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The Report Card : Week 13 Analysis of the Power 5 Conferences

by | Dec 1, 2015 | Football, Football Home Feature, Ole Miss | 0 comments

A Weekly Look at the Power 5 Conferences and Independents

On December 1, 2015 the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will present its fifth rankings of the season based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, conference championships won and other factors.

Each week, The Rebel Walk’s Jeff Tetrick presents a national report card on the Power 5 conferences and independent schools. The aim is to rank and grade the 5 conferences based on the cumulative results of each league’s teams that weekend.

Jeff will offer a brief weekly summary for each conference and suggest which teams are most likely in the hunt for a playoff berth. The Independent schools will have a section but not be ranked with the conferences. Below are the criteria as well as his rankings for Week 12.

Report Card Criteria:

TheReportCard_3Key Wins: Regardless of the score or whether a team is ranked or unranked, a win over a Power 5 team is a key win.

Good Day: Regardless of the score, a win over a non-Power 5 school is a good day. A team who plays great but loses the game to a Power 5 school can be placed in this category.

Key Losses: A loss to a non-Power 5 team is a key loss. As well, a loss to a non-conference Power 5 school is a key loss because of the missed chance to make the claim that conference A is better than conference B. In conference play, a loss goes into this category unless the losing team played an exceptional, close game. 

                                        Week 13 Power 5 Conferences Report Card

1. Big Ten

Grade: A

Key Wins: 7   Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland        

Good Day: 0    

Key Losses: 7   Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Rutgers 

Big Ten West champ Iowa wrapped up a perfect 12-0 season by beating Nebraska in Lincoln. Michigan State (11-1) clobbered Penn State 55-16 to win the Big Ten East. Iowa and Michigan State will meet in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis with a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line. The Spartans are slight favorites, but this should be a great game.

Ohio State finally played up to its talent level in putting a beatdown on Michigan in Ann Arbor. Northwestern became the fourth Big Ten team to win 10 games by taking down rival Illinois. Indiana became bowl eligible by winning the Old Oaken Bucket game over Purdue. Wisconsin won Paul Bunyan’s Axe by beating Minnesota in the most-played rivalry game in all of college football. Maryland won its first conference game of the year by defeating Rutgers.

Bowl Eligible : 8 Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana

In the playoff conversation:    #4 Iowa, #5 Michigan State, #6 Ohio State

2. Big 12

Grade: B

Key Wins: 5   Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State  

Good Day: 0  

Key Losses: 5    Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, Kansas

Oklahoma (11-1) claimed the Big 12 title by beating in-state rival Oklahoma State in Stillwater. After TCU upset Baylor on Friday night, the Sooners and Cowboys played a de facto league championship game on Saturday night. Yet, Oklahoma left no doubt about who is the best team in the Big 12 in routing the Cowboys 58-23. The Sooners assured themselves of a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

TCU upended Baylor in a downpour in Fort Worth in double overtime. Texas Tech handed Texas its seventh loss of the season, ensuring that the Longhorns will not play in a bowl game. West Virginia rolled past Iowa State, while Kansas State breezed by rival Kansas. The Jayhawks finish the season 0-12, the only Power 5 team to go winless this year. Central Florida (American Conference) was the only other Division 1 school to go 0-12 for the season.

Bowl Eligible : 6 Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech

In the playoff conversation:   #3 Oklahoma

3. SEC

Grade: B

Key Wins: 6    Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU   

Good Day: 0

Key Losses: 8   Mississippi State, Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M     

Ole Miss won the only matchup of ranked SEC teams by routing rival Mississippi State in Starkville to take home the Egg Bowl trophy for the second straight season. Alabama won the SEC West crown by running past Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Alabama’s opponent in the SEC championship game, Florida, suffered an embarrassing 27-2 loss to rival Florida State at The Swamp. The Gators continue to regress on offense, scoring only a defensive safety the entire game. Alabama is a huge favorite over Florida this weekend.

LSU earned a 19-7 victory over Texas A&M in Baton Rouge. Arkansas defeated Missouri for its seventh win of the season. Tennessee beat up Vanderbilt for its eighth win. Kentucky and South Carolina fell to ACC rivals Louisville and Clemson, respectively, to close out their seasons.

Bowl Eligible : 10 Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia,

In the playoff conversation:   #2 Alabama

4. PAC-12

Grade: B

Key Wins: 6   Stanford, USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Cal         

Good Day: 0

Key Losses: 5   UCLA, Oregon State, Washington State, Colorado, Arizona State        

Stanford edged rival Notre Dame 38-36 in a battle of top ten teams in Palo Alto. The Cardinal ended the Fighting Irish’s playoff hopes while keeping alive their very faint chance of making the field of four. If either Clemson or Alabama were to lose their league title game, though not likely, Stanford would be in line to claim a playoff spot, assuming the Cardinal beat USC in the PAC-12 championship game.

