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(If you read part 1, you will probably want to skip down to Benchmark by Year)

Also see:

Benchmark Conference Comparison Part 1 - SEC

Benchmark Conference Comparison Part 3 - PAC 10

Benchmark Conference Comparison Part 4 - ACC

Benchmark Conference Comparison Part 5 - Big 12

Benchmark Conference Comparison Part 6 - Big 10

Benchmark Conference Comparison Finale - Summary, Who's Best

Brief Overview

This is an apples to apples comparison between the major 6 conferences.  The conference places were equated between the major 6 conferences to account for the difference in format and number of members (2nd and 3rd in the Big 10 was equated to a 2nd place team in a division, etc.)

All of the inter-conference games were evaluated based on how the teams finished in their conference (approx. 670 games).  "Even" means both teams finished about the same in their conferences, "Higher" means the team from the conference in question finished higher than their opponent, "Lower" means the team finished lower than their opponent.

A Benchmark (expected) record was determined for the conference.  The benchmark wins is half the wins when the teams were equal plus the games when the teams were higher.  The benchmark loss is half the wins when the teams were equal plus the number of games when the team was lower.

The record of the results of the games was compared to the benchmark by subtracting the benchmark wins from the actual wins.  A high (positive) number means the conference did well, a low (negative) number means the conference did poorly.

When there was a large difference between the benchmark and actual record, the record was investigated to determine the best reason for the difference.

While it can't be considered a true benchmark without a further analysis of the difference in rankings, the conferences as a whole won an average of 68.7% when the higher team, 31.3% when lower.

Big East Benchmark By Year

Yearly Results

 

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

 

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

1

-3

5

-3

2

-4

8

-10

10

-8

-2

2006

3

-1

9

-1

2

-5

14

-7

12

-9

2

2005

1

-3

4

-3

0

-6

5

-12

9

-8

-4

2004

0

-1

5

-5

1

-5

6

-11

10.5

-6.5

-4.5

2003

2

-2

5

-5

0

-3

7

-10

12

-5

-5

2002

1

-4

6

-3

1

-3

8

-10

11.5

-6.5

-3.5

2007

1

-3

5

-3

2

-4

8

-10

10

-8

-2

2006

4

-4

14

-4

4

-9

22

-17

22

-17

0

2005

5

-7

18

-7

4

-15

27

-29

31

-25

-4

2004

5

-8

23

-12

5

-20

33

-40

41.5

-31.5

-8.5

2003

7

-10

28

-17

5

-23

40

-50

53.5

-36.5

-13.5

2002

8

-14

34

-20

6

-26

48

-60

65

-43

-17

 

36.4%

63.0%

18.8%

44.4%

60.2%

 

With half the conference membership changed from 2003 to 2005, a comparison of earlier records is not applicable.

The majority of the higher losses came before the conference shake up, the majority of the lower wins have come since the change in membership.  Even in 2007 where they finished 2 games below the benchmark, they were as close as a total of 5 points in 2 games to evening the benchmark, and within 6 points of exceeding the benchmark.

This is opposite of what is typically seen in other conferences when the top teams falter due to injuries, suspensions, etc.

Before the conference membership changed drastically, the Big East was improving its coaching and facilities - both necessary to attract the recruits to become competitive.

Since 2005 the Big East teams have steadily improved.  The improvement can be expected to continue following the pattern of improved recruiting since 2005.  From year to year, no team recruiting class has dropped more than 0.1 stars compared to the previous years, while the average for the conference has improved 0.45 stars since 2004.

The 2004 ultimatum to improve or face elimination from the BCS was premature - the Big East needed 1 more year to see a return on their investment.  With continued success in the BCS games, support for downgrading the Big East is not found in their game performance or record.

