Voice of the Fan: Best Non-Conference records

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[Editor’s note: This article was written and submitted by TSL Subscriber hoosnowahokie.]

Everyone’s high on the mighty SEC (or they were before Dec. 29th) and how they play such a tough slate against themselves. Well, how do they (and others) fare outside the conference? I did a little research into this year and came up with some numbers.

I’m sure there is some website that you can give you the same information, but I had fun doing it myself (and it didn’t take much time; thanks Sports-Reference.com) so if anything is wrong, let me know.

Regular Season

Overall Records against OOC opponents:

SEC                        48-7 .873
Pac 12                   31-6 .838
ACC                       42-14 .750
Big 10                   42-14 .750
Big 12                   22-8 .733

Against the Power 5:

Pac 12                  6-2 .750
ACC                       8-5 .615
SEC                       5-6 .455
Big 12                   4-6 .400
Big 10                   5-9 .357

Against All others (Includes ND since they are an IND):

SEC                       43-1 .977
Big 12                   18-2 .900
Big 10                   37-5 .881
Pac 12                  25-4 .862
ACC                       34-9 .791

You might think, well the SEC is looking good, tops against OOC.

I invite you to look at their record against the Power 5 conferences. They managed a 5-6 record, going 1-4 against the lowly ACC. THE ACC! Speaking of, the ACC finished 2nd against the Power 5, behind the Pac-12 who did not play any SEC teams, only 1 ACC team and beat up on the last place B1G.

But back to the SEC. Digging deeper into who the SEC actually played out of conference, you’ll find every single team played an FCS opponent and won. The ACC and SEC are the only two conferences where every team plays an FCS opponent. Mississippi St, Ole Miss and Texas A&M didn’t schedule a Power 5 team for their non-conference schedule to gobble up some extra wins. Only one team played more than one Power 5 team, and that was Georgia who went 1-1 against the ACC (Clemson and GT).

If you want to dissect it a little further, the SEC East was responsible for all of the SEC’s OOC losses. The SEC West did not lose to anyone but themselves. However, they had four games against Power 5 teams: Wisconsin (10-3), WVU (7-5), Kansas St. (9-3), and Texas Tech (4-8). Those wins came from LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas. Those are pretty decent OOC wins at the end of the day, but there just weren’t that many scheduled. I do find it impressive that THE SEC West went 24-0 against their non-Power 5 foes. That shows to me that they show up to whatever game they are playing, regardless of opponent. I don’t buy the argument in Power 5 games that the SEC believes a team is ‘beneath them,’ and this shows that. They beat teams that they are physically better than and are supposed to beat.

Comparatively, the ACC went 8-5 against Power 5. They beat someone from every conference, and had at least two games against each conference. 4-1 against the SEC was their best mark, with wins against Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky (not the best). The lone loss was to Georgia. The only teams not to play a Power 5 were NC State and Wake. UNC did play Notre Dame (pseudo-Power 5) however, so they don’t count in my books, but do if you go purely by the confines of Power 5 vs Non Power 5. If you add in Notre Dame to the OOC Power 5 mix, you end up with a 10-7 (.588) record for the ACC, who would remain in 2nd place. The Big 10 would be even worse OOC, going 6-11 (.353) after having gone 1-2 against Notre Dame.

*Fun Note: For any wondering, VT had the only win for the ACC against the B1G this year 😀

On to Bowls!

The Pac-12 have dominated, going 5-1 against Power 5 conferences (so far) in Bowls. The B1G has shown up by going 5-4 to somewhat redeem their conference’s season. It also helps that OSU got a little win in NOLA last week with a 3rd string QB. The SEC is on par with their regular season at 6-4, but have lost out on a chance at the National Championship. It is the first time in nine years they don’t have a chance at the National Championship (Funny enough, it’s the frst year of a playoff too). The ACC and Big 12 have stunk it up: 2-6, 2-5 respectively against the Power 5.

