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Miscellany

College Football: Ranking Non-Conference Performances in 2012

We have completed three weeks of the college football season. There has been much talk about how the conferences have played against one another, or, more precisely, how much the Big Ten stinks (answer: a lot). We thought we would take a look at how the conferences against each other have performed thus far. We compiled the non-conference records of the AQ conferences. We used the Simple Rating System as a rough gauge of opponent strength and averaged them. The sample size is small. There are non-conference games yet to be played, but here is how things stand with the conferences today.

SEC [AQ: 4-4 (31.6), Non AQ: 13-2 (79.5), FCS: 6-0]

SEC. SEC. America’s best conference has, indeed, been the best team outside its own conference, though, aside from Alabama and LSU, they have hardly been imperious. SEC teams lost 4 of 5 against teams currently in the SRS Top 30, with the one exception being Missouri’s win over Arizona State. There are also the two Sun Belt losses to ULM and Western Kentucky.

Pac 12 [AQ: 6-3 (38), Non AQ: 11-5 (72.5), FCS: 7-1]

The Pac 12 has been the best team against AQ opponents. They beat Oklahoma State and Nebraska, both in the Top 35. One would not damn Washington (LSU) or Cal (Ohio State) for losing on the road as heavy underdogs to Top 15 SRS teams. The issue is the bottom of the conference, specifically Colorado. Losing by 55 to Fresno State (SRS 76) is their LEAST embarrassing loss. Only UMass is saving them from being the worst SRS team in FBS right now.

Big 12 [AQ: 3-1 (46.2), Non AQ: 10-1 (75.8), FCS: 9-0]

Big 12 teams have only lost twice, but have not really tested themselves yet. Only one team, Oklahoma State, has played a team in the SRS Top 45, Arizona. They lost by three touchdowns. The only other loss was Kansas losing by a point to Rice.

Big Ten [AQ: 4-8 (36.6), Non AQ: 16-2 (90.1), FCS: 6-0]

The B1G is out of the BCS title race in Mid-Sept, though it is not clear the B1G had a team that was ever in it. They faced probably the toughest top-end non-conference slate with seven Top 35 SRS opponents. They went 0-7. It’s not a broad systemic pattern, so much as it is school-specific. Penn State was gutted by the scandal and could not kick field goals. Notre Dame and UCLA have improved. Turnover in assistants and starters has hit Wisconsin far harder than most expected.

Big East: [AQ: 4-4 (59.8), Non AQ: 3-0 (105.3), FCS: 6-1]

Mediocrity is a victory for them. They have a 3-2 record against the ACC. Pitt beat Virginia Tech. Syracuse put up a fight in losses to Northwestern (SRS 21) and USC (SRS 8). The worrisome part is those two programs will leave for the ACC.

ACC [AQ: 4-7 (52.3), Non AQ: 2-0 (101), FCS: 13-0]

Clemson beat Auburn (SRS 68). That is the ACC’s best win. They have a 2-3 record against the Big East. Those wins were Maryland nearly blowing a huge lead to Temple and N.C. State edging UConn 10-7. Virginia needed a missed XP and 4/5 field goals missed to get past Penn State at home.

[Photo via Getty]

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