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College football 2017 season


Big games

There is no good way to decide the playoff teams because there are few non-conference games to go on. The non-conference games featuring top teams are:

Oklahoma     def.   Ohio St      31 16      Big 12  #1  vs.  Big Ten #1
Clemson      def.   Auburn       14  6      ACC     #1  vs.  SEC #3
Georgia      def.   Notre Dame   20 19      SEC     #1
Notre Dame   def.   Mich St      38 18      Big 10  #4
Notre Dame   def.   USC          49 19      Pac 12  #1
Notre Dame   def.   N Carol St   35 14      ACC     #3
Miami        def.   Notre Dame   41  8      ACC     #2
Stanford     def.   Notre Dame   38 20      Pac 12  #3
6 of the 8 games involve Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a benchmark for comparing conferences and this year their strength of schedule was overwhelmingly strongest in the nation. They took on two conference #1s, a #2, three #3s, and a #4.

Once the bowls were played it became clear that the toughest conference in terms of depth is the Big Ten, and the weakest conference is the Pac Twelve.

No team from outside the 5 oligarch conferences achieved any success against oligarch conferences except UCF, which defeated Auburn and Maryland. The toughest non-oligarch conferences are the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference.


Conference standings

Big Ten    L     SEC       L     Pac 12   L      Big 12    L     ACC          L

Ohio St    1     Georgia   1     USC       1     Oklahoma  1     Clemson      1
Wisconsin  0     Alabama   1     Stanford  2     TCU       2     Miami        1
Penn St    2     Auburn    1     Wash      2     Okla St   3     N Carol St   2
Mich St    2     LSU       2     Ariz St   3     Texas     4     Virginia T   3
Northwest  2     S. Carol  3     Wash St   3     Iowa St   4     W. Forest    4

L = Conference losses, excluding the conference championship game.

There are 5 conference champions, 4 playoff spots, and 12 premier bowl spots. The teams with at most 2 conference losses (excluding the conference championship game) are:

                                     Conf
           Conf   Conf   2017  2016  champ     Vs.      Bowl   Playoff   Premier
           rank  losses  poll  poll  game   Notre Dame                    bowl

Wisconsin    2      0     6     8    Loss               Orange             *
Ohio State   1      1     5     3    Win                Cotton             *
Oklahoma     1      1     2     7    Win                Rose      *        *
USC          1      1     8     9    Win      Loss      Cotton             *
Georgia      1      1     3     -    Win      Win       Rose      *        *
Clemson      1      1     1     2    Win                Sugar     *        *
Auburn       2      1     7    14    Loss               Peach              *
Alabama      3      1     4     1                       Sugar     *        *
Miami        2      1    10     -    Loss     Win       Orange             *
Penn State   3      2     9     5                       Fiesta             *
Mich St      4      2    16     -             Loss      Holiday
Northwest    5      2    21     -                       Music City
Stanford     2      2    13    18    Loss     Win       Alamo
Washington   3      2    11     4                       Fiesta             *
TCU          2      2    15     -    Loss               Alamo
LSU          4      2    17    20                       Citrus
Notre Dame   -      -    14     -                       Citrus

Among conference champions, Oklahoma deserves a playoff spot because they defeated Ohio State and Clemson deserves a spot because they defeated Auburn. Georgia deserves a spot because they defeated Notre Dame. There is no natural choice for the final playoff spot. The choice of Alabama over Ohio State was arbitrary.

There are 9 teams with at most 1 conference loss and they all got premier bowls. There are 17 teams with at most 2 conference losses (plus Notre Dame) and no natural way to distinguish between them.

The Big Ten and Pac Twelve were excluded from the playoffs and they have no way of humbling the conferences that were included. Big Ten and Pac Twelve teams play each other in the bowls. The bowls should have been arranged to give Big Ten and Pac Twelve teams a chance to beat the best teams from the SEC, Big Twelve, and ACC. Wisconsin should have been matched with Auburn instead of Miami.


Toughest conference

The toughest conference in terms of depth is the Big Ten and the weakest is the Pac Twelve.


Big Ten

Big Ten teams won most of their non-conference games. Even the bottom teams were victorious against other conferences. Numbers indicate conference rank.

