Which conference is the best? For years, college footall fans have been engaged in a heated debate. To get the answer, we decided to find out in the most empirical and comprehensive manner possible. On this, the five-year anniversary of the ACC's landscape-altering expansion announcement, we wanted to see how the conference pecking order had changed from the first five years of the BCS era (1998-2003) to the second (2003-'08). So we created our own "Conference Power Index" (CPI).
For both time periods (which spanned from the fall of the first year through the spring of the last), each of the six BCS conferences was ranked against the others in five different categories: BCS bowl record, percentage of teams in the final AP poll, non-conference performance (as measured by the RPI formula used for basketball), record in other bowl games and NFL draft picks per teams. Six points were awarded for first place, five points for second, etc, with the BCS and Top 25 categories -- the most prominent goals of any team or conference -- weighted doubly.
The SEC came out on top, followed by the Pac-10, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East. Do you agree with our assessment? Which conference is the best and why?