Benchmark By Team

average

even

higher

lower

total

benchmark

vs.

rank-team

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

1

Miami

3

-1

3

-1

0

-0

6

-2

6

-2

0

2

WVU

3

-3

6

-4

0

-2

9

-9

13

-5

-4

3

Louisville

1

-1

7

-1

0

-0

8

-2

9

-1

-1

4

Pittsburgh

0

-1

2

-4

1

-2

3

-7

6.5

-3.5

-4

4

VT

0

-0

3

-1

1

-1

4

-2

4

-2

0

4

Cinci

0

-0

0

-0

1

-3

1

-3

0

-4

1

4

BC

0

-0

4

-2

0

-0

4

-2

6

-0

-2

5

USF

0

-3

2

0

1

-2

3

-5

3.5

-4.5

-1

6

Rutgers

0

-1

4

-2

1

-2

5

-5

6.5

-3.5

-2

6

Conn

0

-0

2

-2

1

-3

3

-5

4

-4

-1

7

Syracuse

1

-3

1

-3

0

-7

2

-13

6

-9

-4

7

Temple

0

-1

0

0

0

-4

0

-5

0.5

-4.5

-1

Only a team's record while a member of the Big East is considered.

While Miami was the power house of the conference, VT and BC and of course Temple did not perform particularly well against the benchmark when they were in the Big East.

Otherwise, these numbers can be considered irrelevant in evaluating the current conference since they include the years prior to 2005.

A Look Inside the Big East - Average Ranking

5 of the current members have finished in the conference top 2 while 4 have finished in the bottom 2.  These totals do not change if you exclude the teams that left the conference.  The time frame of only 3 years for some teams is insufficient to determine if the Big East will have dynamic rankings or become relatively predictable, but it appears to be headed towards dynamic.

Sampling

The Big East averaged 13.8 games per team against the other major conferences, the most of the major 6 conferences and well above the average of 10.8 games for all conferences.  The average has increased the last 3 years to an average of 7 games per team (the equivalent of over 14 games per team if extrapolated to 6 years).  Even if you eliminate 1 game (they only play 7 conference games), they still have the highest average.  This is even more impressive when you consider they have a lower percentage of bowl tie-ins against the other major conferences.

When you look at the members of the major 6 conferences scheduling teams from the lower conferences, and note that in 2007 the lower conferences combined had only 1 win over the major 6 in bowl games, you have to tip your hat to the Big East for stepping up and scheduling the top conferences.

Big East vs. SEC

 

SEC total by year

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

0

-0

1

-1

1

-0

2

-1

2

-1

0

2006

0

-0

2

-0

0

-0

2

-0

2

0

0

2005

1

-0

1

-0

0

-0

2

-0

1.5

-0.5

0.5

2004

0

-0

1

-0

0

-0

1

-0

1

0

0

2003

0

-0

1

-1

0

-0

1

-1

2

0

-1

2002

0

-0

3

-0

0

-3

3

-3

3

-3

0

 

SEC cumulative to 2007

2007

0

-0

1

-1

1

-0

2

-1

2

-1

0

2006

0

-0

3

-1

1

-0

4

-1

4

-1

0

2005

1

-0

4

-1

1

-0

6

-1

5.5

-1.5

0.5

2004

1

-0

5

-1

1

-0

7

-1

6.5

-1.5

0.5

2003

1

-0

6

-2

1

-0

8

-2

8.5

-1.5

-0.5

2002

1

-0

9

-2

1

-3

11

-5

11.5

-4.5

-0.5

 

 

81.8%

25.0%

68.8%

71.9%

 

The SEC is the only conference the Big East has a positive cumulative benchmark against over the last 3 years, having met or exceeded the bench mark each year.

Approx. half the games have been relatively even (equal or 1 division spot different).  As a whole, the conferences have played even.

Big East vs. ACC

 

ACC total by year

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

0

-1

4

-2

0

-1

4

-4

6.5

-1.5

-2.5

2006

2

-0

4

-0

1

-3

7

-3

5

-5

2

2005

0

-2

2

-1

0

-4

2

-7

4

-5

-2

2004

0

-1

3

-3

0

-5

3

-9

6.5

-5.5

-3.5

2003

2

-2

1

-3

0

-0

3

-5

6

-2

-3

2002

1

-2

0

-1

1

-0

2

-3

2.5

-2.5

-0.5

 

ACC cumulative to 2007

2007

0

-1

4

-2

0

-1

4

-4

6.5

-1.5

-2.5

2006

2

-1

8

-2

1

-4

11

-7

11.5

-6.5

-0.5

2005

2

-3

10

-3

1

-8

13

-14

15.5

-11.5

-2.5

2004

2

-4

13

-6

1

-13

16

-23

22

-17

-6

2003

4

-6

14

-9

1

-13

19

-28

28

-19

-9

2002

5

-8

14

-10

2

-13

21

-31

30.5

-21.5

-9.5

 

38.5%

58.3%

13.3%

40.4%

58.7%

 

             

Nearly half of the Big East inter-conference games over the last 3 years have been played against the ACC.