USC beat rival UCLA at The Coliseum to win the PAC-12 South crown and a date versus Stanford in the conference title game. Oregon got its ninth win of the year by outscoring rival Oregon State in Eugene. Washington became bowl eligible by upsetting ranked rival Washington State in the Apple Cup game. Utah rolled over Colorado, while Cal beat Arizona State on a last-second field goal in Berkeley.

Bowl Eligible : 10 Stanford, Oregon, Washington State, Washington, Cal, USC, UCLA, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona

In the playoff conversation:   #7 Stanford

5. ACC

Grade: B

Key Wins: 8   Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Duke    

Good Day: 0

Key Losses: 6   Pitt, NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest 

Clemson wrapped up its first undefeated regular season since 1980 by beating South Carolina. Florida State made a case for getting a New Year’s Six invitation by embarrassing rival Florida, the SEC East champ. North Carolina improved to 11-1 by whipping rival N.C. State in Raleigh. Clemson and North Carolina meet in the ACC championship game this weekend. Clemson is a heavy favorite and will seal a spot in the College Football Playoff with a win over the Tar Heels. If North Carolina pulls the upset, Stanford and Ohio State would be more likely to get the fourth playoff spot over the Tar Heels. 

Miami surprised Pitt to get its eighth win of the year. Duke defeated Wake Forest for its seventh win, while Syracuse beat Boston College on a last-second field goal. Virginia Tech took down rival Virginia in Frank Beamer’s final regular season game to get bowl eligible. Louisville beat rival Kentucky in non-league action.

Bowl Eligible :  9 Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Duke, Pitt, NC State, Miami, Louisville, Virginia Tech

In the playoff conversation:   #1 Clemson

Independents

Grade: B

Key Wins: 0

Good Day: 1   BYU 

Key Losses: 1   Notre Dame

Army was idle. BYU claimed the Wagon Wheel game over rival Utah State to get its ninth win of the year.

Notre Dame battled Stanford to the wire in the marquee national game of the weekend. Yet, the Cardinal beat the Fighting Irish on the game’s final play to dash Notre Dame’s playoff dreams. The Fighting Irish are among the 10 best teams in the country and will play in a New Year’s Six bowl. Notre Dame finishes the year with close losses to Clemson and Stanford but no great wins. Yet, Notre Dame was a couple of plays away from being unbeaten and in the playoff.

In the playoff conversation:   none

 Playoff Primer

This section is our guess at which teams or conference champions the Selection Committee would choose or leave out based on the body of work up to this point in the season. Please note that this list is not a ranking of the 4 best teams or a projection of who will be the 4 playoff teams in December. Rather, it lists the teams with the top playoff resumes based on who they have played to this point in the season.

Based on week 13, if the College Football Playoff was today, the Selection Committee might go with…..

1- Clemson (ACC) versus 4- Iowa (Big Ten)

2- Alabama (SEC) versus 3- Oklahoma (Big 12)

On the outside…..

5- Michigan State

6-Stanford

7-Ohio State

8-Notre Dame

9-TCU

10-Northwestern

Top Ten Teams

This section is our view of the top ten teams in the country at this point in the season. This list is not based on the AP poll or exclusively on a team’s record. Thus, a one-loss team may be ranked higher than an undefeated team. This ranking is based on our view of which teams are playing the best football now, who have a good playoff resume, and who are capable of reaching the College Football Playoff.

After 13 weeks of action, the Top Ten Teams are…..

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan State
  5. Iowa
  6. Stanford
  7. Ohio State
  8. Notre Dame
  9. TCU
  10. Baylor
Jeff Tetrick
Jeff Tetrick

Jeff is a college sports fanatic who was able to recognize many D1 team logos by kindergarten. Growing up, Jeff played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track/cross country. Jeff’s love for college sports was expanded while running track/cross country at Indiana University, where he earned a General Education degree and attended every sporting event possible when not running for the Hoosiers. A proud parent and husband, Jeff resides in Oxford. His wife is an Ole Miss graduate, and Jeff has a year of post-graduate studies at Ole Miss under his belt. Jeff and his family can be found at just about any Ole Miss sporting event throughout the year. Jeff follows the idea of God, Family/Friends, and Football as a way of life. Writing about Ole Miss sports plays to Jeff’s love affair with collegiate athletics perfectly!

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