Taking a look at the 11 "major" conferences for 2009 reveals the world of college football will not be contested on a level playing field.
According to the second edition of "The 11 Best 11s" and the five teams listed as on "the porch," five conferences do not even have a single team listed.
These conferences include the WAC, the Mountain West, the MAC, CUSA, and the Sun Belt. Another league, the Big East, is represented by only one school.
A quick calculation indicates five conferences provide the remaining body of 15 programs. You know the names of those so-called "power conferences": the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, and Pac-10.
Sure, the usual suspects.
But who will be the best, and why?
Let's review the teams listed in the latest preseason rankings of the "11 Best 11s."
1—Oklahoma, Big 12
3—Va Tech, ACC
4—Texas, Big 12
6—Pittsburgh, Big East
7—Ohio State, Big Ten
8—Southern California, Pac-10
9—Iowa, Big Ten
On The Porch: Nebraska (Big 12), Ga Tech (ACC), Oklahoma State (Big 12), Alabama (SEC), and N.C. State (ACC).
The Big 12 and the SEC have four teams each; that is half of the rankings right there.
The ACC has three, while the Big Ten and Pac-10 have two each. The previously mentioned Big East has only Pittsburgh.
To begin, we will take the overall rankings of the teams listed and determine an average ranking. For instance, the Big 12 has a total of 31 points awarded for securing the No. 1, 4, 12, and 14 positions.
The SEC has a total of 33 for posting the No. 2, 5, 11, and 15 squads. The ACC has a total of 32, but that is using only three teams, as Va Tech comes in at No. 3, Ga Tech at 13, and N.C. State at 16.
Likewise, the Big Ten totals 16 with No. 7 Ohio State and No. 9 Iowa, while the Pac-10 scores an 18 with No. 8 Sou Cal and No. 10 Oregon.
The preliminary poll rankings reveal the ranking of the Big 12 teams listed to produce an average of 7.75 based upon the total of 31 divided by four, the number of schools in the ratings.
Using the same formula, the SEC comes in with a score of 8.25. The ACC, with only three teams, averages out at 10.67.
The Big Ten and the Pac-10, with only two teams each, average out at eight and nine.
Naturally, a method must be devised to reward the conferences with a larger number of schools; otherwise the Big East is the overall winner with an average of six.
To rectify this situation, let me suggest that we recognize that the largest number of teams any conference has in the ratings is four. The conferences with the fewest number of teams have no one listed.
We will take this difference of four and penalize each conference that many points for each number less than four teams.
Example: The Big East has a six for Pittsburgh but is penalized 12 (3 X 4) as they have only the one school.
We now have an average ranking of 18 (6 + 12) for the single-team Big East.
Accordingly, we have the ACC penalized four points, as they have only three teams, for a total of 14.67 (10.67 + 4).
The Big Ten and Pac-10 are penalized eight each as they had only two teams from each league. The result is a rating of 17 for the Pac (9 + 8) and 16 (8 + 8) for the Big Ten.
Since lower is better in this system, we can reflect on the following conference ratings.
1—Big 12, 7.75 (31/4)
2—SEC, 8.25 (33/4)
3—ACC, 14.67 (32/3 = 10.67 + 4)
4—Big Ten, 16 (16/2 = 8 + 8)
5—Pac-10, 17 (18/2 = 9 + 8)
6—Big East, 18 (6/1 = 6 + 12)
Conferences seven through 11 have no teams in the rankings and therefore all have been excluded. Before we have a riot on our hands, this is not to post any "BCS bias," but to gauge the teams ranked in the "11 Best 11s."
Since the Mountain West, WAC, CUSA, MAC, and Sun Belt have no teams in those rankings, they cannot be ranked among the top six.
All credit should be given to the Mountain West for producing such powerful teams as Utah, Texas Christian, and BYU last season, along with the always solid Boise State group from the WAC.
They have my utmost respect, and in no way is this an attempt to overlook or belittle any of their tremendous accomplishments.
So, there we have it.
According to the above formula, we have the Big 12 as the top conference, followed closely by the SEC.
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
And just think, the season is only three months away.