Pac-12 gains ground in conference rankings

The SEC continues to lead ESPN Stats & Info’s Conference Power Rankings by a wide margin, while the Pac-12 remains a strong second.

The Conference Power Rankings are a formula that equally weighs the rankings from the AP Poll and ESPN’s new Football Power Index(FPI) in order to determine the best and worst conferences in the country.

The Pac-12, despite Oregon's loss, picked up ground on the SEC this week, gaining 1.9 points compared to 0.2 for the SEC, which lead the Pac-12 by 10 points.

The third-place Big 12 lost four points and is now 12 points behind the Pac-12.

This might be of interest to Pac-12 fans: The metrics favor the Pac-12, the humans the SEC:

The SEC has seven teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll, including four teams ranked in the AP top 10. No other conference has more than four total teams ranked in the AP top 25.

In comparison, the Pac-12 leads all conferences with seven teams in the top 25 of the FPI. The SEC is second with six teams, but only one of those teams – Alabama – ranks in the top 8. The Pac-12 has four teams in the top 8.

It is important to note that the SEC has two more teams than the Pac-12, which makes the Pac-12’s lead in the FPI even more impressive.

There's been some snarky things said about Stanford's loss at Utah, but most of that has been based on ignorance, folks not understanding that the Utes are a good team playing a ridiculously difficult schedule.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes:

The Pac-12 actually has the most depth at the top of its conference. When Stanford loses to a team like Utah, who has played the hardest schedule thus far according to ESPN strength of schedule rankings, it may not be as much of an upset as many would expect.

So the next time you hear someone dismiss Stanford for its loss at Utah, tell them to educate themselves.