Updated non-conference records among the six BCS leagues through the end of the regular season:
The ACC taking 3 of 4 from the SEC on Thanksgiving weekend tied them in overall non-conference record, one little game behind the Big XII.
Conf. Record Pct. Big XII 38-10 .792 ACC 37-11 .771 SEC 37-11 .771 Big Ten 32-12 .727 Big East 29-12 .707 Pac 10 14-17 .452
To delve a little deeper, below is the combined record of all 1-A/FBS opposition faced by each BCS league in non-conference play:
If this analysis ended right here, the ACC would clearly be the best conference in 2008, bar none. But there is more to the story...
Conf. Record Pct. Pac 10 206-144 .589 ACC 237-177 .572 Big Ten 202-186 .521 Big East 211-200 .513 Big XII 223-237 .485 SEC 222-248 .472
ON THE ROAD
Below illustrates the percentage of games each league has played away from home in non-conference action:
*non-conference neutral site games (i.e. Missouri-Illinois, Alabama-Clemson) are calculated as road games for both leagues.
Conf. Road Games/OOC Games Pct. Big East 17/41 41.5% Pac 10 11/31 35.5% SEC 14/48 29.2% ACC 13/48 27.2% Big XII 13/48 27.2% Big Ten 11/44 25.0%
The only thing that really stands out to me is that the Big East had a respectable showing in overall non-conference record while playing over 40% of those games on the road. If you want a quick predictor on how a league will fare in non-conference play, take a look at how many games they play on the road - the number of losses is usually right around that number. Conversely, the Pac 10 evidently got hammered at home quite a few times in out-of-conference action.
The following indicates the percentage of non-conference competition played against fellow BCS-league opponents:
*For this analysis, Notre Dame is included as a BCS/power-league team
Conf. BCS Foes/OOC Games Pct. ACC 23/48 47.9% Pac 10 14/31 45.2% Big East 16/41 39.0% Big XII 15/48 31.3% SEC 15/48 31.3% Big Ten 13/44 29.5%
And each conference's record against other power-league competition:
Furthermore, the following is the combined record of each league's BCS opposition:
Conf. Record Pct. ACC 15-8 .652 Big East 9-7 .563 Big XII 7-8 .467 Big Ten 6-7 .462 Pac 10 6-8 .429 SEC 6-9 .400
The numbers really say it all. What the ACC accomplished this year in this category is astounding, especially after the grisly opening weekend.
Conf. Record Pct. Pac 10 102-66 .607 ACC 174-117 .598 SEC 104-76 .578 Big East 110-82 .573 Big Ten 84-72 .538 Big XII 91-93 .495
OTHER 1-A/FBS COMPETITION
Each league's record against other 1-A/FBS foes...that is, the non-conference results against the poor schmoes from Conference USA, the MAC, the WAC, etc.:
And the combined record of the "other 1-A" opponents for each BCS league:
Conf. Record Pct. SEC 22-2 .917 Big XII 21-2 .913 Big Ten 17-5 .773 ACC 8-3 .727 Big East 13-5 .722 Pac 10 6-9 .400
It's hard to gauge how the ACC really fared given the comparatively small sample size, but "meh" is a word that comes to mind. And the SEC's continued scheduling of the 1-A dregs never ceases to amaze me.
Conf. Record Pct. Pac 10 104-78 .571 Big Ten 115-114 .502 ACC 65-70 .481 Big XII 132-144 .478 Big East 101-118 .461 SEC 118-172 .407
THE 1-AA/FCS FACTOR
The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...
And this is what keeps the ACC out of the top spot in "best conference" talk this season. Just under a third of all ACC out-of-conference games have been against the minor leaguers. Unacceptable. And the close calls (UNC-McNeese, Maryland-Delaware, Georgia Tech-Gardner Webb) further erode credibility. On the flipside, the Pac 10 would do well to not be so damn righteous.
Conf. 1-AA Foes/OOC Games Pct. ACC 14/48 29.2% Big Ten 9/44 20.5% Big XII 9/48 18.8% SEC 9/48 18.8% Big East 7/41 17.1% Pac 10 2/31 6.5%
POTENTIALLY FLAWED SUBJECTIVE CONCLUSION
All that said, this is how I'd rank the conferences in 2008:
1) Big XII
4) Big East
5) Big Ten
6) Pac 10
I think all the numbers above, plus a healthy dose of common sense, bear this ranking out. The Big XII and ACC shouldn't be throwing any parties just yet...bowl season has a way of really skewing these numbers and the ACC has ten bowl games in which to enhance or tarnish its reputation.