We’re staring at just a few more weeks to the regular season, and things are starting to settle out in the rankings. We’ve seen the SEC, on the strength of its reputation keeping its teams in the polls longer than might be worthwhile, vault so far out of contention under the current metric of analysis that it might require some revisions to the formula in the offseason. The SEC West has carried the conference all year long, and while they justifiably remain the strongest division in college football it helps mask just how bad their Eastern compatriots have been this season.
The Pac-10 saw its top-ranked title hopeful survive a massive scare in Berkeley, with Chip Kelly’s brass-balls decision to go for two proving the difference in the battle against Tedford’s defensive-first Bears. The other of its top-ten teams likewise took a while to find its stride as Stanford needed fourth-quarter heroics from Andrew Luck to prevail at Arizona State. The third team in the triumvirate, Arizona, found itself on the losing end against the conference’s former hegemon. But beyond that it could be a sad year for the conference, as their normal crop of mid-level talents such as Cal and Oregon State stare at potential bowl absences.
The Big XII has solidified its mark as the third-best conference in the country, and while it’s been the South doing the heavy lifting for the conference in the past this year teams like Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas State have shifted the balance above the Oklahoma-Kansas border. But while the nouveau riche like Baylor and Iowa State have received nice publicity, it has come at a cost as last year’s national finalist Texas plummets to ignominy. Another spot in the title game is out of reach without apocalypse elsewhere.
The same goes for the Big Ten, which is looking at potentially having a three-way tie at the top of the conference but nobody in the title hunt. They’re a solid number four, well behind the Big XII and well ahead of the Mountain West. The difference with the latter, though, is that TCU still gives the non-AQ conference a horse in the national title race while the more venerated Big Ten awaits Nebraska’s transfer over to bolster its standing vis-a-vis the Big XII from which it is poaching them.
The story, though, is really about the non-AQs, as both the Mountain West and the WAC (thanks to Boise State and Nevada) look to crack the BCS party together a second straight year. The MWC, while lagging behind the big four BCS conferences, is well ahead of the ACC and light years beyond the Big East. Even the WAC is catching up; with Boise about to face both Fresno State and Nevada in consecutive weeks, the marquee matchups might just push them into top-six status as well. Things haven’t shifted this week, but the gaps have altered to a position where changes could be in order over the final three weekends of the regular season…
|NON-CONF BCS||v. AP TOP 25||FCS GAMES|
|RK||LW||TEAMS||TTL GP||W||L||PCT.||W||L||PCT.||W||L||PCT.||% v. BCS/25||QUOTIENT|
|Big XII North||6||61||5||2||0.714||6||11||0.353||4||1||0.800||39.3%||35.630|
|Big XII South||6||61||3||2||0.600||7||12||0.368||2||0||1.000||39.3%||31.368|