FanPost

The B1G Sucked as a Conference This Year …. Or Is This a Media Fallacy?

Often this year, we have bombarded with “The B1G is” down, terrible, irrelevant, etc. This is mainly due to a rough start of the year during non-conference play. But as we all know, those perceptions are based on the opponents at the beginning of the season compared to their previous resumes (2011 season, or historical powers). So let’s review the B1G, and the rest of FBS schools to see what actually occurred this season.

First, a few notes regarding this data. I have divided all the FBS teams into 5 tiers, Great (10+ wins), Good (8-9 wins), Mediocre (6-7 wins), Bad (4-5 wins), and Terrible (<4 wins). Then I searched how the Good and Great teams fared against each of those types of schools. This data includes championship game results (so the B1G actually gets a boost from Wisconsin’s win) and assumes Navy beats Army to finish at 8-4. Also, results against FCS schools were not tabulated in the results data, but the wins are included in the initial totals of 10-2, 9-3, etc.

Here is the list of schools that achieved Good/Great status:

ACC: Florida St (11-2), Clemson (10-2) and North Carolina (8-4) for a total of 3 of 12 schools, 25%.

Big 12: Kansas St (11-1), Oklahoma (10-2) and Texas (8-4) for a total of 3 of 10 schools, 30%.

Big East: Louisville (10-2), Cincinnati (9-3) and Rutgers (9-3) for a total of 3 of 8 schools, 37.5%

B1G: Ohio St (12-0), Nebraska (10-3), Northwestern (9-3), Michigan (8-4), Penn St (8-4) and Wisconsin (8-5) for a total of 6 of 12 schools, 50%.

Pac 12: Oregon (11-1), Stanford (11-2), Oregon St (9-3) and UCLA (9-4) for a total of 4 or 12 schools, 33.3%.

SEC: Alabama (12-1), Florida (11-1), Georgia (10-2), LSU (10-2), South Carolina (10-2), Texas A&M (10-2), Vanderbilt (8-4) and Mississippi St (8-4) for a total of 8 of 14 schools, 57.1%

(I have data for the non-BCS schools, but will leave that data out for a moment)

At first glance, the SEC definitely looks dominant, with the B1G sitting as a solid second (even if removing Wisconsin, the 41.7% is still second). But first glances can be deceiving. Also, with the Big12 and Pac 12 playing 9 conference games, they ended up with an extra 5/6 losses in the overall totals, and that extra loss probably prevented 1-3 schools each that finished 7-5 from reaching that eighth win. The Big 12 had 5 schools at 7-5, and the Pac 12 had 4. But I cannot guess what those extra games would have been, so I will proceed with the data I have.

Great (10+)

Good (8-9)

Mediocre (6-7)

Bad (4-5)

Terrible (<4)

ACC (3)

1-4

2-0

11-3

6-1

5-0

Big 12 (3)

1-4

2-0

16-4

3-0

4-0

Big East (3)

0-3

4-2

5-3

7-1

8-0

B1G (6)

3-10

14-7

14-1

10-1

11-0

Pac 12 (4)

3-6

8-1

14-2

3-0

10-1

SEC (8)

12-16

13-1

8-1

20-0

17-0

Notre Dame

2-0

2-0

6-0

1-0

1-0

Well, what do you know, the B1G actually finished tied at second with elite wins and the SEC has a huge lead here, but many of those games were intra-conference results, so they might be skewed. But also look at the results versus Bad/Terrible teams. The B1G went 21-1, but that is spread over 6 schools or 3.5 games per school. The SEC went a whopping 37-0, but this averages out to 4.6 games per school. That is one extra win per school at least. And this does not account for FCS games, where each the SEC had 15 games and the B1G only had 8, so that another extra 0.5 cupcake wins. Props to the Big12 for only having 7 games total against Bad/mediocre.

Well, let’s look at how these conferences did in Road/Neutral games, this will remove a bit of the intra-conference data and show how the Good/Great schools did on the road or if they loaded up on home games to fatten up the records. (Note: this includes the Texas/Oklahoma, Florida/Georgia and other rivalry games that are played at neutral locations)

Great (10+)

Good (8-9)

Mediocre (6-7)

Bad (4-5)

Terrible (<4)

ACC (3)

0-2

0-0

5-2

3-1

3-0

Big 12 (3)

0-2

1-0

10-1

0-0

2-0

Big East (3)

0-1

2-1

2-2

4-0

2-0

B1G (6)

2-7

3-6

9-0

4-1

1-0

Pac 12 (4)

1-2

3-0

6-2

0-0

6-1

SEC (8)

8-9

7-1

2-1

8-0

6-0

Notre Dame

1-0

1-0

2-0

0-0

1-0

Interestingly enough, the B1G had the second most Great wins and again the SEC looks to be way ahead, but again, most of those 17 games were intra-conference. The B1G was second to the SEC in games against elite competition (1.5 to 2.1), with no other conference above 1.0. But the SEC again fattened up on Bad/Terrible schools here as well with 1.75 games. The B1G fared poorly record wise vs Good/Great at 5-13, but their average of 3 games is miles ahead of any other non-SEC conference which means the schedule was more demanding. No doubt they still struggled, but actually played a tougher road slate.

Well, since this data, still includes intra-conference data, let’s look at just the non-conference slates of all of the conference’s elite.

Great (10+)

Good (8-9)

Mediocre (6-7)

Bad (4-5)

Terrible (<4)

ACC (3)

0-3

2-0

0-0

0-0

3-0

Big 12 (3)

0-1

0-0

2-0

3-0

1-0

Big East (3)

0-1

1-1

1-0

2-0

5-0

B1G (6)

1-2

4-3

2-0

2-1

6-0

Pac 12 (4)

2-1

3-0

3-0

1-0

0-0

SEC (8)

2-0

6-1

4-0

4-0

6-0

The SEC looks good here as well, as does the Pac 12, and the B1G looks respectable. The ACC not so much, and wow, the Big 12 did not challenge themselves at all in non-conference one bit with 1 measly game against Good/Great competition.

In conclusion, based on all of the above data, yes the SEC is on top, but their records are somewhat inflated. I’d most likely put the Pac 12 second overall based on their non-conference and Road/Neutral records. The B1G, while struggling with overall numbers, actually played the most difficult schedule overall and finishes a solid third. The Big 12 played hardly anyone of consequence and finishes fourth in my eyes. This leaves the ACC and Big East bringing up the rear, a good distance behind the Big 12. Also, props to the Irish, their schedule looked to be fairly treacherous with only 2 games against Bad/Mediocre schools. And with the B1G finishing a solid third, I don’t honestly believe they are down, nor up, but a solid conference, but good luck having the media support this.

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