Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top to Bottom: A Conference Report

Well, since we started July with a report, let's end it with one too. For those of you who have slogged through my previous report, Non-Conference Schedules: Who Likes a Challenge?, this one should be a breath of fresh air. The task is very simple – figure out which conferences have been the most balanced from top to bottom during the BCS era.

As with the non-conf report, I started by trying to figure out which variables would work best for this analysis. In the end, I decided to go with just one measurement, but it’s one that most fans already are familiar with and use frequently in their arguments for conference superiority: How often do the teams at the bottom of the conference upset the teams at the top? You know the sayings: it’s USC and nine other average teams in the Pac 10; the Big 10 always comes down to Ohio State and Michigan; in the SEC meatgrinder, the bottom teams can beat the top teams any given week… So let’s put these to the test.

The basic premise is that the more often the team with fewer conference victories wins, which we’ll call a "Statistical Upset" (SU), the more balanced the conference.

As proof of the validity of this measurement, here’s two examples of conferences from last year that are at the extremes of balance. (The numbers represent the margin of victory (or loss if the number is negative) for the team listed in the far left column. Blue-shaded means the team with more conf victories won, red-shaded means the team with less conf victories pulled off the upset.)

WAC 2007
Conf Standings Hawaii Boise St Fresno St Nevada LA Tech San Jose St Utah St New Mex St Idaho
Hawaii (8-0) 12 7 2 1 7 15 37 28
Boise St (7-1) -12 13 2 14 35 52 58 44
Fresno St (6-2) -7 -13 8 11 30 11 7 13
Nevada (4-4) -2 -2 -8 39 -3 3 2 16
LA Tech (4-4) -1 -14 -11 -39 4 10 1 12
San Jose St (4-4) -7 -35 -30 3 -4 3 34 8
Utah St (2-6) -15 -52 -11 -3 -10 -3 18 5
New Mex St (1-7) -37 -58 -7 -3 -11 -34 -18 14
Idaho (0-8) -28 -44 -13 -16 -12 -8 -5 -14

In the WAC last year, the team with more conference victories won 100% of the games, creating as unbalanced of a conference as you’ll find. Sure there’s three teams in the middle at 4-4, but it’s obvious that Hawaii, then Boise State were the best of the bunch, while New Mexico State and Idaho were the worst. Basically there wasn’t a single statistical upset in the whole WAC last year - the teams with more conference victories always won, creating a solid pecking order. So you know if you're playing a team worse than you, you can be confident of a victory.

Big East 2007
Conf Standings W. Virginia UConn Cincy USF Rutgers L'ville Pitt Syracuse
W. Virginia (5-2) 45 5 -8 28 7 -4 41
UConn (5-2) -45 -24 7 19 4 20 23
Cincy (4-3) -5 24 5 5 -4 -7 21
USF (4-3) 8 -7 -5 -3 38 11 31
Rutgers (3-4) -28 -19 -5 3 -3 4 24
L'ville (3-4) -7 -4 4 -38 3 7 -3
Pitt (3-4) 4 -20 7 -11 -4 -7 3
Syracuse (1-6) -41 -23 -21 -31 -24 3 -3

Looking at the Big East, we see something different. Over 30% of the games between teams with different records ended in a statistical upset, making for very balanced conference. Only two conference wins separated 7 of the 8 teams, showing how very competitive they all were with each other. There's little confidence for the teams on top that just because they're playing a weaker opponent that they'll automatically come away with the win - just ask West Virginia.

A few notes on these numbers:

• Just as we only looked at non-conference games in the previous study, we’ll only be using conference games and records for this study. Non-conference games don’t have any statistical value in the discussion of how teams measure up against others in their conference. If you want info on non-conference games, just go to the other study.

• Games between teams with the same number of conference wins aren’t counted.

• “Top” and “Bottom” do not necessarily mean the exact top and bottom of the conferences. In a matchup of LSU (7 conf wins including SEC Championship) and Tennessee (6 conf wins) from 2007, LSU would be considered the “top” team and Tennessee would be considered the “bottom” team.

