Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Bilo's FBS Conference Power Rankings: 201
The SEC once again led all conferences in power rankings based on my PRS rankings, which are released weekly, starting after the first games are played in September. The saying that "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" holds very true when power ranking conferences. That was what allowed the SEC, despite having only one ten win or above team in Alabama, to lead the way. The bottom of the conference held up well, with Ole Miss being the worst team in the SEC, scoring in the -280 point range.
The PAC-12 finished second, despite not being able to fulfill their Las Vegas Bowl slot, again, because the bottom half held up better slightly than the Big 10, which was plagued by Purdue, Illinois, and Rutgers, with Rutgers finishing next to last nationally in total points this season in the PRS rankings.
The ACC finished 4th, as other than Clemson at the top, the rest of the conference was fairly average overall, with no other team in double digit win totals. Even Virginia Tech, a division winner, lost 4 times, including the ACC title game. That did not help.
The American Athletic Conference was bolstered by a strong top 5, including USF, Temple, Navy, Houston, and Tulsa, and Memphis also finished strong with 8 wins total. The top five in the AAC all finished above the 1000 point mark, a seriously impressive run for a non power 5 conference.
The Big 12 hung outside of the top 5 in conference power rankings, as they did all season long, making one wonder how the AAC is left out of the big boy club as they are. Oklahoma's rebound helped matters with their 9 game win streak to finish out the season, but after Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State, there was a huge drop off in point totals, which dropped the Big 12 down to 6th.
The G5 program who made the biggest stride outside of the AAC this season was the MAC. For the first time in my history of power ranking conferences, the MAC scored a positive average at the end of the season. This was on an incredibly strong run by Western Michigan having beaten two Big 10 teams early to eventually finish 13-0, and Toledo also had a strong run as well. Add Ohio, and a couple of other strong runs, and the MAC finally finished outside of the negative point bracket.
Of course, the Independents brought up the rear, and that can be attributed to Notre Dame's awful 4-8 run this season. BYU was the best of the bunch, and Army finishing 7-5 was a pleasant surprise, but the Irish and U Mass buried this group on the bottom. With the Independents finishing on the bottom, that was one plus for the Sun Belt, who for the first time, managed to get out of the cellar of FBS football by the end of a season.
Please check back again once the bowls are complete, as I will produce a post bowl analysis and power ranking to close out the season.