The ACC is both the Big East's best and worse individual year performance against the benchmark over the last 3 years, and accounts for most of the Big East's performance below the benchmark in 2005 and 2007.

Unlike the SEC (see Part 1), the Big East was not able to reap an advantage against the poor performance of the ACC over the last 2 years (notably FSU and Miami).  This is a result of scheduling and not performance - with the exception of 2 even wins and 1 lower loss, the conference ranking favored the Big East or the Big East played teams that finished below FSU and Miami.

Both of the higher losses in 2007 can be traced to Connecticut upsetting USF, propelling Connecticut from 4th to second in the conference and leading to a negative benchmark for the year.  Without this shuffle in rankings, the conferences would be approx. equal against the benchmark in 2007.  The performance inside and outside the conference tend to indicate Connecticut was playing at a level closer to a 4th place team than a 2nd.  When you consider this, the Big East would still be playing the ACC about equal even if Miami and FSU hadn't faltered.

Big East vs. Big 12

 

Big 12 by year

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

1

-0

0

-0

0

-0

1

0

0.5

-0.5

0.5

2006

0

-1

2

-0

0

-0

2

-1

2.5

-0.5

-0.5

2005

0

-1

0

-0

0

-0

0

-1

0.5

-0.5

-0.5

2004

0

-0

0

-1

0

-0

0

-1

1

-0

-1

2003

0

-0

2

-0

0

-0

2

0

2

-0

0

2002

0

-0

1

-1

0

-0

1

-1

2

-0

-1

 

Big 12 cumulative to 2007

2007

1

-0

0

-0

0

-0

1

0

0.5

-0.5

0.5

2006

1

-1

2

-0

0

-0

3

-1

3

-1

0

2005

1

-2

2

-0

0

-0

3

-2

3.5

-1.5

-0.5

2004

1

-2

2

-1

0

-0

3

-3

4.5

-1.5

-1.5

2003

1

-2

4

-1

0

-0

5

-3

6.5

-1.5

-1.5

2002

1

-2

5

-2

0

-0

6

-4

8.5

-1.5

-2.5

 

33.3%

71.4%

 

60.0%

85.0%

 

                

In 3 years the conferences have played 5 times and are about even against the benchmark. 

Big East vs. PAC 10

 

PAC10 by year

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

0

-2

0

-0

1

-0

1

-2

1

-2

0

2006

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

2005

0

-0

1

-1

0

-0

1

-1

2

-0

-1

2004

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

-0

0

2003

0

-0

0

-0

0

-1

0

-1

0

-1

0

2002

0

-1

2

-0

0

-0

2

-1

2.5

-0.5

-0.5

 

PAC10 cumulative to 2007

2007

0

-2

0

-0

1

-0

1

-2

1

-2

0

2006

0

-2

0

0

1

-0

1

-2

1

-2

0

2005

0

-2

1

-1

1

-0

2

-3

3

-2

-1

2004

0

-2

1

-1

1

-0

2

-3

3

-2

-1

2003

0

-2

1

-1

1

-1

2

-4

3

-3

-1

2002

0

-3

3

-1

1

-1

4

-5

5.5

-3.5

-1.5

 

0.0%

75.0%

50.0%

44.4%

61.1%

 

Again 5 games in 3 years - not much to say given the low sampling except that they are playing each other about even.

Big East vs. Big Ten

 

Big 10 by year

Even

Higher

Lower

Total

Benchmark

vs.