• Is this the only way to measure conference balance? No, probably not, though I'm confident it is a sound method. But why didn't I include other variables or measurements? Well, partly because I wanted to keep this report simple, but mainly because I didn't see any other major statistical correlations. 1) You can't compare conference records because every conference always ends up at .500, since one team wins and one loses in a conf game. 2) The range or number of conf wins doesn't consistently point towards balance, whether you're looking at how many wins it took to win the conf or how many wins separated the champ & bottom-dweller. 3) Points scored or the difference in margin of victory can't be used either, since that just falls into the annoying "it's just good offense/no, it's bad defense" carousel. But I'm willing to be open - if you know of a variable that you think is valid and worthy of inclusion, let me know and I'll check it out.

So here’s the overall standings by conference and year. (The conference average is in blue and can be used as a marker – the columns are sortable, as usual.) The tables below list the percentage of statistical upsets – the higher the percentage, the more upsets by teams on the bottom, the more balanced the conference.

% of Conf Games that were Statistical Upsets
Conf 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 All Years
SunBelt 11.8% 11.1% 11.8% 26.9% 23.8% 16.0% 12.5% 16.9%
Pac10 08.1% 18.9% 16.1% 10.8% 12.5% 22.2% 07.9% 10.8% 28.9% 30.0% 16.8%
MtnWest 25.0% 20.8% 07.7% 15.4% 20.8% 12.0% 21.9% 15.2% 11.8% 16.5%
ACC 06.3% 20.7% 05.9% 21.9% 11.8% 21.2% 13.2% 25.0% 18.6% 15.6% 16.2%
CUSA 09.1% 04.5% 16.7% 15.6% 20.0% 07.5% 18.2% 21.4% 21.3% 13.6% 15.6%
BigWest 23.1% 16.7% 0% 14.0%
All Confs 08.9% 15.6% 13.1% 15.2% 10.5% 12.7% 12.6% 15.6% 16.3% 17.8% 13.9%
MAC 11.1% 16.0% 18.6% 15.9% 07.1% 11.3% 07.5% 19.0% 13.6% 22.0% 13.8%
Big12 09.3% 09.5% 06.5% 10.9% 11.4% 15.6% 14.0% 20.0% 20.9% 19.5% 13.7%
Big10 08.1% 16.7% 21.6% 29.7% 07.3% 07.9% 12.5% 05.4% 05.1% 19.4% 13.3%
SEC 06.3% 12.8% 14.0% 18.6% 11.4% 04.7% 07.0% 09.3% 13.0% 20.9% 11.7%
BigEast 08.3% 07.7% 03.8% 0% 03.8% 11.5% 14.3% 08.3% 20.0% 30.4% 10.5%
WAC 08.3% 27.3% 12.5% 16.2% 05.7% 10.3% 13.9% 03.2% 05.9% 0% 09.7%

A mere 7% separates the top conference from the bottom, showing how relatively equal all the conference have been over the BCS era. The Sun Belt has the most parity, with its top teams getting upset 16.9% of the time, while the WAC has the least parity, its top teams getting upset only 9.7% of the time. Most of the BCS teams are towards the bottom of the rankings except for the Pac 10 (which is just behind the Sun Belt) at #2 and the ACC at #4.

Here’s each conference’s breakdown – I’ve gone into more detail and divided up the games by the number of wins separating the opponents. For instance, a game in the 8> column would be like Florida (8 conference wins) taking on Mississippi (0 conference wins). A game in the 1> column would be like the aforementioned LSU (7 conference wins) taking on Tennessee (6 in conference wins). But it could also be like Alabama (3 conference wins) taking on Vanderbilt (2 conference wins) – the distance between them is the same, so the size of the upset would be about the same.

