The SEC remains far ahead of the other conferences in ESPN Stats & Info’s college football conference power rankings after going 4-0 in non-conference games this weekend.
All four of the SEC’s wins came against ACC opponents, including wins over No. 10 Florida State and No. 11 Clemson. Overall, the SEC won its four non-conference games by a combined 87 points and won every game by double digits. On the season, the SEC is 48-8 in non-conference games, second to the Big 12.
The only conference that had a worse weekend than the ACC was the Big East, who lost 11.1 points in the conference power rankings this week. The Big East’s top two teams, Rutgers and Louisville, lost to unranked conference opponents.
As a result, Rutgers and Louisville both fell out of the AP top 25, leaving the Big East without a team ranked in the AP Poll for the first time this season. The WAC and MAC were the beneficiaries of the Big East’s rough weekend as both conferences passed the Big East in the conference power rankings.
The WAC is the first non-AQ conference to rank in the top 6 of the conference rankings this season. Four of the WAC’s seven teams have at least eight wins this season, including 10-2 Utah State, who is currently ranked 20th in the AP Poll.
Each of the WAC’s top three teams came within a few points of beating an AQ school that would have boosted the conference rating even further; Utah State lost by two to Wisconsin, San Jose State lost by three to Stanford and Louisiana Tech lost by two to Texas A&M.
The MAC conference trails the WAC by 3.2 points, but it is not the fault of the teams at the top of the conference. Kent State Golden Flashes and Northern Illinois are both 11-1 and ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll.
The winner of the MAC championship game has a chance to represent the conference in a BCS Bowl game if it moves into the top 16 of the BCS standings and remains ahead of an AQ conference champion (the Big East champion).
The only reason that the MAC is not ranked ahead of the WAC is because it has three teams with 10 or more losses, including two of the three lowest ranked teams by the computers, Akron and Massachusetts.
Yet, the MAC remains ahead of the Big East because of the strength of the top of its conference. Overall, the MAC is 4-3 in head-to-head games against the Big East, including Kent State’s win over 7-0 Rutgers and Toledo’s win over 5-0 Cincinnati.
Next weekend is conference championship weekend. Look for many of these championship games to shape the bowl picture and impact the college football postseason.