The Pac-12 survived upset bids 4,694 miles apart, and Cal went to the Midwest to help match the SEC’s 5-2 mark in Week 1 and take Week 1 honors, while CUSA went 5-5 to finish as the 6th best Week 1 conference behind the Big 5. Breitbart’s preseason projection showed the SEC going 1199-397 (75%) against all other FBS opponents to 1003-389 (72%) for the Pac-12, but in Week 1 the Pac-12’s 5-2 mark came against tougher competition.
This is METHOD 1 – which relies only on each conferences record and how tough their opponents were this weekend. METHOD 2 measures point differences and will be included in a separate post.
Method 1 for determining the best conference of the week ignores point spreads, and the fact that UCLA produced almost no offense visiting a Virginia team that struggled last year and Washington needed a big third down run in the final minute 4,694 miles away in Hawaii to secure the 17-16 win. With Stanford and Oregon not in action, the Pac-12 was only projected to win 3.77 of 7 games this weekend, but Cal pulled the big upset despite only being given a 23% chance, and USC and Arizona had impressive blows to give the Pac-12 the best week.
LSU’s come-from-behind win helped secure the SEC second place over the Big Ten, which came in third with a 6-2 mark despite Wisconsin falling late. Based on schedule and venues, Wisconsin was projected to go 5-3 (5.29 wins) the opening weekend. The Breitbart preseason projections had the Big Ten tied with the ACC for fourth with a 61% non-conference winning percentage if all 128 teams played each other on a neutral field.
The Big 12 projected as the third best conference at 780-400 (66%), but will fall just short of their projected 3.17 wins and go 3-2 even assuming Baylor handles SMU tomorrow. This method ignores point spreads and how close the Big 12 game to DOMINATING the day – as West Virginia and Oklahoma State almost upset the top two teams in the country in Alabama and Florida State, respectively.
The automatic qualifying conferences took the top five spots in Week 1, while Conference USA was the only non-AQ conference to surpass expectations – going 5-5 . The top spot of the 5 non-AQ conferences is important because the highest ranked champion of those five gets an automatic bid to a New Year’s Day Bowl Game.
The American Athletic fell just short of a big upset when UCF lost to Penn State on a last second field goal in Ireland, but could still pass CUSA in the unlikely event of SMU shocking Baylor on Sunday. Assuming that does not happen, the Mountain West could pass both conferences to finish 6th if Utah State can pull a minor upset over Tennessee Sunday to improve the conference to 2-5 against a very tough schedule.
The Sun Belt and Mid-American were only expected to win 2.19 of 9 games between them. Noone in the Mid-American came within a touchdown of an opponent, while the Sun Belt played well against the ACC with Louisiana-Monroe upsetting Wake Forest and Georgia Southern falling just one point short against NC State.
The following is the table indicating the projected non-conference records for each conference assuming all 129 FBS teams played each other once on a neutral field. This is followed by how many Week 1 games each team had, and how many they were projected to win and did win. The parenthesis indicate one of their teams is playing on Sunday and their chance of a win – while the Idaho at Florida game was not included because it was cancelled due to lightning throughout the day.
|Pre-season Projection||Non-Con W||Loss||%||Games||Proj Wins||Actual||Week Rnk|
|Big 12||780||400||66%||5||3.17||2 (.94)||4|
|American Athletic||529||758||41%||5||1.62||1 (.06%)||7+|
|Mountain West||522||870||37%||7||2.12||1 (.44)||8+|
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