Comparing the ACC and Big Ten in football

It's that time of the year again! That time where I spend way too much time crunching numbers to see just where the Big Ten is compared to the rest of the BCS conferences. And this year, I'll use the ACC as a model to stack up against. It is always trendy to knock the ACC down as an inferior BCS conference, but let's go deeper shall we to see how both conferences compare.

Ok. Let's look at the college football rankings to start. I hate the BCS and AP poll, but it's a good jumping off point and will start to prove my point that the voters just don't really get it and haven't for about 5 years now.

ACC Rankings (BCS/AP) Record:

Georgia Tech (7/7) 10-1
Virginia Tech (15/16) 7-3
Miami (20/21) 7-3
Clemson (23/18) 7-3

Big Ten (BCS/AP) Record:

Ohio State (10/9) 9-2
Iowa (13/15) 9-2
Penn State (14/13) 9-2
Wisconsin (16/17) 8-2

Ok, so 4 ranked teams each. The Big Ten takes the edge, since their teams have a better average ranking in the polls. But the fact that there are 4 Big Ten teams with 2 losses seems a little odd, doesn't it? There isn't a lot of parity in the Big Ten, while the ACC usually gets absolutely blasted for "beating up on each other" (while this was a HUGE positive in the Big Ten for basketball last year, but I digress).

Well let's look at the Sagarin Rankings...This time I'll go through all the teams in each conference

Let's start with the conference itself:

ACC: #3 conference, Big Ten #6 conference. Interesting.

ACC Sagarin Ratings: Rating (Strength of Schedule) Top Wins:

Georgia Tech (10-1): 7 (12) 1-0 vs. Top Ten, 3-1 vs. Top 30
Virginia Tech (7-3): 9 (3) 0-2 vs. Top Ten, 3-3 vs. Top 30
Clemson (7-3): 13 (25) 0-2 vs. Top Ten, 2-2 vs. Top 30
Miami (7-3): 16 (8) 1-1 vs. Top Ten, 2-3 vs. Top 30
BC (7-3): 25 (37) 0-1 vs. Top Ten, 0-2 vs. Top 30
UNC (7-3): 28 (44) 1-1 vs. Top Ten, 2-1 vs. Top 30
Florida State (5-5): 32(4) 0-1 vs. Top Ten, 1-4 vs. Top 30
Wake Forest (4-7): 58 (10) 0-1 vs. Top Ten, 1-4 vs. Top 30
Virginia (3-7): 63 (9) 0-2 vs. Top Ten, 1-4 vs. Top 30
Duke (5-5): 72 (70) 0-2 vs. Top Ten, 0-3 vs. Top 30
NC State (4-7): 81 (81) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 1-2 vs. Top 30
Maryland (2-8): 102 (23) 0-1 vs. Top Ten, 1-2 vs. Top 30

Big Ten Sagarin Ratings: Rating (Strength of Schedule) Top Wins:
Ohio State (9-2): 11 (49) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 3-1 vs. Top 30
Iowa (9-2): 18 (33) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 3-1 vs. Top 30
Penn State (9-2): 21 (84) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-2 vs. Top 30
Wisconsin (8-2): 30 (54) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-2 vs. Top 30
Michigan State (6-5): 54 (47) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-2 vs. Top 30
Minnesota (6-5): 62 (28) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-4 vs. Top 30
Northwestern (7-4): 74 (103) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 1-1 vs. Top 30
Purdue (4-7): 78 (31) 0-1 vs. Top Ten, 1-2 vs. Top 30
Michigan (5-6): 82 (86) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-3 vs. Top 30
Indiana (4-7): 91 (59) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-4 vs. Top 30
Illinois (3-7): 96 (46) 0-0 vs. Top Ten, 0-2 vs. Top 30

Ok, so let's break this down a bit. The ACC as a conference has played 14 Top Ten teams and has 3 Top Ten wins (obviously teams play each other, and I get that). The Big Ten has no wins in the Top Ten. Not one team in the Top Ten (although Ohio State sits at 11 in Sagarin, so that number would be higher if they were in the Top Ten). The ACC has 13 Top 30 wins. The Big Ten has 8. 11 teams in the ACC have a Top 30 win. 4 teams in the Big Ten have one.

