressed by the Big 10, despite the 9-4 record.
THE 1-AA (OR "FCS" IF YOU WANT TO BE ALL TECHNICAL) FACTOR
The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...
The Big 10 (Michigan) and Big 12 (Iowa State) have suffered the indignity of a loss to the lowly 1-AAers. As for the rest...bravo to the Pac 10. That is all.
Conf. 1-AA Foes/OOC Games Pct. SEC 7/34 .206 Big 10 7/35 .200 ACC 7/39 .179 Big 12 8/47 .170 Big East 6/37 .162 Pac 10 2/28 .007
AND ALL THE REST
Each league's record against non-BCS/non-1AA foes...that is, the non-conference results against the bourgeois class of 1-A:
And folks, now we have your reason why college football pundits all around the fruited plain are messing their pants over how powerful the SEC is this year...they're beating the daylights out of the Sun Belt and Conference-USA. Yes...part of that comment is supremely sarcastic, but part of that is the God's-honest truth as well. The ACC has seen UCF win at NC State, East Carolina knock off UNC, and - most egregiously - Wyoming piledrive Virginia. Among the twelve SEC teams, not once have they dropped a game to an Arkansas State, Troy or Middle Tennessee. Even Vandy, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are holding serve. Every other conference has had a member or two stumble badly in one of these lower-end matchups, but not the SEC. That apparently means the world in terms of conference perception.
Conf. Record Pct. SEC 18-0 1.000 Big 10 13-2 .867 Big 12 24-4 .857 Big East 14-3 .824 Pac 10 13-4 .765 ACC 11-4 .733
FACTUALLY SUPPORTED SUBJECTIVE CONCLUSION
The secret to having a dominating out-of-conference performance? Never, ever, ever play non-conference road games; do make sure to play the highest percentage of 1-AA foes; and do not stumble even once in the supposed "patsy" non-league games. Seriously. In this crazy year, that earns you the top spot in my ranking of the BCS conferences to date:
2. Pac 10
4. Big 12
5. Big 10
6. Big East
The difference between all six leagues is relatively small, with 3 through 6 separated by just one or two non-conference games swinging the other way. The ACC is doing much better than the media horde and message board yahoos would have you believe, and as illustrated above, the SEC's dominance is largely - but certainly not completely - the result of kicking the crap out of the Middle Tennessees and Tulanes of the world.