until Texas vs Kansas

Wednesday, October 19


The Pac 10 is down!

Tired of all the Big 12 bashing you hear these days? So are we. With Oklahoma down and Texas A&M flailing, the conference is decidedly weaker than in most years. But is it really as bad as everyone says? Not quite.

Let’s turn to
Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings for a glimpse of how the conferences stack up against one another. Sagarin ranks the conferences two ways: first, using a simple average (averaging the rank score of every team in the conference) and second, by way of “central mean.” (In a central mean ranking, more weight is given to the middle teams of each conference, with weight diminishing outward both ways to the best and worst teams in the conference. Thus, for a 12 team conference, the weighting goes like this, from worst team to best team: 1-2-3-4-5-6-6-5-4-3-2-1).

Using central mean, the conference standings are:

1) Big 10 (81.38)
2) ACC (78.21)
3) SEC (76.96)
4) Big 12 (76.37)
5) Pac 10 (76.18)
6) Big East (72.27)

Using simple average, the Big 12 moves up a spot:

1) Big 10 (80.52)
2) ACC (78.05)
3) Big 12 (77.31)
4) SEC (76.95)
5) Pac 10 (76.66)
6) Big East (72.26)

What should we draw from this data? For one thing, the Big East sucks. They have no business sending anyone to a BCS bowl. For another thing, the Big 12 may be down, but so is the SEC. And lastly, for all the hoo-ing and ha-ing you hear from Pac 10 aficionados, their conference ain’t that grand, either. No matter how you slice and dice the numbers. Add in that they don’t bother with a conference championship game (West Coast pansy-ness at its finest), and we get a much better perspective on all this.

People’s perception of the Big 12 may be down, but when you get down to it, it’s not the basement people think it is. It’s clearly, clearly not up to its usually high standards, but it’s neither the dump bin that the critics claim it is.

Yes, yes, this is just one set of data. But it’s still instructive. And it’s part of the reason why Texas is so comfortably in the #2 position in the
BCS standings. Big 12 nay-sayers be damned.

So.. what you're saying is... the Cardinal is a color that represents an ideal? Are you freaking kidding me?
We weren't kidding when we said this was not going to be debated further on this blog. Last post allowed. Period. Anyone wanting to get more into the concept of color can go here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/color/
I think trot was just trying to be, you know, funny. And he succeeded. You guys really need to lighten up sometimes :).

By the way, trot banged out an excellent post about Chris Simms, the Tampa Bay Bucs starter who will be the Tampa Bay backup again just as soon as Tim Rattay gets done reading his playbook. You can read the post here.


Those who know me (one of you, I think) know my strong feelings about Chris Simms. And those feelings are pretty much the opposite of anything that involves ‘love.’

I think the Central Mean method makes more sense, since it balances out the powerhouses from the bottomfeeders to show which conferences are best from top to bottom, as well as which conferences have the best "average" teams (teams that aren't really good or really bad). However, I don't agree with some of Sagarin's rankings (e.g. Texas Tech ranked #6, above LSU and Alabama, and while Miami is #12 and Notre Dame is #23?). But I think the argument really boils down to whether Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, USC, and the other few teams that are really good are good because their conferences suck or because they are actually good. This comes down to how many legitimate tests they will each face in their conferences. There are generally 3-5 echelons of teams in each conference:

Top: Teams that should be able to beat anyone in the country
Next: Teams that should be able to beat anyone outside of the Top 10
Average: Teams that should be able to beat anyone outside of the Top 20
Suck City: Well, it's pretty obvious


Top: USC
Next: ASU, UCLA, Oregon, Cal
Average teams: Oregon St, Washington St
Suck city: Washington, Arizona, Stanford

Big 12:

Top: Texas
Next: Texas Tech, Colorado
Average Teams: Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa St
Suck City: Kansas, Kansas St, Oklahoma St

So I can see how the Big 12 would be ranked higher, since there is more weight on the "Average" teams.

I would be interested to hear everyone else's (unbiased) thoughts on this subject. Also, I would be interested to see a calculation done that excludes the crappiest teams and only includes the top half of each conference. I think it is difficult to compare a team that has a few tough tests, a few average teams, and a few cupcakes on its schedule to a team that has a bunch of average teams and a few cupcakes.
I think it should be noted that the very same computer rankings say that USC's strength of schedule (16th) is much higher than Texas' (46th) So I guess it's no wonder that USC has been "struggling" while Texas has been kicking ass.
Because I am a huge nerd, I decided to calculate the ratings of the top 6 teams in each of the "Power Conferences" (other than the Big East, because that term clearly does not apply). This should show which of the conference leaders truly plays against the hardest competition. Of course, this doesn't mean that if the Pac-10 or Big 12 is worse than other conferences, that automatically USC and Texas are not as good as Penn State, Georgia, Alabama, or Virginia Tech. You can't base a team only by its competition!

By the normal Ratings that Sagarin has, here is the straight average:

Big 10 85.86
SEC 85.19
ACC 84.66
Pac 10 84.55
Big 12 83.91

Here is the straight average using the Elo-Chess method (which Sagarin uses for the BCS):

SEC 86.30
ACC 85.21
Pac 10 84.88
Big 12 84.58
Big 10 84.42

I also did the Central Mean methods, but I don't think it means as much in terms of ranking conferences, as it gives the highest weight to the 3rd and 4th best teams in the conference.

