Numbers Don't Lie: SEC Still Most Dominant Conference According to Analytics

Numbers Don't Lie: SEC Still Most Dominant Conference According to Analytics

After 14-point underdog Louisville defeated SEC powerhouse Florida in Wednesday’s Sugar Bowl, the SEC’s supremacy was questioned. Earlier in the bowl season, Mississippi State lost by 14, LSU was upset and then Florida was stunned in the biggest upset in BCS history.  Critics are suggesting that the SEC’s 3-3 record to date suggest the conference may be slipping. Analytics have the answer. And, based on the numbers, the SEC, as of now, is as dominant as any conference has ever been. 

The problem with using bowl records to compare conferences is pretty obvious.  The 5th or 8th best team in a bad conference is not in a bowl game. Looking at the Power Rankings on www.masseyratings.com, you cannot logically say that if the Big Ten’s 5th best team (Northwestern) beats the SEC’s 10th best team, that this indicates the Big Ten is a better conference.  Nor can you say that the ACC’s 2nd best team (Clemson) rallying for a 1-point win against the SEC’s 6th best team indicates the ACC is a better conference.

The system I have always used to rate conferences against each other is to compare the Massey Ratings between the conferences #1 teams, then between their #2 teams etc., all the way down to #10.  The Big 12 has only 10 teams, and I lumped every team not in one of the five major conferences after realignment into their own “Other” conference, with Notre Dame in 1st and Utah State in 2nd, etc. A table below shows how each conference would fair against the other conferences under this format.

When the ACC’s 5th best team after realignment (Louisville) upsets the SEC’s 4th best team (Florida), that is big news.  Louisville was a 14-point underdog, and only 17% of 14-point underdogs win. They were an even steeper 22-point underdog based on the Massey Power ratings, and only 9% of 22-point underdogs win.

We now have the SEC’s #2 team Texas A&M going up against the Big 12s #2 team Oklahoma on Friday, and, of course, the SEC’s #1 team Alabama against the top team in the “Other” Conference, Notre Dame, in the BCS title game on Monday.

So these are the true apples-to-apples comparisons that tell us which conference is ahead.

While losses in those two games would go a long way to those who want parity – rather than SEC dominance – back in football – the numbers show the SEC is still the dominant conference.

Based on Massey, Alabama would be favored to beat the #1 team from either of the other four major conferences as well as Notre Dame.

Texas A&M would likewise be favored to beat the five other #2 teams, so the SEC would be 10-0. What is really scary this year is that if you run through all 10 teams, every SEC team is better than their counterparts, so they would literally be the favorite in all 50 games. That does not really mean they would go 50-0 of course, because a 3-point favorite only wins 59% of the time, etc., but if the favorites won every game, the SEC would be 50-0 and the ACC would be 2-48.  In fact, when you run the percentages the SEC would probably go something like 33-17 and the ACC the reverse, but the following tables still paint a picture of SEC dominance that Notre Dame and Oklahoma will try to topple.

Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Florida St Atlantic Coast 65.56 1 4
2 Clemson Atlantic Coast 63.77 1 4
3 Syracuse Atlantic Coast 57.16 0 5
4 Georgia Tech Atlantic Coast 55.38 0 5
5 Louisville Atlantic Coast 55.21 0 5
6 Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 55.09 0 5
7 Miami FL Atlantic Coast 53.23 0 5
8 North Carolina Atlantic Coast 52.39 0 5
9 Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast 50.69 0 5
10 NC State Atlantic Coast 48.78 0 5
  Conference record Atlantic Coast   2 48
Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Ohio St Big 10 65.35 0 5
2 Wisconsin Big 10 63.76 0 5
3 Michigan Big 10 62.72 1 4
4 Nebraska Big 10 61.65 2 3
5 Northwestern Big 10 60.92 2 3
6 Penn St Big 10 60.16 3 2
7 Michigan St Big 10 59.68 4 1
8 Rutgers Big 10 53.99 1 4
9 Iowa Big 10 49.5 3 2
10 Minnesota Big 10 47.35 0 5
  Conference record Big 10   16 34
Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Notre Dame Other 72.84 2 3
2 Utah St Other 65.26 2 3
3 BYU Other 63.37 2 3
4 San Jose St Other 59.77 1 4
5 Boise St Other 57.4 1 4
6 Cincinnati Other 57.08 1 4
7 UCF Other 55.42 1 4
8 Louisiana Tech Other 55.38 2 3
9 N Illinois Other 55.37 3 2
10 Tulsa Other 54.19 4 1
  Conference record Other   19 31
Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Oregon Pac 12 78.74 4 1
2 Stanford Pac 12 68.37 3 2
3 Oregon St Pac 12 65.56 3 2
4 USC Pac 12 62.38 3 2
5 Arizona St Pac 12 62.09 3 2
6 UCLA Pac 12 59.05 2 3
7 Arizona Pac 12 58.28 3 2
8 Washington Pac 12 56.42 3 2
9 Utah Pac 12 51.87 1 4
10 California Pac 12 48.84 2 3
  Conference record Pac 12   27 23
Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Kansas St Big 12 73.32 3 2
2 Oklahoma Big 12 70.26 4 1
3 Oklahoma St Big 12 69.56 4 1
4 Baylor Big 12 64.96 4 1
5 Texas Big 12 64.13 4 1
6 TCU Big 12 61.26 4 1
7 Texas Tech Big 12 57.3 2 3
8 West Virginia Big 12 56.65 4 1
9 Iowa St Big 12 56.01 4 1
10 Kansas Big 12 44.99 1 4
  Conference record Big 12   34 16
Conf Rn Team New Conference Est. Pow Proj Wins Proj Loss
1 Alabama Southeastern 80.49 5 0
2 Texas A&M Southeastern 74.38 5 0
3 Georgia Southeastern 73.61 5 0
4 Florida Southeastern 70.92 5 0
5 South Carolina Southeastern 70.39 5 0
6 LSU Southeastern 69.05 5 0
7 Vanderbilt Southeastern 62.03 5 0
8 Mississippi Southeastern 60.01 5 0
9 Missouri Southeastern 57.83 5 0
10 Mississippi St Southeastern 56.53 5 0
  Conference record Southeastern   50 0

Read More Stories About:

Breitbart Sports

Breitbart Video Picks


From Our Partners