Alabama Shutout of Mich St. Highlights SEC Return to Dominance

The SEC battered four Bowl opponents, going 4-1 with an average score of 39-18 to return to the dominance of the past decade, leaving the Pac-12 as the only other conference with a chance to catch the SEC by the end of bowl season (see table of all Bowl Results by conference below).

Based on the SEC’s +10 rating going into the bowl games (one point behind the Big 12), they projected to go 2.7-2.3 in the first five Bowl Games and win by an average of 2.2 points. In fact, only Texas A&M lost (21-27 to Louisville) to give the SEC a 4-1 mark with an average margin of 21.0 points – 18.8 points per game better than expectations, due to three teams (Auburn, LSU, and Mississippi State) with a combined losing record in the SEC destroying teams from the muchimproved American (Memphis), ACC (NC State), and Big 12 (Texas Tech)

The same system that calculated the SEC falling slightly out of first place at the end of the last season and again in pre-conference play this year shows the SEC surge to a +16.8 points over the average conference, almost a touchdown better than the Pac-12 and more than 10 points better than any other conference..

Conf Season Rnk Conference Bowl W-L vs. Exp. Bowl Pts+/Gm New Rank
SEC 10 4-1, 1.0 above exp. 18.8 16.8
P12 10 5-2, 0.6 above exp. 1.3 11.1
B10 8 3-2, 0.2 above exp. -1.6 5.8
B12 11 1-2, 0.6 below exp. -14.0 5.5
ACC 7 4-5, 0.7 below exp. -5.1 3.9
Amer 0 2-6, 1.7 below exp. -6.1 -3.6
Mt.W -10 4-4, 0.8 above exp. 12.1 -4.4
CUSA -9 3-2, 0.4 above exp. 0.4 -8.3
Mid-A -6 3-5, 1.5 below exp. -10.6 -12.8
SB -17 2-2, 0.6 above exp. 7.0 -14.0

Fans once again face a season without a bowl match-up between the SEC and a Pac-12 conference ranked 2nd once again. While the Pac-12 is 5-2, that comes in games in which they were expected to go 4.4-2.6 – out performing their seven opponents so far by just 1.3 points more per game than expected in light of their +10 ranking for the regular season (tied with the SEC for second). Therefore, the Pac-12 only improved 1.1 points—to 11.1, pending their final three games.

The Big 12 fell all the way from 1st to 4th with both Texas Tech and Oklahoma getting blown out in games that were expected to be close, though Baylor’s win over UNC was strong.

Despite their conference champions lopsided loss, the Big Ten overall moved up a spot to 3rd with Nebraska and Wisconsin pulling out big wins over the Pac-12. The Pac-12’s hopes to beat out the SEC would hinge on the Big Ten now getting upsets over the SEC in three remaining match-ups and the Pac-12 dominating their final three games.

The big winner in the Group of 5 was the Mountain West, which redeemed a terrible early season with four upsets, including Boise State’s 55-7 blowout of Northern Illinois and San Diego State’s 42-7 upset of Cincinnati. The Mountain West surged from 9th to 7th during the Bowl Season, and nearly passed the American as the top Group of 5 Conference.

