We’ve been talking conference rankings all football season, and here’s the final one for 2016.
Let me point out on my philosophy on these rankings – your most recent OOC results count a lot, and you’ll see me reference that throughout the season.
We’ll give each conference a relative strength value 1-10.
Let me explain my relative rankings
0-5 : Conference lacks depth no elite teams
6-7: Conference lacks depth, and there are 1-2 elite teams, and 1-2 quality teams
7-8: At least 2 elite teams, and at least 2 quality teams.
8-9: 3 elite teams, and at least 2 quality teams
9-10: 1/2 of conference is elite and/or quality teams.
1) ACC – 7.9
The ACC completed the best football season in their history, and one of the best ever from any conference. The ACC was 2016′s best football conference and it wasn’t close. The conference was fantastic during bowl season going 9-3. Clemson led the way by winning the national title over Alabama, and wiping out Ohio State. Florida State beat Michigan. The conference went an astonishing 16-6 against the Big 10 and SEC. In past years the ACC was considered top heavy, but this year there was depth.
Pittsburgh had a win over Big 10 Champion Penn State. Georgia Tech went 3-0 against the SEC. Miami beat West Virginia, and on and on we could go. This about sums it up.
The ACC finishes with the best overall nonconference record (51-17), vs. ranked opponents (7-5), vs. Power 5 (17-9), and in bowls (9-3).
— George Lane (@GMLane) January 10, 2017
2) SEC – 7.3
It was a big dropoff from the ACC to SEC this year especially when the SEC went 4-10 against the ACC. That said Alabama was the country’s second best team. They beat a USC team early in the year that finished in the top 5 and beat Pac 12 Champ Washington. Tennessee had a good win over Virginia Tech early in the year.
The SEC went 6-7 during bowl season, but LSU did have a win over Louisville. It was an uneven year for the SEC, but they moved ahead of the next conference.
3) Big 10 – 7.2
The Big 10 was the nation’s top conference just about all year, but flopped big time during bowl season going 3-7. That brings into question whether if we had the Big 10 wrong all year. The conference’s 3 best team’s Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State all went down during bowl season.
The conference didn’t record a double digit win the entire bowl season. It’s hard to drop the Big 10 much further. There were good early season wins by Ohio State over Oklahoma, Michigan over Colorado, and Wisconsin’s win against LSU.
4) Pac 12 – 7.0
The Pac 12 was merely OK this year. Washington was a good, but not a great team and really didn’t stand a chance against Alabama in the playoffs. USC did win the Rose Bowl against Penn State, but there were few noteworthy non conference wins from the Pac 12 this year.
A 3-3 bowl season, wasn’t enough to move the needle for the Pac 12.
5) Big 12 – 6.8
The Big 12 brings up the rear this season. You might not think I’m rewarding the Big 12 for a 4-2 bowl season, but they are as close to the #4 conference as I’ve had them all year. Oklahoma their best team did beat Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma State had a good win over Colorado in Alamo Bowl.
In wasn’t enough to overcome a very mediocre regular season for the conference, but it was a good finish.