The ACC's average ranking is 42. The Big Ten's average ranking is 56. The ACC's average is 14 spots higher than the Big Ten.

Let's go with non-conference schedules next, ok?

ACC Schedules:


Boston College: Northeastern (2-8, Sagarin 177), Kent State (5-5, Sagarin 108), Notre Dame (6-4, Sagarin 36), Central Michigan (8-2, Sagarin 45), Combined Record (21-19), Average Sagarin (91.5)

Clemson: MTSU (7-3, Sagarin 84), TCU (10-0, Sagarin 3), Coastal Carolina (5-5, Sagarin 183), South Carolina (6-5, Sagarin 46), Combined Record (28-13), Average Sagarin (79)

Duke: Richmond (9-1, Sagarin 60), Army (4-6, Sagarin 140), Kansas (5-5, Sagarin 64), NC Central (3-7, Sagarin 233), Combined Record (21-19), Average Sagarin (124.25)

FSU: Jacksonville St. (7-3, Sagarin 114), BYU (8-2, Sagarin 31), USF (6-3, Sagarin 38), Florida (10-0, Sagarin 2), Combined Record (31-8), Average Sagarin (46.25)

Georgia Tech: Jacksonville St. (7-3, Sagarin 114), Miss. State (4-6, Sagarin 52), Vandy (2-9, Sagarin 111), Georgia (6-4, Sagarin 33) Combined Record (19-22), Average Sagarin (77.5)

Maryland: Cal (7-3, Sagarin 22), JMU (5-5, Sagarin 109), MTSU (7-3, Sagarin 84), Rutgers (7-2, Sagarin 34), Combined Record (26-13), Average Sagarin (62.25)

Miami: OK (6-4, Sagarin 23), Florida A&M (7-3, Sagarin 172), UCF (6-4, Sagarin, 68), USF (6-4, Sagarin 38), Combined Record (25-15), Average Sagarin (75.25)

UNC: Citadel (4-6, Sagarin 170), UConn (4-5, Sagarin 47), ECU (6-4, Sagarin 57), Georgia So. (4-6, Sagarin 166), Combined Record (18-21), Average Sagarin (110)

NCSU: South Carolina (6-5, Sagarin 46), Murray State (3-7, Sagarin 222), Gardner-Webb (5-5, Sagarin 184), Pitt (9-1, Sagarin 14), Combined Record (23-18), Average Sagarin (116.5)

Virginia: William & Mary (9-1, Sagarin 59), TCU (10-0, Sagarin 3), Southern Miss. (6-4, Sagarin 65), Indiana (4-7, Sagarin 91), Combined Record (29-11), Average Sagarin (54.5)

VT: Alabama (10-0, Sagarin 1), Marshall (5-5, Sagarin 76), Nebraska (7-3, Sagarin 26), ECU (6-4, Sagarin 57), Combined Record, (28-12), Average Sagarin (40)

WFU: Baylor (4-6, Sagarin 73), Stanford (7-3, Sagarin 15), Elon (8-2, Sagarin 103), Navy (8-3, Sagarin 40), Combined Record (27-14), Average Sagarin (57.75)

 

Big Ten Non-Conference Schedules:

Illinois: Missouri (6-4, Sagarin 50), Illinois State (5-5, Sagarin 151), Cincy (10-0, Sagarin 5), Fresno (6-4, Sagarin 51), Combined Record (27-13), Average Sagarin (64.25)

Iowa: Northern Iowa (7-3, Sagarin 87 ), Iowa State (6-5, Sagarin 71 ), Arizona (6-3, Sagarin 19 ), Arkansas State (2-7, Sagarin 128), Combined Record (21-18), Average Sagarin (76.25)

Indiana: Eastern Kentucky (5-5, Sagarin 178), Western Michigan (5-6, Sagarin 115), Akron (2-8, Sagarin 138), UVA (3-7, Sagarin 63), Combined Record (15-26), Average Sagarin (124)