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

W

L

BM

2007

0

-0

0

-0

0

-3

0

-3

0

-3

0

2006

1

-0

1

-1

1

-2

3

-3

2.5

-3.5

0.5

2005

0

-0

0

-1

0

-2

0

-3

1

-2

-1

2004

0

-0

1

-1

1

-0

2

-1

2

-1

0

2003

0

-0

1

-1

0

-2

1

-3

2

-2

-1

2002

0

-1

0

-1

0

-0

0

-2

1.5

-0.5

-1.5

 

Big 10 accumulative from 2007

2007

0

-0

0

-0

0

-3

0

-3

0

-3

0

2006

1

-0

1

-1

1

-5

3

-6

2.5

-6.5

0.5

2005

1

-0

1

-2

1

-7

3

-9

3.5

-8.5

-0.5

2004

1

-0

2

-3

2

-7

5

-10

5.5

-9.5

-0.5

2003

1

-0

3

-4

2

-9

6

-13

7.5

-11.5

-1.5

2002

1

-1

3

-5

2

-9

6

-15

9

-12

-3

 

50.0%

37.5%

18.2%

28.6%

42.9%

 

The Big Ten has the 2nd highest number of inter conference games for the Big East over the last 3 years.

In 2007 the conferences met 3 times.  All meetings involved the Big East lowest 2 teams - Syracuse, and Pittsburgh in their disappointing year.

In 2006 there was 6 meetings.  There was a higher loss and lower win in games that should have been ranking mismatches.

In 2005 there was a higher loss in a game that should have been a mismatch.  In the other 2 meetings, the teams weren't evenly matched.

The large difference in ranking in most games have kept the conferences playing approx. even against the benchmark over the last 3 years.  Given the dynamics of the conference, scheduling even match ups against the Big East is a hit and miss proposition.

 

Discrepency with Common Opinion

While not as notable here as in Part 1 - SEC, the results of this apples to apples comparison frequently differs from common opinion.  Below are the primary reason.

1. They are Sports Writers and Sportscasters, NOT Sports Journalists Their job isn't to research and investigate.  If they are in a newspaper, their job is to write columns to attract readers to the newspaper.  If they are on a radio TV commentary show, their job is to build an audience, not perform in depth analysis.  If they are part of a network that broadcasts games, their job is to promote the teams their network shows.

They aren't likely to tell you that since the membership was shaken up, the Big East is about .500 against the other major conferences and even against the benchmark - they are going to tell you the Big East is an inferior conference to yours because that is what you want to hear.

ESPN isn't going to tell you that over the last 6 years, 7 of the 12 teams in the SEC have a loosing record against the other major conferences any more than they are going to tell you Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt are a combined 4-14 against the other conferences.  They have spent a lot of money buying the rights to televise the games and are going to tell you the SEC is a tough conference, top to bottom.

Even if they don't have a particular interest, they aren't going to do an in depth study (ie-work), instead trying to land a high profile interview.  Think about it next time you read a newspaper sports article - does it really read like something someone spent an 8 hour work day drafting?

2. Lack of Knowledge There are 65 teams in the major 6 conferences spread out across the country plus all the lesser conferences.  In the vacuum of reliable information from the media, there is no way you will get the details without some investigation on your own.

You may know the Big 10 went 2-6 in the bowls in 2007, but you won't know these included lop sided match ups such as the 10th place team against the MAC West Champion, the 9th place team (helped along by the easiest schedule in the Big 10) against a team which tied for 3rd in their division in the Big 12, or the 8th place team against the 2nd place team from the ACC.

3. Lack of Games Even with the bowls, the teams from the major 6 conferences average about 1.6 games per year against the other major conferences (and many of those are bowl games).  You simply don't see enough games to make a good comparison.

4. History Bias You've spent years forming an opinion of the different teams and conferences.  When the tide shifts you will likely be behind the times.  Just look at the above - how many people were aware the Big East had done so well the last 3 years?

5. Conference Bias You will naturally have a higher opinion of the teams from your conference and the conferences you frequently play than you will of teams and conferences you rarely see.  We are all inherently homers.