ACC
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 4 0% 10 0% 16 0% 20 0% 24 04.2% 32 06.3%
1999 2 0% 5 0% 5 0% 14 0% 23 13.0% 29 20.7%
2000 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 9 0% 12 0% 20 0% 28 03.6% 34 05.9%
2001 1 0% 2 0% 3 0% 8 0% 15 0% 21 09.5% 32 21.9%
2002 1 0% 4 0% 7 0% 11 0% 18 0% 25 08.0% 34 11.8%
2003 1 0% 3 0% 6 0% 14 0% 23 21.7% 33 21.2%
2004 2 0% 4 0% 10 10.0% 16 18.8% 26 11.5% 38 13.2%
2005 1 0% 3 0% 4 0% 9 0% 18 11.1% 30 16.7% 44 25.0%
2006 2 0% 3 0% 8 0% 12 0% 20 05.0% 34 11.8% 43 18.6%
2007 1 0% 1 0% 3 0% 6 0% 12 0% 19 10.5% 33 15.2% 45 15.6%
Totals 2 0% 8 0% 28 0% 59 0% 101 01.0% 174 04.6% 267 11.6% 364 16.2%

The ACC has been all over the place - sometimes there's a lot of upsets (25% in 2005), sometimes there's almost none (5.9% in 2000). Overall their number is pretty high, and their average has increased since adding Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College.

Big 10
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 3 0% 4 0% 16 0% 21 0% 25 04.0% 34 05.9% 37 08.1%
1999 1 0% 3 0% 7 0% 11 0% 19 0% 29 10.3% 42 16.7%
2000 8 12.5% 11 18.2% 26 15.4% 37 21.6%
2001 2 0% 4 0% 11 09.1% 22 09.1% 37 29.7%
2002 4 0% 7 0% 9 0% 16 0% 25 0% 32 0% 41 07.3%
2003 1 0% 3 0% 10 0% 17 0% 21 0% 28 07.1% 38 07.9%
2004 3 0% 5 0% 10 0% 23 04.3% 33 15.2% 40 12.5%
2005 2 0% 3 0% 8 0% 12 0% 18 0% 30 03.3% 37 05.4%
2006 2 0% 6 0% 12 0% 20 0% 24 04.2% 33 03.0% 39 05.1%
2007 1 0% 3 0% 4 0% 8 0% 17 0% 23 04.3% 36 19.4%
Totals 14 0% 32 0% 73 0% 127 00.8% 194 03.1% 290 07.2% 384 13.3%

The Big 10 has only been the least balanced conference one year (2006), but they've been under 10% in five years, which doesn't help their numbers. 2001 was their most balanced year, with the underdog pulling the statistical upset 11 times.

Big 12
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 5 0% 5 0% 10 0% 16 0% 27 03.7% 36 08.3% 43 09.3%
1999 3 0% 6 0% 13 0% 22 04.5% 27 03.7% 37 08.1% 42 09.5%
2000 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 7 0% 11 0% 20 0% 30 0% 38 02.6% 46 06.5%
2001 3 0% 7 0% 11 0% 20 05.0% 28 07.1% 36 05.6% 46 10.9%
2002 1 0% 4 0% 9 0% 15 06.7% 23 04.3% 34 05.9% 44 11.4%
2003 1 0% 4 0% 7 0% 10 0% 17 0% 25 0% 36 05.6% 45 15.6%
2004 1 0% 3 0% 5 0% 8 0% 13 07.7% 20 05.0% 30 03.3% 43 14.0%
2005 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 7 14.3% 14 07.1% 23 04.3% 34 08.8% 45 20.0%
2006 1 0% 2 0% 6 0% 9 0% 17 11.8% 30 16.7% 43 20.9%
2007 2 0% 2 0% 8 0% 14 0% 27 07.4% 34 11.8% 41 19.5%
Totals 1 0% 5 0% 28 0% 49 0% 93 01.1% 160 03.1% 247 04.5% 345 07.5% 438 13.7%

The Big 12 has definitely gotten more balanced over the last ten years. They finished the 90's averaging under 10%, but now the top teams get upset an average of about 20% of the time. Solid.