Michigan: Western Michigan (5-6, Sagarin 115), Notre Dame (6-4, Sagarin 36), Eastern Michigan (0-10, Sagarin 180), Delaware State (3-6, Sagarin 205) Combined Record (14-26), Average Sagarin (134)

Michigan State: Montana State (7-3, Sagarin 118), Notre Dame (6-4, Sagarin 36), Central Michigan (8-2, Sagarin 45), Western Michigan (5-6, Sagarin 115), Combined Record (26-15), Average Sagarin (78.5)

Minnesota: Syracuse (3-7, Sagarin 95), Air Force (7-4,Sagarin 49), Cal (7-3, Sagarin 22), San Diego State (4-6, Sagarin 105), Combined Record) (21-20), Average Sagarin (67.75)

Northwestern: Towson (2-8, Sagarin 193), Eastern Michigan (0-10, Sagarin 180), Syracuse (3-7, Sagarin 95), Miami(OH) (1-10, Sagarin 141), Combined Record (6-35), Average Sagarin (152.25)

Ohio State: Navy (8-3, Sagarin 40), USC (7-3, Sagarin 12), Toledo (4-6, Sagarin 123), New Mexico State (3-7, Sagarin 155), Combined Record (22-19), Average Sagarin (82.5)

Penn State: Akron (2-8, Sagarin 138), Syracuse (3-7, Sagarin 95), Temple (8-2, Sagarin 61), Eastern Illinois (8-2, Sagarin 134), Combined Record (21-19), Sagarin (107),

Purdue: Toledo (4-6, Sagarin 123), Oregon (8-2, Sagarin 6), Northern Illinois (1-9, Sagarin 192), Notre Dame (6-4, Sagarin, 36) Combined Record (19-21), Average Sagarin (89.25)

Wisconsin: Northern Illinois (7-3, Sagarin 77), Fresno (6-4, Sagarin 51), Wofford (3-7, Sagarin 168), Western Michigan (5-6, Sagarin 115), Combined Record (21-20), Average Sagarin (102.75)

 

Non-Conference Opponents' Combined Record:

ACC: (296-185)

Big Ten:(213-232)

Non-Conference Opponents' Average Sagarin Rating:

ACC: (77.9)

Big Ten: (97.07)

So here we go. I know it's a lot to look at, but the end averages basically say it all. The Big Ten's OOC opponents have less wins and are 20 spots lower on average than the ACC's. The ACC plays tougher competition and because of this, there are fewer teams at say, 9 wins, than the Big Ten.

Some things that stood out were:

-Northwestern's Sagarin and opponent's wins. 6-35 and 152? Woof.

-Illinois, Maryland and Virginia's schedule. They played some tough teams this year. It doesn't help their win totals, but at least they have a little bit of an excuse to struggle (unlike Michigan...).

-FSU's schedule. They've been unlucky, sure, but it doesn't help their cause that they've played the 4th hardest schedule in the country. That's over 10 times harder than Ohio State's.

-Arkansas State, at 2 wins, has a higher Sagarin (128) than 8 win Eastern Illinois. Has nothing to do with this, but just funny.

The computer indicators (ELO CHESS) take this into consideration as well as other things and that is why top to bottom, ACC teams are ranked higher in the Sagarin than their Big Ten counterparts. Why are the Big Ten teams ranked so high in the polls if they play worse teams and the computers have them ranked lower? I'm fine with Ohio State being where they are and even Iowa and Penn State (although their non-conference schedule was embarrassing), but Wisconsin at 16? It's the "prestige" of the Big Ten.

If each team in the Big Ten played their equal in the ACC, I would be willing to bet that those top teams in the ACC would come out on top over the Big Ten. That's not to discount Iowa, PSU and Ohio State (sorry, again, I really just don't think Wisconsin is that good--just like I don't think UNC is that good either.) I just think that paired up--Georgia Tech vs. OSU, Virginia Tech vs. Penn State, Clemson vs. Iowa, etc...--the ACC would win more games.

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is always fun in basketball, and I would pay good money to see what that challenge would look like in football very year. It would show a lot about both conferences and would give both conferences a chance to prove what they are worth.

What do you think? Disagree/Agree, why?

 

 


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