Conf Team Pts+ Wins+ Opponent Pred Score Opp Win=1 Pwin
1. SEC Florida Michigan -5 0 0 fri1 35%
1. SEC Georgia Penn St 5 0 0 sat12 65%
1. SEC Tennessee Northwestern 5 0 0 fri12 65%
1. SEC Arkansas Kansas St 6 0 0 Sat3 66%
1. SEC Mississippi Oklahoma St 2 0 0 Fri8 55%
1. SEC Alabama 27 21% Michigan St 11 38 0 1 79%
1. SEC Auburn 26 65% Memphis -5 31 10 1 35%
1. SEC LSU 28 48% Texas Tech 1 56 27 1 52%
1. SEC Mississippi St 20 43% NC State 3 51 28 1 57%
1. SEC Texas A&M -7 -51% Louisville 1 21 27 51%
1. SEC 4-1, 1.3 above exp. 18.8 1.3 SEC New Rating 16.8 4.0 2.7
2. P12 Stanford Iowa 7 0 0 Fri5 70%
2. P12 Arizona St (H) West Virginia -2 0 0 Sat10 45%
2. P12 Oregon TCU -2 0 0 Sat6 45%
2. P12 Washington St 9 56% Miami FL -3 20 14 1 44%
2. P12 Utah 3 36% BYU 4 35 28 1 64%
2. P12 Washington 7 33% Southern Miss 6 44 31 1 67%
2. P12 California 9 27% Air Force 10 55 36 1 73%
2. P12 Arizona -5 18% @ New Mexico 13 45 37 1 82%
2. P12 USC -2 -50% Wisconsin 0 21 23 50%
2. P12 UCLA -12 -64% Nebraska 4 29 37 64%
2. P12 5-2, 0.6 above exp. 1.3 0.6 P12 New Rating 11.1 5.0 4.4
3. B10 Michigan Florida 5 0 0 fri1 65%
3. B10 Penn St Georgia -5 0 0 sat12 35%
3. B10 Northwestern Tennessee -5 0 0 fri12 35%
3. B10 Iowa Stanford -7 0 0 Fri5 30%
3. B10 Ohio St Notre Dame 6 0 0 Fri1 66%
3. B10 Michigan St -27 -21% Alabama -11 0 38 21%
3. B10 Nebraska 12 64% UCLA -4 37 29 1 36%
3. B10 Wisconsin 2 50% USC 0 23 21 1 50%
3. B10 Minnesota 6 48% C Michigan 1 21 14 1 52%
3. B10 Indiana -1 -45% Duke -2 41 44 45%
3. B10 3-2, 0.2 above exp. -1.6 0.2 B10 New Rating 5.8 1.0 0.4
4. B12 West Virginia @ Arizona St 2 0 0 Sat10 55%
4. B12 Kansas St Arkansas -6 0 0 sat3 34%
4. B12 Oklahoma St Mississippi -2 0 0 Fri8 45%
4. B12 TCU Oregon 2 0 0 Sat6 55%
4. B12 Baylor 9 45% North Carolina 2 49 38 1 55%
4. B12 Texas Tech -28 -48% LSU -1 27 56 48%
4. B12 Oklahoma -23 -56% Clemson 3 17 37 56%
4. B12 1-2, 0.6 below exp. -14.0 -0.6 Big12 New Rating 5.5 1.0 1.6
5. ACC Clemson 23 56% Oklahoma -3 37 17 1 44%
5. ACC Louisville 7 51% Texas A&M -1 27 21 1 49%
5. ACC Duke 1 45% Indiana 2 44 41 1 55%
5. ACC Virginia Tech -10 18% Tulsa 13 55 52 1 82%
5. ACC Pittsburgh -10 -34% @ Navy -6 28 44 34%
5. ACC NC State -20 -43% Mississippi St -3 28 51 43%
5. ACC North Carolina -9 -45% Baylor -2 38 49 45%
5. ACC Miami FL -9 -56% Washington St 3 14 20 56%
5. ACC Florida St -19 -65% Houston 5 24 38 65%
5. ACC 4-5, 0.7 below exp. -5.1 -0.7 ACC New Rating 3.9 4.0 4.7
6. Amer Houston 19 65% Florida St -5 38 24 1 35%
6. Amer Navy (H) 10 34% Pittsburgh 6 44 28 1 66%
6. Amer Tulsa 10 -18% Virginia Tech -13 52 55 18%
6. Amer Connecticut 1 -31% Marshall -7 10 16 31%
6. Amer South Florida -7 -43% W Kentucky -3 35 45 43%
6. Amer Temple -15 -50% Toledo 0 17 32 50%
6. Amer Memphis -26 -65% Auburn 5 10 31 65%
6. Amer Cincinnati -41 -66% San Diego St 6 7 42 66%
6. Amer 2-6, 1.7 below exp. -6.1 -1.7 Amer New Rating -3.6 2.0 3.7
7. Mt.W San Diego St 41 66% Cincinnati -6 42 7 1 34%
7. Mt.W Nevada 8 60% Colorado St -3 28 23 1 40%
7. Mt.W Boise St 51 56% N Illinois -3 55 7 1 44%
7. Mt.W San Jose St 10 48% Georgia St 1 27 16 1 52%
7. Mt.W New Mexico (H) 5 -18% Arizona -13 37 45 18%
7. Mt.W Air Force -9 -27% California -10 36 55 27%
7. Mt.W Utah St -1 -49% Akron -1 21 23 49%
7. Mt.W Colorado St -8 -60% Nevada 3 23 28 60%
7. Mt.W 4-4, 0.8 above exp. 12.1 0.8 Mt.W New Rating -4.4 4.0 3.2
8. CUSA W Kentucky 7 43% South Florida 3 45 35 1 57%
8. CUSA Louisiana Tech 13 34% Arkansas St 6 47 28 1 66%
8. CUSA Marshall -1 31% Connecticut 7 16 10 1 69%
8. CUSA Southern Miss -7 -33% Washington -6 31 44 33%
8. CUSA MTSU -10 -38% W Michigan -4 31 45 38%
8. CUSA 3-2, 0.4 above exp. 0.4 0.4 CUSA New Rating -9.3 3.0 2.6
9. Mid-A Toledo 15 50% Temple 0 32 17 1 50%
9. Mid-A Akron 1 49% Utah St 1 23 21 1 51%
9. Mid-A W Michigan 10 38% MTSU 4 45 31 1 62%
9. Mid-A BYU -3 -36% Utah -4 28 35 36%
9. Mid-A C Michigan -6 -48% Minnesota -1 14 21 48%
9. Mid-A Ohio -4 -55% Appalachian St 2 29 31 55%
9. Mid-A N Illinois -51 -56% Boise St 3 7 55 56%
9. Mid-A Bowling Green -47 -89% Ga Southern 16 27 58 89%
9. Mid-A 3-5, 1.5 below exp. -10.6 -1.5 Mid-A New Rating -11.8 3.0 4.5
10. SB Ga Southern 47 89% Bowling Green -16 58 27 1 11%
10. SB Appalachian St 4 55% Ohio -2 31 29 1 45%
10. SB Arkansas St -13 -34% Louisiana Tech -6 28 47 34%
10. SB Georgia St -10 -48% San Jose St -1 16 27 48%
10. SB 2-2, 0.6 above exp. 7.0 0.6 SB New Rating -14.0 2.0 1.4

This table lists each bowl participant from the conference. Each team’s projected margin is based on how much better or worse they are than their conference average in the Massey Ratings—and assuming their conference regular season rating was still the same.

For example, Auburn played 10 points worse than the average SEC team coming into the game, so based on the SEC’s +10 average they were basically a +0 coming into the game. Memphis was +5 points better than the average American Athletic team, which ranked as a +0, so they were a +5. Therefore, if Memphis won the game by 5 points that would confirm both conferences should stay around a +10 and a +0 respectively. The fact that Auburn won 31-10 means they exceeded expectations by 26 points (thus the +26 after Auburn in the table above), and because the -5 gave them a 35% chance of winning the game, they also earn a +65% for the conference for that game.

The fourth column shows the opponent, and the next numbers are the projected margin based on the previous paragraph, the actual score of the game, a “1” if the game was a win, and finally the percent chance the team was given based on the previous paragraph.


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