6.  Your Judgement is Based on a Few Games Even if you know the SEC has spent most of the last 6 years with a .500 or less record against the Big 10, you probably didn't know that most of that record was compiled by Big 10 teams against teams that finished higher in the SEC.  Instead, your judgement is based on a couple of National Championship games.

All I can add is, welcome back to reality.

 

In part 3 we will look at the PAC 10

 

Friendly Reminder

This is a Prove It blog, not a bastion of free speech.  As a courtesy to my 6 readers, leave an idiot comment and I will zap it or trash you with facts as the mood hits - either way, at best you're wasting your time, at worse you are stepping on an uneven field.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Calculations and Games

Details of the calculation of conference ranking are at the bottom of Part 1

Below are the Big East games over the last 6 years.

If you find a mistake, please let me know.  (with approx. 380 conference teams-years ranks and 670 games I suspect I made at least 1 mistake)

 

 

2007

 

 

 

 

conf

rank

team

 

rank

team

conf

6.8

5

Rutgers

lost

5

MD

ACC

2.8

2.1

Conn

beat

6

Duke

ACC

1.8

1.1

WVU

beat

5

MD

ACC

4.8

3

USF

beat

5

NC

ACC

5.8

4

Louisville

beat

6

NCState

ACC

2.8

1

Conn

lost

2

Virginia

ACC

2.8

2.1

Conn

lost

3

WF

ACC

7.8

6

Pittsburgh

lost

2

Virginia

ACC

1.8

1.1

WVU

beat

1.1

Ok

B12

8.8

10

Syracuse

lost

10

Washington

PAC

4.8

5

USF

lost

5

Oregon

PAC

3.8

4

Cinci

beat

3

OrSt

PAC

5.8

4

Louisville

lost

5

Ky

SEC

1.8

1.1

WVU

beat

4

Miss St

SEC

4.8

3

USF

beat

2

Auburn

SEC

8.8

11.1

Syracuse

lost

3.1

Illinois

TEN

8.8

11.1

Syracuse

lost

6.1

Iowa

TEN

7.8

10.1

Pittsburgh

lost

8.1

MSU

TEN

 

 

2006

 

 

 

 

2.8

2.1

WVU

beat

2.1

GT

ACC

1.8

1.1

Louisville

beat

1.1

WF

ACC

2.8

2.1

WVU

beat

3

MD

ACC

1.8

1.1

Louisville

beat

4

Miami

ACC

3.8

2

Rutgers

beat

5

NC

ACC

5.8

4

USF

beat

5

NC

ACC

6.8

5

Pittsburgh

beat

3

Virginia

ACC

4.8

3

Cinci

lost

2

VT

ACC

8.8

6

Conn

lost

1.1

WF

ACC

7.8

6

Syracuse

lost

1.1

WF

ACC

5.8

4

USF

lost

4

Kansas

B12

1.8

1.1

Louisville

beat

3

KSU

B12

3.8

2

Rutgers

beat

3

KSU

B12

1.8

1.1

Louisville

beat

3

Ky

SEC

2.8

2.1

WVU

beat

6

Miss St

SEC

7.8

10.1

Syracuse

beat

10.1

Illinois

TEN

3.8

4.1

Rutgers

beat

10.1

Illinois

TEN

6.8

8.1

Pittsburgh

lost

11.1

MSU

TEN

8.8

11.1

Conn

beat

7.1

Indiana

TEN

7.8

10.1

Syracuse

lost

9.1

Iowa

TEN

4.8

5.1

Cinci

lost

1.1

OSU

TEN

 

 

2005

 

 

 

 

5.8

4

USF

lost

4

NCState

ACC

2.8

2.1

Louisville

lost

2.1

VT

ACC

1.8

1.1

WVU

beat

5

MD

ACC

2.8

2.1

Louisville

beat

4

NC

ACC

1.8

1.1

WVU

lost

2.1

VT

ACC

8.8

6

Syracuse

lost

1.1

FSU

ACC

7.8

6

Conn

lost

3

GT

ACC

5.8

4

USF

lost

2

Miami

ACC

8.8

6

Syracuse

lost

5

Virginia

ACC

4.8

3

Pittsburgh

lost

3

Nebraska

B12

2.8

2.1

Louisville

beat

7

OrSt

PAC

3.8

4

Rutgers

lost

6

ASU

PAC

1.8

1.1

WVU

beat

1.1

Ga

SEC

2.8

2.1

Louisville

beat

6

Ky

SEC

3.8

4.1

Rutgers

lost

11.1

Illinois

TEN

6.8

8.1

Cinci

lost

1.1

PSU

TEN

5.8

7.1

USF

lost

1.1

PSU

TEN

 

