(photo courtesy of The Wizard of Odds)
Let's Fast-Forward to September 21, after the first four weeks of college football. What have we learned about how tough teams have played and who we should count on to march through their conferences? Not much in some cases.
Eliminating early conference games, here are the results:
Pac-10 (10 teams, 10 tough games, 2.5 per week)
Southern Cal-Ohio State and Virginia, UCLA-Tennessee and BYU.,Washington-Oklahoma and BYU,Cal-Michigan St, Arizona-Georgia, Oregon-Purdue, Oregon St-Penn St were definitive interconference games.
Notre Dame (3 games, 2 tough ones)
The Irish have completed games with Michigan and Michigan State out of their three - and Purdue is their next game.
What if the Pac-10 and Irish, who commit to early season confrontations with top teams are eliminated? What other high profile games have defined non-conference play and given us an idea who will be great teams this year?
ACC (12 teams, 3 tough games. .75 tough games per week for the conference)
Clemson-Alabama, Miami-Florida, Virginia-Connecticut
Big Ten (11 teams, 4 tough games, 1 tough game per week for the conference)
Illinois-Missouri, Michigan State-Georgia, Iowa-Pittsburgh, Penn St-Syracuse
Big 12 (12 teams, 4 tough games, 1 tough game per week for the conference)
Missouri-Illinois, Oklahoma-Cincinnati, Texas-Arkansas and Texas A&M-Miami (Fl)
SEC (12 teams, 5 tough games. 1.25 tough game per week for the conference)
Alabama-Clemson, Tenn-UCLA, Arkansas-Texas, Georgia-Michigan State, Florida-Miami
Big East (8 teams, 9 tough games, 2.25 tough games per week for the conference, 1.1 tough game per team)
Louisville-Kentucky & Kansas State, Cincinnati-Oklahoma, South Florida-Kansas, West Virginia-Colorado, Connecticut-Virginia, Pittsburgh-Iowa, Rutgers-Fresno State, Syracuse-Penn State.
Only five 1-A teams have never scheduled a 1-AA team - Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, Washington, and Michigan State. While the Big East plays more BCS non-conference games, they also play more 1-AA teams (click on link above). Looks like college football needs the Pac-10 and Notre Dame (for the Big 10 games) to keep us from snoring through the first month of college football. The other conferences' ideals are to get every team to 4-0 with only two conference games to win for a bowl berth. Don't invest in any conference TV stock, unless you just want to see how bad your team wants to beat What'sAMatter U.
Cue a Mark Knopfler guitar solo. "That ain't working. That's the way you do it. Money for nothing and your chicks for free...Maybe get a blister on your little finger. Maybe get a blister on your thumb." Dire Straits