Pac-12 closes gap in latest Power Rankings

After eight weeks, it should be no surprise that the SEC sits atop the ESPN Stats & Info conference power rankings.

The SEC has seven teams ranked in the AP Top 25, including three of the top six teams in the poll. The SEC leads all conferences with three undefeated teams and five teams with one or fewer losses.

The gap between second and third in the conference rankings is closing as the Pac-12 gained 3.2 points on Big 12 this week. With the Kansas State jumping over Oregon the BCS Standings, it raises the question -- Is the Big 12 or Pac-12 the stronger conference?

According to the conference rankings, the Big 12 remains ahead of the Pac-12, but the race is the closest that it’s been all year.

The Pac-12 has the advantage in the AP Poll with three teams ranked in the AP Top 10, which is one more than the Big 12. Both conferences have four teams ranked in the AP Top 25, but the Pac-12’s teams are ranked comparatively higher than the Big 12’s.

The Big 12 is favored by the computers with nine of its 10 teams ranked in the top 50 (out of 124) by the computers. In comparison, eight Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 50.

Additionally, the Big 12 has a better non-conference record than the Pac-12. The Big 12 is 26-3 in games outside of the conference, which is the best record of any conference in FBS. The Pac-12 is 24-10 in games outside of its conference, but has played a more challenging schedule.

Thirteen of the Pac-12’s 34 non-conference opponents have been from a BCS AQ or Independent conference. In comparison, just six of the Big 12’s 29 non-conference opponents have been in these conferences.

Losses by West Virginia, TCU, Baylor and Iowa State this past weekend hurt the Big 12. The Mountaineers are now 25th in the AP Poll after ranking in the top five two weeks ago. TCU, Baylor and Iowa State were all left out of the rankings after losing close games.

Wins by Oregon, USC, Stanford and Oregon State this past weekend helped the Pac-12 as the top of the conference demonstrated its ability. Those four teams won by a combined 98 points resulting in a significant rise in the rankings.

Elsewhere in the conference rankings, the Big East fell below the Big Ten after Cincinnati lost for the first time this season to Toledo (MAC).

The MAC now has four teams with one or fewer losses, including 7-0 Ohio, which is ranked 23rd in the AP Poll. The Big East, in the other hand, has just three teams with a winning record.

ESPN Stats & Information College Football Conference Power Rankings