For the normal Rating:

Big 10 85.86
SEC 85.27
ACC 84.28
Pac 10 84.05
Big 12 82.72

For the Elo-Chess:

SEC 87.32
ACC 85.14
Pac 10 84.74
Big 10 84.15
Big 12 84.05

So what does this tell us? It tells us that not only am I a huge nerd, but I just wasted about 20 minutes at work. The difference between Elo-Chess and the normal Ratings is that margin of victory is not included in Elo-Chess. But for those of you have been arguing the strength of conference between the Big 12 and Pac 10, it appears that while the Big 12 may be better from top to bottom, the Pac 10 is better in its top half. Take that however you want.
Wow. That is what I was hoping for. Hmm...I say it and you do it. This sounds like a good arrangement to me. Go make me a sandwich.
Yes, finally i find a spot to talk trash, scream insults in the direction of the other side.....OU eat balls, USC? hahaha south central LA people, look it up. Its not something to proud about.
First off I have to state that it is great that many people are passionate of college football. But we also have to realize that the only reason that Texas is not part of the Pac-10 is because Stanford voted against them. Because of academics, Texas wanted to be a member of the Pac-10 first before any other conference. Personally I think it would have been awesome for the flagship university of Texas to be member of a conference where 2/5 of the members are in California. Oil money meets Silicon Valley money in the Pac-11. http://www.fanblogs.com/big12/005466.php

About a conference championship game let us not forget that the Big 10 (11) does not have a championship game and seems to do quite well. With the addition of the 12th game the Pac-10 will begin playing a complete 9 game conference schedule each year. I think that is much better since it requires each conference member to play the rest of the conference. http://www.fanblogs.com/pac10/005104.php
pac 10 and big 12 both suck this year. However, it will come down to pac 10 having 2 teams, usc and ucla in the top 10 at the end of the season. I don't think the same can be said about the big 12, they must admit, pac 10 will be slightly better when the season is over. Don't be ashamed, be honest. let the play speak for you on the field
We'll see how down the pac-10 is when it wins 5 bowl games...
You're clearly not a numbers guy.

What all of your stats point out is that the Big East shouldn't get an automatic bid, and after that most things are pretty even. The data you put forward proves the exact opposite of your intention (proving the Big12 better).

Using both methods the Pac-10 is closer to the top than the bottom, and more importantly SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10 are all within a very narrow margin. I.E. the difference between 3 and 5 is only 25% the difference between 5 and 6.
First of all Jeff Sagarin's ratings have never been anywhere near close to reality once the season ends...for any sport. No clue as to why anyone uses his numbers for anything other tan a good joke. As far as conferences, which conference has the most teams in the top 25 or top 10 at the end of every football season (here's a hint...it's the SEC) Sure the SEC may not have a serious national champion contender every year and sure other conferences may have high periods (the Nebraska/OU years for the Big 12 or USC now) but considering all the teams that matter (forget the bottom feeders), the SEC year-in and year-out out perfoms all the others and it is no different this year.
UT fans should be worried about the ACC, because they can catch up to u guys at #2, that's right u guys are #2. USC can just chill and coast to the finish line without worrying about getting leapfrogged, cuz as long as we keep winning, we'll stay #1 in the polls. Meanwhile, Texas will have Virginia Tech and possibly Miami or Florida State breathing down their necks. Mack Brown may have to beg and plead his case again like he did last year.
In regards to the conference championship game issue, the NCAA requires that a conference have 12 teams in order to hold a championship game in football. That's why the ACC expanded, and that's why the Pac-10 doesn't have one. So you see, it has nothing to do with "West Coast pansyness." The conference, coaches, and schools really have no choice in the matter other than in the much larger decision to add unworthy schools such as Fresno St. or Utah.
I think I understand what the numbers guy is saying. Here is what I think is an adequate analogy.

Say you have Lebron James (or some other NBA badass) playing in his choice of 1-on-1 tournaments.

1 tournament has 4 NBA benchwarmers (UCLA, Cal, ASU, and Oregon), 2 college players (Oregon St and Wash St), and 3 high school players (Washington, Stanford, and Arizona).

The other tournament has 2 NBA benchwarmers (Texas Tech and Colorado), 6 college players (OU, Baylor, Mizzou, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Iowa St), and 3 high school players (Oklahoma St, Kansas, and Kansas St). (The Big 12)

There is no doubt that he would be able to school any of these players, but if the question comes up as to in which conference he is less likely to go undefeated, it appears clear that it is the 1st one (Pac-10).
If you think the PAC-10 is such a inferior conference, then explain to me why they call if The Conference of Champions?
Could it be that the conference has more championships than any other one? I may also mention that it's not even a close race.
So, you may want to look back at your facts and fancy formulas to make you feel better and realize that the PAC-10 is the place to be if you want to run with the champions!
If you need to see it yourself...look here:

I tracks each school and puts the totals under the conference names.
So it is not a factor that the Big-12 has not been around that long. The championships stay with the schools and thus are added to the conferences they are currently in.
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
I have a **great** site/blog. It pretty much covers football reading related stuff.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)
penn state university
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