In December, the Big Ten conference (the bestest and richest athletic conference in the galaxy) announced that it is studying the idea of expanding. The Big Ten did not announce whether it is thinking about expanding by one team (preferably Notre Dame) or whether it might pull a Big East or a WAC and create a superconference of up to 16 schools. This stuff fascinates me, and I have been reading expansion plans from bloggers and columnists all over the internets for the past four months. The following are two proposals with a sliver of realism that I would really enjoy:
-Notre Dame stupidly turns down the Big Ten yet again.
-Big Ten grabs Texas.
-Big Twelve starts to panic, as Texas is responsible for 40% of the already crappy TV contract.
-Colorado bolts for the Pac-10, which also takes Utah from the Mountain West.
-Big Twelve counters by poaching TCU and BYU from Mountain West.
-Mountain West is now on its heels, having lost its top three programs.
-WAC steps in and invites New Mexico, UNLV, and San Diego State.
-They accept and the Mountain West folds, leaving Wyoming, Colorado State, and Air Force homeless.
-The Big East is now the only major conference without 12 teams, and the new WAC is looking stronger. Notre Dame is also feeling the heat.
-Big East pressures Notre Dame into joining for football and invites Memphis, Central Florida, and Temple for football and basketball.
-CUSA is now two teams short, so it steals Louisiana Tech from the WAC and Middle Tennessee State from the Sun Belt.
-The WAC picks up Wyoming to get back to 12 teams and the Sun Belt Continue reading
For college sports fans with teams who suck, it seems the default mechanism nowadays is to champion the strength of your conference to make yourself feel better about said suckage. We’ve all had conversations with Big East conference homers in basketball and SEC conference homers in football (I’m pretty sure I am one).
Every year the Big Dance acts as the rule that the conferences are measured against. Whoever dominates the tournament has bragging rights for the year.
So… How do the conferences stand up after round one? Have a look below:
- Big East – 4 of 8 teams remain = 50%
- Big 12 – 5 of 7 teams remain = 71%
- ACC – 4 of 6 teams remain = 67%
- Big 10 – 4 of 5 teams remain = 80%
- SEC – 2 of 4 teams remain = 50%
- Pac 10 – 2 of 2 teams remain =100%
- Mid-Majors – 11 of 33 teams remain = 33%
Obviously of note in that comparison should be the relative success of the Big 12, ACC, and Big 10 versus the relative failure of the Big East and SEC. The fact that the Pac 10 won both of their games is commendable, considering how terrible that conference looked all year. Also noteworthy is the fact that 11 mid-major teams are still alive after the first weekend.
These numbers alone don’t tell you that much in the grand scheme of things. What’s really interesting is looking at how the conferences have performed in terms of seeding. To analyze this, I’ve listed the number of teams that have performed at or below their seeding for each conference.
- Big East – 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 3 teams played below their seeding. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
- Big 12 – 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 2 teams played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
- ACC - 5 teams performed at or above their seed, while 1 team played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
- Big 10 – All 5 teams performed at or above their seed. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
- SEC – 4 teams performed at or above their seed, while 1 team played below their seeding. 0 teams performed above their seeding.
- Pac 10 – 2 teams performed at or above their seed, while 0 teams played below their seeding. 1 team performed above their seeding.
- Mid-Majors – 30 teams performed at or above their seed, while 3 teams played below their seeding. 6 teams performed above their seeding.
This is where it gets a little more interesting. With 3 teams playing below their seeding and 0 teams performing above their seeding, it’s safe to say that the Big East has under-achieved compared to the other conferences. The Big 12 had 2 teams perform below their seeding, but they also had one perform above their seeding.The other major conferences performed as you would probably expect.
Obviously, the big winner in all this is the Mid-Major fan. 30 of 33 teams played at or above their seeding, while only 3 performed below their seeding. In fact, the three teams that performed below their seeding actually lost to other mid-major teams. An impressive 6 teams performed above their seeding.
What have we learned from all this? Getting the most teams in doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best conference in terms of quality. Not this year at least…
Disclaimer: This article is going to mention elementary mathematics and will in no way be about tits.So, in this 3 part analysis of the RPI between January 12th and March 8th (the start of conference play and the end of the regular season), I’ve so far pointed out that 60% of teams only move 25 places, either up or down, during conference play. Conversely, 40% of teams move more than 25 places up or down.
But what happens to teams generally in a conference? If you play in a really powerful conference, would you expect RPIs to generally improve as every team is playing a difficult strength of schedule? Or would you expect a conference with a lot of top tier teams to beat the other teams, sending their RPIs spiraling downward, while not being able to move much higher? I decided to look at the big 6 – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC, and Pac10 – along with the A-10, who is probably as strong or stronger than some of those conferences this year. For the most part, I’ll look at the RPIs averaged per team to standardize across conferences. In other situations, I might analyze percentage of teams, again, to standardize across conferences with variable numbers of teams.