We have unveiled our game predictions for every FBS team.
But does any of it really matter if we don’t quantify which conference has the bragging rights for best in the land? The obvious answer is that the best conference in college football is really irrelevant, or at least should be irrelevant.
But perception matters, especially in November and December when politics and perception can weigh on playoff selections and bowl destinations seemingly as much as quantifiable team strength.
These ratings are not a measure of which leagues have the most title contenders or the fewest duds at the bottom of the barrel but are strictly a measure of what the conference’s average team would look like using our ratings method.
The big surprises:
“A-C-C! A-C-C!” Wait, what? Yep, using our pre-season ratings the ACC stands atop the mountain of the best leagues in college football. Though it is worth noting that the gap in “pyth” from ACC to SEC to Big 12 is 0.0049 points and .0009 points, respectively. The gap is nearly four times smaller
from 1st to 3rd place in the standings as from Big Ten (4th) to Pac 12 (5th).
Also, we at the CFB Analytics Headquarters would have pegged the Big Ten a big higher but as noted, the gap from 1st to 4th is very small.
Not only is the SEC not our #1 overall (as many would maybe assume) but they are 4th in adjusted offense and just 3rd in adjusted defense, but that is still strong enough to slot them as the 2nd best conference overall.
The American Conference claims the top spot among the Group of Five leagues in resounding fashion. That's followed by a large gap over the Mountain West and just behind are the independent schools (Notre Dame, Army, BYU, New Mexico State, and Liberty).
Less of a surprise:
The Big 12 claims the top spot on offensive strength as perception of the league would dictate, whether it be positive because of their reputation of strong offenses or negative because of their lack of defense compared to the other Power Five leagues.