Big East
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 4 0% 6 0% 14 07.1% 19 05.3% 24 08.3%
1999 1 0% 4 0% 8 0% 12 0% 17 11.8% 26 07.7%
2000 1 0% 3 0% 4 0% 8 0% 16 0% 20 0% 26 03.8%
2001 1 0% 3 0% 5 0% 9 0% 15 0% 22 0% 25 0%
2002 1 0% 2 0% 5 0% 9 0% 15 0% 20 0% 26 03.8%
2003 2 0% 3 0% 8 0% 13 0% 20 05.0% 26 11.5%
2004 8 12.5% 10 10.0% 14 14.3%
2005 1 0% 1 0% 4 0% 7 0% 12 0% 21 04.8% 24 08.3%
2006 2 0% 7 0% 13 0% 17 05.9% 25 20.0%
2007 2 0% 4 0% 13 15.4% 23 30.4%
Totals 4 0% 13 0% 31 0% 64 0% 122 01.6% 179 05.0% 239 10.5%

The Big East is second to last in balance, but the last two years they've surged, culminating in last year's sky-high 30.4%. The conference losses and additions didn't affect much in 2004 or 2005, but they're starting to now.

Big West
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 5 20.0% 13 23.1%
1999 1 100% 4 25.0% 10 10.0% 18 16.7%
2000 3 0% 6 0% 10 0% 12 0%
Totals 4 25.0% 11 09.1% 25 08.0% 43 14.0%

The Big West was pretty balanced, back before their last year. Meh.

CUSA
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 2 0% 5 0% 9 0% 14 0% 22 09.1%
1999 1 0% 3 0% 7 0% 14 07.1% 19 05.3% 22 04.5%
2000 1 0% 4 0% 10 10.0% 19 21.1% 30 16.7%
2001 1 0% 4 0% 9 0% 16 06.3% 23 08.7% 32 15.6%
2002 1 0% 5 0% 12 08.3% 21 23.8% 35 20.0%
2003 2 0% 3 0% 7 0% 15 0% 24 0% 31 0% 40 07.5%
2004 2 0% 6 0% 6 0% 13 07.7% 26 15.4% 33 18.2%
2005 4 0% 4 0% 9 0% 19 10.5% 32 18.8% 42 21.4%
2006 1 0% 2 0% 5 0% 12 08.3% 19 10.5% 32 12.5% 47 21.3%
2007 1 0% 2 0% 6 0% 12 0% 16 06.3% 31 06.5% 40 12.5% 44 13.6%
Totals 1 0% 5 0% 19 0% 45 0% 88 02.3% 167 06.6% 257 12.1% 347 15.6%

The CUSA is solid, the bottom team pulling the upset more than 15% of the time on average and in six of ten years.

MAC
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 3 0% 4 0% 12 0% 16 0% 27 11.1% 38 07.9% 45 11.1%
1999 1 0% 1 0% 2 0% 6 0% 13 0% 18 0% 31 0% 39 02.6% 50 16.0%
2000 1 0% 4 25.0% 12 08.3% 23 08.7% 32 09.4% 43 18.6%
2001 2 0% 3 0% 7 0% 14 0% 22 0% 33 06.1% 44 15.9%
2002 1 0% 2 0% 7 0% 14 07.1% 22 04.5% 33 03.0% 44 06.8% 56 07.1%
2003 2 0% 3 0% 5 0% 14 0% 22 0% 33 03.0% 42 02.4% 53 11.3%
2004 1 0% 5 0% 11 0% 15 0% 26 0% 30 0% 42 0% 53 07.5%
2005 2 0% 7 0% 10 0% 16 0% 27 11.1% 42 19.0%
2006 2 0% 4 0% 9 0% 18 11.1% 25 12.0% 37 13.5% 44 13.6%
2007 2 0% 3 0% 10 10.0% 16 12.5% 30 10.0% 41 22.0%
Totals 1 0% 6 0% 19 0% 45 0% 98 02.0% 168 03.0% 256 04.7% 364 06.6% 471 13.8%

The MAC is usually within a few percentage points of the average - not too many upsets, nor too few.