*Fun Note: The SEC East went 5-0 in bowl games, totaling up five of the seven wins and four of the six Power 5 wins for the conference. The other two wins from the West were from the two worst teams there.

Now, combine the regular season and bowl games (so far). The Pac-12 is running away with it at 11-3 against Power 5 conference opponents. They still have a game left, and I think they’ll improve to 12-3. The SEC will finish second with an 11-10 mark, followed by the ACC at 10-11. That’s right. The terrible, no good, very bad football conference known as the ACC finished 1 game behind the SEC against opponents that “matter”. The B1G is not too far behind at 10-13, but I think they slip to 10-14. However, they still tower over the Big 12. The Big 12 was BAD in OOC games against the Power 5. A 6-11 (.353) total was helped along by a miserable performance in the bowls. Their non-Power 5 schedule was also the worst by far out of any conference in college football this year, and they still lost two of those games.

Here are the final combined overall records and against Power 5 records for each conference:


Pac-12                   37-8 .822
SEC                        55-12 .821
Big 10                    47-19 .712
ACC                        46-21 .687
Big 12                    24-13 .649

Against Power 5 Combined Records

Pac 12                   11-3 (.786)
SEC                        11-10 (.524)
ACC                        10-11 (.476)
Big 10                    10-13 (.435)
Big 12                    6-11 (.353)

What to take away? The Pac-12, in terms of win percentage, blew everyone out of the water. They are currently 11-3 on the season against everyone else, with one game left. I predict the Ducks will take the National championship and push the Pac-12 to 12-3 (.800) for the season. A loss by the Ducks would knock them down to 11-4 (.733). Even with the loss, that would put the Pac-12 almost 21 percentage points ahead of the second place SEC for the year. That gap is astronomical when you think about all the love the SEC gets for football dominance. Maybe Fox Sports knew what they were doing by signing that large contract with the Pac-12 for the years to come.

*Extra Note: The Pac-12 and Big 12 played nine game conference schedules, therefore they only fewer OOC games than other leagues. That’s why I used winning percentage as a mark for the standings.

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8 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. With 14 teams you would think the SEC would have more than 11 OOC reg. season games against the Power 5.
    ACC had 13 + 5 more against ND & BYU. per VTHokieCub
    Don’t think ND played the SEC, not sure about BYU.

  2. This is cool information, thanks for pulling it together. I think for a more accurate reflection of performance against top teams, I would include BYU and ND as “Power Five” games. True, they’re not in Power Five conferences, but I think those two schools, certainly ND, are viewed as top tier. Not sure how including these teams would impact the overall records of each conference, but it would be a slight negative for the ACC (2-2 vs. ND and 0-1 vs. BYU).

    1. Thanks for reading! Adding Notre Dame is roughly in some of the writing. It wouldn’t help the ACC and makes the Big 10 worse. It would lower the PAC -12 slightly as they best ND twice. The SEC would have an additional Power 5 loss.

      BYU would only give 1 additional loss to the ACC, Pac-12 and the Big 12. Further proof the Big 12 is terrible.

  3. Me thinks the playoff system is going to dilute the SEC dominance. No longer can ESPN drivel get them to the national championship game by reputation alone.

    1. I agree…
      Interestingly, based on the old BCS formula, Alabama and FSU would have played for the National Championship if we were still using that system. Obviously, neither team is currently in the hunt.

      Perhaps the SEC string of National Championships would not have been so long if we had been using a playoff system all along.

  4. ACC did kind of stink it up this year. If I read the lines right, all three close games we lost: Miami, BC, and Pitt – were all favored by 3pts…

  5. Was doing some similar analysis on the SEC OOC a few weeks back. IMO, they don’t really schedule tough teams and feed off the “conference strength”. Bama in particular puts minimal effort into scheduling quality opponents, and the one opponent they usually schedule that is quality comes to SEC turf (Atlanta for a “neutral” field) to play. I guess being Bama helps them get away with never having true OOC road games.

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