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The Big 12 vs B1G with Sagarin: What does it mean for Nebraska?

(This may count as two posts too many about aggregate Sangarin rankings, but I did promise a Big 12/Big Ten comparison, so here it is.)

Was the Big 12 a stronger conference than the Big Ten?

Yes it was.  In each of the past four seasons, and 9/13 years in the BCS era, the Big Twelve has ranked higher than the Big Ten.  How conference re-alignment will affect this remains to be seen.

Conference Rank (Sagarin by Central Mean)

Year

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Big 12

1

4

3

2

1

5

4

3

6

3

2

5

3

Big Ten

2

1

5

5

5

3

5

1

5

6

6

6

5

Will Nebraska face stronger or weaker foes in it's new league?

Contrary to the overall strength of conference, Nebraska's conference slate will be more difficult in its new league.  This is due the distribution of teams in each conference.  The Big Ten is relatively balanced.  The Big 12 was not.

A few notes on the graph below:

  • The "mean" (solid) lines represent the mean average of the Sagarin 6 year rolling average for each division using the same source data as my previous post.
  • The SD (dashed) lines represent the standard deviation (lower numbers indicate closer distribution or in this case, divisional parity).
  • Note the gulf between the Big 12 North (N) and the Big 12 South (S) means.  The Big 12 South was markedly stronger than its rivals to the North.  Conversely, the Big Ten is comparatively balanced.

Slide3-1_large

via i1206.photobucket.com

Here is a comparison of Nebraska's old and New Division foes using the Sagarin 6 year rolling average rank (which represents a programs sustained success (or lack there of) over time).  

Slide2-1_large

via i1206.photobucket.com

What does this mean for Nebraska if anything?

It means that Nebraska is walking into a more competitive division.  While they may deserve to be considered as favorites in their new division, their road has gotten harder (even more so when you consider the cross divisional opponents Nebraska faces this year:  Penn State (protected cross over), Ohio State, and Wisconsin). 

Whether or not Nebraska can be dominant in its new home remains speculative, but they can perhaps expect a tougher grind through the season regardless of projected outcomes.

 

Lastly, I'll leave you with a look at the Big 12 that was, for any who may be interested.  Here is the Sagarin 6 year rolling average graph.

Slide1-1_large

via i1206.photobucket.com

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