Mtn West
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1999 3 0% 7 14.3% 16 12.5% 24 25.0%
2000 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 10 0% 15 06.7% 24 20.8%
2001 1 0% 1 0% 3 0% 7 0% 12 08.3% 18 05.6% 26 07.7%
2002 1 0% 3 0% 8 25.0% 16 18.8% 26 15.4%
2003 2 0% 7 14.3% 13 23.1% 24 20.8%
2004 1 0% 2 0% 6 0% 9 11.1% 17 11.8% 25 12.0%
2005 1 0% 2 0% 3 0% 8 0% 15 06.7% 21 04.8% 32 21.9%
2006 2 0% 2 0% 6 0% 11 0% 17 0% 27 07.4% 33 15.2%
2007 1 0% 3 0% 5 0% 10 10.0% 18 05.6% 25 08.0% 34 11.8%
Totals 5 0% 10 0% 22 0% 54 01.9% 103 07.8% 168 10.1% 248 16.5%

The Mtn West is near the top of the rankings, thanks in part to four years in which the bottom team pulled the upset more than 20% of the time.

Pac 10
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 9 0% 13 0% 22 04.5% 28 07.1% 37 08.1%
1999 1 0% 4 0% 10 20.0% 18 11.1% 28 14.3% 37 18.9%
2000 8 0% 16 0% 18 0% 21 0% 31 16.1%
2001 1 0% 5 0% 10 0% 16 0% 22 04.5% 29 10.3% 37 10.8%
2002 3 0% 3 0% 7 0% 21 09.5% 26 07.7% 32 12.5%
2003 1 0% 4 0% 8 0% 18 11.1% 27 18.5% 36 22.2%
2004 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 8 0% 11 0% 20 05.0% 30 03.3% 38 07.9%
2005 2 0% 5 0% 8 0% 13 07.7% 22 04.5% 31 03.2% 37 10.8%
2006 2 0% 3 0% 6 0% 19 05.3% 27 18.5% 38 28.9%
2007 2 0% 9 11.1% 16 06.3% 28 17.9% 40 30.0%
Totals 2 0% 7 0% 25 0% 59 0% 109 03.7% 196 06.1% 275 10.2% 363 16.8%

The Pac 10 is the most balanced of the BCS confs and just below the SunBelt overall. They broke the 30% upset mark last year thanks to a slew of competitive games.

SEC
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 3 0% 4 0% 9 0% 17 0% 21 04.8% 33 03.0% 43 07.0% 48 06.3%
1999 2 0% 7 0% 11 0% 21 0% 27 07.4% 40 15.0% 47 12.8%
2000 1 0% 2 0% 2 0% 7 0% 13 07.7% 20 05.0% 32 12.5% 43 14.0%
2001 1 0% 3 0% 8 0% 14 0% 19 0% 27 11.1% 43 18.6%
2002 1 0% 1 0% 4 0% 13 0% 13 0% 26 03.8% 37 08.1% 44 11.4%
2003 1 0% 5 0% 14 0% 22 0% 27 0% 34 02.9% 43 04.7%
2004 1 0% 2 0% 7 0% 10 0% 13 0% 25 0% 33 03.0% 43 07.0%
2005 5 0% 12 0% 18 05.6% 22 04.5% 32 06.3% 43 09.3%
2006 1 0% 4 0% 9 0% 17 0% 24 04.2% 34 08.8% 46 13.0%
2007 1 0% 2 0% 4 0% 11 09.1% 20 15.0% 30 13.3% 43 20.9%
Totals 1 0% 6 0% 15 0% 48 0% 105 0% 163 02.5% 243 04.1% 342 08.8% 443 11.7%

2007 was the most balanced the SEC has been in the BCS era, but they've only been above 14% in two of the ten BCS years. Not what you were expecting, huh?

SunBelt
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
2001 2 0% 9 11.1% 12 08.3% 17 11.8%
2002 1 0% 5 0% 9 0% 11 0% 18 11.1%
2003 1 0% 2 0% 7 0% 7 0% 11 09.1% 17 11.8%
2004 3 0% 6 0% 7 0% 13 07.7% 26 26.9%
2005 6 16.7% 15 20.0% 21 23.8%
2006 2 0% 2 0% 6 0% 12 0% 19 05.3% 25 16.0%
2007 4 0% 4 0% 12 08.3% 20 10.0% 24 12.5%
Totals 3 0% 12 0% 30 0% 62 04.8% 101 08.9% 148 16.9%

The Sun Belt can take the title of most balanced, thanks to a few solid years and never being under 11%.