 

2004

 

 

 

 

2.8

2.1

Syracuse

lost

2.1

FSU

ACC

6.8

8.1

Conn

beat

11.1

Duke

ACC

2.8

2.1

Syracuse

lost

6.1

GT

ACC

5.8

6.1

WVU

beat

9.1

MD

ACC

3.8

4.1

BC

beat

5.1

NC

ACC

2.8

2.1

Syracuse

lost

4.1

Virginia

ACC

3.8

4.1

BC

lost

10.1

WF

ACC

5.8

6.1

WVU

lost

2.1

FSU

ACC

6.8

8.1

Conn

lost

6.1

GT

ACC

8.8

11.1

Temple

lost

9.1

MD

ACC

8.8

11.1

Temple

lost

4.1

Virginia

ACC

6.8

6.1

WVU

lost

1.1

VT

ACC

1.8

1.1

Pittsburgh

lost

3

Nebraska

B12

7.8

5

Rutgers

beat

6

Vandy

SEC

3.8

4.1

BC

beat

9.1

PSU

TEN

2.8

2.1

Syracuse

lost

5.1

Purdue

TEN

7.8

10.1

Rutgers

beat

7.1

MSU

TEN

 

 

2003

 

 

 

 

1.8

1.9

Miami

beat

1.9

FSU

ACC

1.8

1.9

Miami

beat

1.9

FSU

ACC

2.8

2.9

WVU

lost

2.9

MD

ACC

2.8

2.9

WVU

lost

2.9

MD

ACC

7.8

8.9

Syracuse

beat

9.9

NC

ACC

3.8

3.9

Pittsburgh

lost

5.9

Virginia

ACC

1.8

1.9

VT

lost

5.9

Virginia

ACC

5.8

6.9

BC

lost

7.9

WF

ACC

3.8

2

Pittsburgh

beat

5

TA&M

B12

1.8

3

VT

beat

5

TA&M

B12

4.8

5

VT

lost

4

California

PAC

1.8

1.1

Miami

beat

3

Florida

SEC

1.8

1.1

Miami

lost

2

Tenn

SEC

5.8

7.1

BC

beat

9.1

PSU

TEN

2.8

2.1

WVU

lost

8.1

Wisc

TEN

6.8

8.1

Rutgers

lost

5.1

MSU

TEN

8.8

11.1

Temple

lost

9.1

PSU

TEN

 

 

2002

 

 

 

 

1.8

1.9

Miami

beat

1.9

FSU

ACC

7.8

8.9

Syracuse

lost

8.9

NC

ACC

2.8

2.9

WVU

lost

2.9

Virginia

ACC

2.8

2.9

WVU

lost

3.9

MD

ACC

1.8

4.9

VT

beat

2.9

Virginia

ACC

3.8

2

Pittsburgh

lost

5

TA&M

B12

1.8

3

VT

beat

5

TA&M

B12

5.8

6

BC

beat

9

Stanford

PAC

3.8

4

Pittsburgh

beat

7

OrSt

PAC

6.8

7

Temple

lost

7

OrSt

PAC

1.8

1.1

Miami

beat

2

Florida

SEC

1.8

1.1

VT

beat

4

LSU

SEC

1.8

1.1

Miami

beat

3

Tenn

SEC

7.8

6

Syracuse

lost

3

Auburn

SEC

6.8

5

Temple

lost

4

South Carolina

SEC

8.8

5

Rutgers

lost

3

Tenn

SEC

1.8

1.1

Miami

lost

1.1

OSU

TEN

2.8

2.1

WVU

lost

8.1

Wisc

TEN

 

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