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Big Ten Stuns SEC, ACC to Tighten Conference Ratings

Big Ten Stuns SEC, ACC to Tighten Conference Ratings

The Big Ten is still ranked 5th, but is back within a field goal of 3rd after an incredible 12-1 mark Saturday that included upsets of teams from the SEC and ACC. The SEC kept a slim lead over the Big 12 for top conference, and three non-Power Conference teams (East Carolina, Notre Dame, and BYU) are making loud noise as the American now stands the best of the non-Power 5 Conferences. The new conference ratings:

Rank Conf Last Week Week 4 Wins+ Week 4 Pts+ This Week
1 SEC 16 -0.9 -26 15
2 B12 10 0.2 11 11
3 ACC 11 -2.3 -70 9
4 P12 7 1.1 29 8
5 B10 -1 5.2 154 6
6 AAC -5 0.9 26 -4
7 CUSA -3 -1.8 -60 -5
8 MWC -8 -0.3 -19 -8
9 MAC -17 -0.3 4 -17
10 SBC -20 -0.9 10 -20
  Ind 8 -2.4 -85 5

A separate post shows all results grouped by conference. Here is the summary of each conference’s showing this week:

American Athletic (AAC) Ranked 6th: The American moved back in front of C-USA as the best of the non-power conferences and East Carolina is clearly the best team in those conferences so far. They were 34th, and then scored 70 points to crush UNC for a second straight win over an ACC team. Memphis also pulled a surprisingly easy upset over Middle Tennessee to boost the conference to a 7-3 mark–one better than expected.

ACC Ranked 3rd: After being alone in 2nd place, the ACC fell to 3rd with a disappointing 7-7 mark due to Syracuse and Pitt being stunned by Big Ten teams and Miami losing by 10 in an almost 50-50 game against Nebraska. The three losses dropped the ACC’s edge over the 5th-place Big Ten from 12 points to 3 points. Overtime wins (Florida State over Clemson) are always treated as 1-point wins in these ratings.

Big Ten Ranked 5th: The Big Ten improved a touchdown in one week (going from -1 to +6) and almost caught the ACC by going 3-0 against them Saturday. Iowa and Maryland shocked Pitt and Syracuse and Nebraska won by 10 in what was expected to be a toss-up. But Indiana pulled off the biggest shocker of all with a win at Missouri of the SEC. Purdue and Rutgers also pulled upsets as the conference went 12-1 on a day they were expected to go 7-6. The terrible start to the season still has the Big Ten ranked 5th, but they are suddenly within three points of third place. If Ohio State can beat Cincinnati soundly next week in the last big non-conference game, the Big Ten can go into conference play back in the thick of things after what looked like a lost season.

Big 12 Ranked 2nd: The Big 12 passed the ACC for second place and is within four points of the SEC for best conference. They could have made the margin razor thin if Kansas State had not bobbled a touchdown pass into an interception and missed three field goals to blow an upset of Auburn. A win there would have had the top two conferences within a couple of points of each other, and Oklahoma’s ability to go into West Virginia and beat a team that also played Alabama tough on a neutral field may give the conference the No. 1 team in the country in Oklahoma–depending on how voters treat Florida State after their narrow win with a backup QB.

Conference USA Ranked 7th: A week after closing the gap with the Big Ten, Conference USA fell to 7th behind the American as Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee State, and most shockingly, Louisiana Tech were all upset to give the conference a 4-5 mark on a day they projected to go 6-3. Within the conference, Old Dominion made news with an upset of Rice to keep the new program heading up the ratings.

Independents: Two of four independents have a shot at the playoff with Brigham Young’s hard-fought win over Virginia. Notre Dame had the week off to watch a No. 1 Florida State team they will play in four weeks. Navy had a disappointing loss to Rutgers.

MAC Ranked 9th: The MAC did not move at all, going 4-8 as expected and losing by a total of 84 points, almost exactly the -88 projected for this week. The biggest disappointment was Central Michigan losing by 14 at Kansas in a game that looked like a potential upset.

Mountain West Ranked 8th: The Mountain West stayed exactly where they were, going 4-5 just as projected. Five teams had a chance at upsets as slight underdogs, and just Wyoming came through with one (over Florida Atlantic).

Pac-12 Ranked 4th: The conference was 6-2 and undefeated out of conference with Utah (at Michigan), Oregon State (vs. San Diego State), and Colorado (vs. Hawaii) all winning by bigger margins than expected to get the Pac-12 back within a point of the ACC for third place. While conference games do not impact the conference’s ratings, Arizona’s 36-point fourth quarter included a Hail Mary on the last play to beat Cal, and Oregon was helped by a no-call on pass interference to hold off a Washington State team that lost earlier this year to Rutgers of the Big Ten.

Sun Belt Ranked 10th: The Sun Belt stayed in last as New Mexico State was upset at home by New Mexico to give the conference only a 2-8 mark on a day they were expected to go 3-7. The conference was a few touchdowns better than expected overall, but Appalachian State just missed a chance to pull an upset at Southern Mississippi.

SEC Ranked 1st: The SEC remains on top having played mostly in conference, but the Big 12 closed within four points after Missouri was stunned by Indiana of the Big Ten. Auburn held on at Kansas State, and Arkansas was very impressive against a strong Northern Illinois team. Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Old Dominion, and Georgia Tech are the only teams that still have a realistic chance of upsetting an SEC team the rest of the way, so the conference appears assured of being ranked No. 1 going into the Bowl Games, but the gap over the Big 12 is very narrow.

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