WAC
Year 9> SU% 8> SU% 7> SU% 6> SU% 5> SU% 4> SU% 3> SU% 2> SU% 1> SU%
1998 1 0% 5 0% 9 0% 14 0% 26 07.7% 32 06.3% 50 08.0% 60 08.3%
1999 6 0% 8 0% 17 11.8% 22 27.3%
2000 2 0% 9 0% 13 0% 19 0% 25 08.0% 32 12.5%
2001 1 0% 4 0% 7 0% 12 0% 19 0% 26 03.8% 37 16.2%
2002 2 0% 4 0% 7 0% 11 0% 19 0% 28 03.6% 35 05.7%
2003 1 0% 2 0% 5 0% 9 0% 15 0% 21 0% 30 03.3% 39 10.3%
2004 1 0% 1 0% 5 0% 8 0% 15 06.7% 26 07.7% 36 13.9%
2005 2 0% 4 0% 10 0% 17 0% 19 0% 27 0% 31 03.2%
2006 2 0% 5 0% 7 0% 13 0% 20 05.0% 27 03.7% 34 05.9%
2007 1 0% 3 0% 6 0% 8 0% 15 0% 21 0% 29 0% 33 0%
Totals 3 0% 18 0% 40 0% 76 0% 136 01.5% 193 02.1% 285 04.9% 359 09.7%

Finally, the WAC is at the bottom of the pack, its bottom teams upsetting its top teams less than 10% of the time in the BCS era.

So what can we conclude from all these numbers? First, it seems rather obvious (though here we're proving it conclusively) that the more conference victories you have, the better your chances are of beating a team with fewer victories. A team that had that had a deficit of more than 4 conf wins to their opponent has only won 3 conference games in the BCS era (once in the Big 12 and twice in the MAC).

Second, and more importantly, conferences are becoming more equal - yes, parity is there. In 1998, the top teams were only upset in 8.9% of their conference games, but that number has doubled to 17.8% last year, the highest it’s been in the BCS era. That jump of almost 10 percentage points might not seem like much, but it represents around 4-5 more upsets per conference per year, which is sizable.

3 comments:

John said...

The only statistical problem with your definition of a statistical upset is that the simple fact of a win by the "lower" team makes is less of an upset. For instance... Let's say 7-0 Wisconsin plays 0-7 Minnesota. If Minnesota knocks them off, it becomes a 6 point upset - even though they were separated by 7 at game time. More importantly, if the 3-4 team beats the 4-3 team, by your definition, it is not an upset at all. Overall I liked the analysis, though. Thanks.

Ed Gunther said...

Thanks for bringing up a good point, John. You can't really look at the stats while the season is going on, mainly because all of the games have to be played in order to calculate statistical upsets.

As another example, if Michigan State (1-2) plays Purdue (2-1) in October and loses, then it wouldn't be seen as an upset since Purdue had more conference wins at the time. But if Michigan State finishes the conference season at (5-3) and Purdue finishes at (3-5) or (4-4), the Boilermakers' win over the Spartans in October would be an upset since they ended up with fewer conference wins as a whole.

Same thing with the SEC championship game last year - it wasn't going to be a statistical upset no matter what, since both LSU & Tennessee came into the game with 6 conference wins.

Part of the reason I set up the analysis like that is so that snap judgments are taken out of play. There's something to be said for ranking the teams during each week of the season, but I feel that to get the most accurate view of a team's or conference's whole season, you have to wait until all the games have been played.

Anonymous said...

If we would have a true national championship, we would not have to spend our time with all the conference comparisons. "Conferencecentrism" might be fun for the statistical types and conference fans, but it really is not good for the college game and the athletes that play it. As it stands now, if you are a football player in a non-BCS conference you are second class. Of course the conferences that have the history, prestige and bowl contracts are going to be better because they keep getting more money to recruit with each year. When will people see that the lack of a systematic conference alignment that allows new programs to legitimately compete with the old guard schools. The fan loyalty and love for certain conferences just makes it difficult move forward with a new playoff format.