Blog Entry

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

Posted on: September 29, 2008 12:33 pm

With one month of the season in the books, the usual debate of "Who has the best conference?" continues. Nobody can doubt the SEC is still king, but the conference that ranks No. 2 might surprise you.

Don't be so quick to say the Big 12, because after analyzing the rankings of this week's 120, we see the Big Ten ranks slightly ahead of the Big 12 from top to bottom. Based on an average ranking of 36.63, the Big Ten edges out the Big 12, which has an overall average of 37.83. SEC is first at 31.83.

Before the e-mails of "How can that be? Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech are all ranked in the Top 10!!!" -- we only have to look at the overall records in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten has two undefeated teams, three with a 4-1 record and zero teams in the conference have a losing record.

And one of those undefeated teams is Northwestern. The Wildcats sit tied with Penn State atop the Big Ten with a 5-0 record, including 1-0 in the conference.

Northwestern is off to their best start in 46 years and jumped all the way from No. 41 to No. 27 this week in the 120. The Wildcats are on the verge of breaking into the Top 25 in the other polls too. They are ranked 30th in the AP poll, 26th in the Coaches poll and 27th in the Harris poll.

Northwestern takes on No. 24 ranked Michigan State on Oct. 11 in what could be a major breakthrough for a team that usually finds itself at the bottom of the conference.

"Our plan going into the bye week is, No. 1, get healthy," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "No. 2 is to stay sharp. I feel like we're getting better each week and growing each week. With that prudent mentality, we'll probably go quick in our practices and won't be out there real long."

Another factor that helps the Big Ten rank ahead of the Big 12 is the lowest-ranked team in the Big Ten is Indiana (No. 74), which stands at 2-2. Texas A&M (No. 84) and Iowa State (No. 90) pull down the average in the Big 12.

The Aggies lost to a Sun Belt school earlier this year (Arkansas State won 18-14) and barely beat Army 21-17. Iowa State is 2-2, but its only victories are against South Dakota State and Kent State.

Here are the overall average conference rankings:

1. SEC -- 31.83
2. Big Ten -- 36.63
3. Big 12 -- 37.83
4. ACC -- 45.67
5. Big East -- 52.5
6. Pac-10 -- 55.3
7. MWC -- 72.75
8. C-USA -- 78.25
9. WAC -- 82.75
10. MAC -- 89.46
11. Sun Belt -- 101

Quick Notes

... The ACC which gets criticized for being one of the weakest conference, is ranked fourth. Despite not having any undefeated teams, the conference has seven teams ranked between No. 31 and No. 49. Florida State (No. 35), North Carolina (No. 36) and Maryland (No. 40) all had big wins this past week, moving up numerous spots.

... The lowest-ranked undefeated school is Kentucky at No. 38. Kentucky defeated Louisville, Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky. It will surely move way up the rankings if it beats Alabama this weekend.

... UCF dropped the farthest in the rankings this week, dropping from No. 76 to No. 100 after losing 58-13 to UTEP, which entered the game at 0-3.

... FIU got out of the 120th spot with a 35-16 victory over Toledo. The Golden Panthers are now ranked No. 114. North Texas fell from No. 118 to No. 120 after losing 77-20 to Rice. The Mean Green are one of only three teams without a win. Army (No. 119) and Washington (No. 101) are the others. The Huskies are ranked so high because it lost by only one point to BYU and by 7 to Stanford this past week.


Since: Aug 5, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2008 8:39 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

This article is ridiculous.

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2008 7:41 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

Go U, NU! I realize that Northwestern is not going to win the National Championship or the Big Ten most likely but is sure is fun to be 5-0! All you naysayers, let us Northwestern fans be happy for once! Maybe there will be a NU vs. Vandy NC game. If they don't meet in football maybe we will at least meet in quiz bowl ; )

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2008 7:33 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

Like I've always said, no one conference is better than another.  It's all a wash.  Any team in the Big Ten could beat any of the other teams, regardless of record, just like any team in the SEC could as well.  Anyone who buys the "conference superiority" sales pitch isn't looking at things objectively.

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2008 7:22 pm

The Sportsline 120 rankings are a joke

Look at the SOS of the teams.  The #1 team according to the rankings in SOS is Louisville who have played:

Tennessee Tech
Kansas State

Is sportsline trying to sell that as the hardest schedule in america?  What about Bama, who has beaten two ranked teams already?  nope their schedule is ranked 23rd right now.  When sportsline actually comes up with some rankings that make sense then we can follow them.

Big 12 - 3 teams in the top 5, a quarter of the top 10 spots and 6 in the top 25 with a few more knocking on the door right now.   The Big 10 has 3 in the top 25 and they are supposed to be better?

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2008 7:20 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings


Couldn't that have just as easily been the title to this article?  Interesting!!!!!

Look past the obvious.  Shame on you CBS!!

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2008 6:39 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

This column only means one thing that has been told a million times in a million different ways, and yet still ignored by most a million times too:


And for the record, this is from a Michigan fan!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2008 5:43 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

The Big Ten is crap, those average rankings you can take those and throw them in the garbage. Lets do this a little different, lets take the teams head to head

Since: Aug 13, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2008 5:34 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

What do you mean what do we say?

Congrats Wildcats. Won't last too much longer though.

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2008 5:11 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings


Darst, you surprise me. I usually have some respect for your journalistic savy. I guess you cleared your desk this morning and had nothing else to do. Either that or you had three too many double martinis for lunch!

Seriously, Daryl, the only people who give a damn about this "conference competition" are the advertising executives and reps that negotiated that deal with the SEC and other assorted unknowledgable fans from the south. NOBODY ELSE CARES.

WE ARE................................




.......PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And we surely don't care what, who or wherever about any other team than our own. What's a conference? We never heard of that crap! And don't care to either! FOOTBALL, in case you just started watching the game, is a TEAM sport. NOT a conference sport. If that were so, we'd field 132 players and 12 Head Coaches like your SEC contract partners and get a bigger stadium.

So Daryl and Daryl, please go back to being a responsible Sports Journalist and don't lower yourself to the homer level or succumb to the boss's pressure to drum up some sort of competition that isn't there. Remember what Obama said? "They're(white people who hunt, fish, go to church or watch football) just frustrated and hide behind religion, guns and football."

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2008 5:10 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

camogill, have you actually watched any football these season?  you have been on here for over a year and you have a reputation of zero, haha, i can't see how that is possible with your infinite wisdom you could make such a ridiculous comment.  wait, now i get it, your five year old son got on the computer again without supervision, that explains it.  Which five teams would be ranked ahead of Penn State? Have you seen them play?  And with Beanie back at OSU, they would tear through the majority of the big 12, with maybe the exception of Oklahoma.  Seriously, think before you speak

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