                  Wins                          Losses

 1  Ohio St                                     1 Oklahoma
 2  Wisconsin     2 Miami
 3  Penn St       3 Washington  9 Pitt
 4  Mich St       5 Wash St                     - Notre Dame
 5  Northwest     6 Kentucky                    9 Duke
 6  Michigan      5 S Carol    10 Florida
 7  Iowa          5 Iowa St     5 Boston
 7  Purdue        6 Missouri    6 Arizona       5 Louisville
 9  Rutgers                                     3 Washington
 9  Nebraska                                    7 Oregon
11  Indiana       9 Virginia
11  Maryland      4 Texas
11  Minnesota    12 Oregon St
14  Illinois

Pac Twelve

Pac Twelve teams lost most of their non-conference games. Numbers indicate conference rank.

                  Wins             Losses

 1 USC            5 Texas
 1 USC                             - Notre Dame
 1 USC                             1 Ohio St
 2 Stanford       - Notre Dame     2 TCU
 3 Washington     9 Rutgers        3 Penn St
 4 Wash St                         4 Mich St
 5 Arizona St                      5 N. Carol St
 6 Arizona                         7 Purdue
 7 UCLA                            4 Kansas St
 7 Oregon         9 Nebraska
 9 Utah           4 W Virginia
12 Oregon St                      11 Minnesota

SEC

SEC teams lost most of their non-conference games, mostly to the Big Ten. Numbers indicate conference rank.

                  Wins                            Losses

 1 Georgia        1 Oklahoma   - ND
 2 Auburn                                         1 Clemson
 3 Alabama        1 Clemson    9 Florida St       1 Clemson
 4 LSU                                            - Notre Dame
 5 S Carol        3 N Carol St                    1 Clemson      6 Michigan
 6 Missouri                                       7 Purdue
 6 Texas AM                                       5 Wake Forest
 6 Miss St        5 Louisville
 6 Kentucky                                       5 Northwestern
10 Florida                                        6 Michigan
11 Mississippi
11 Vanderbilt     4 Kansas St
13 Arkansas
14 Tennessee

Who won the conference?

The conference championship game are a way of sneaking in an extra round of bowl games, and so we might as well make the most of it. The teams not in the conference championship should also have a chance to schedule games.

Sometimes a conference championship game makes sense and sometimes it doesn't. Consider the top teams from each conference.

                    Losses   Teams not played

Big 12    Oklahoma      1    -
          TCU           2    -

Big Ten   Wisconsin     0    Ohio St
          Ohio State    1    Wisconsin

SEC       Georgia       1    Alabama,  LSU
          Alabama       1    Georgia
          Auburn        1    -
          LSU           2    Georgia

Pac 12    USC           1    Washington
          Stanford      2    -
          Washington    2    USC

ACC       Clemson       1    Miami
          Miami         1    Clemson,  N Carol St
          N Carol St    2    Miami
The Big Twelve is unambiguous. The top two teams played each other during the regular season and Oklahoma has fewer losses, and so there is no need for a conference championship game. Such a game only gives Oklahoma a chance to lose and miss out on the playoffs. It would be better for Big Twelve teams to schedule out-of-conference games that are compelling to watch and will make money. One might schedule games with teams not involved in conference championship games such as Washington, Penn State, and Alabama.

Wisconsin has the fewest losses in the Big Ten but they didn't play Ohio State, and so a game between them is appropriate. If Ohio State wins then both teams have the same number of conference losses and they could be said to share the Big Ten championship.

The SEC has 3 teams with 1 conference loss, Georgia, Auburn, and Alabama. During the regular season, Auburn played Georgia and Alabama, and Georgia didn't play Alabama. It would be appropriate for Georgia to play Alabama in the postseason. If Georgia defeats Alabama then Georgia and Auburn share the conference championship. If Alabama defeats Georgia then Alabama and Auburn share the conference championship.

In the Pac Twelve season, USC didn't play Washington and so it would be appropriate for them to play. The conference championship instead featured USC vs. Stanford but this was unnecessary because they had alread played.

In the ACC, Clemson and Miami had one conference loss and they didn't play during the season, and so it was appropriate for them to play a conference championship game.

To summarize:

             What happened                What should have happened

Big Ten      Wisconsin vs. Ohio State     Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
Big Twelve   Oklahoma vs. TCU             Out-of-conference games
SEC          Georgia vs. Auburn           Georgia vs. Alabama
Pac Twelve   USC vs. Stanford             USC vs. Washington
ACC          Clemson vs. Miami            Clemson vs. Miami

Conference losses

In the Big Ten,

Ohio State  def.  Wisconsin
Wisconsin   def.  Iowa
Iowa        def.  Ohio State
Ohio State and Wisconsin each have 1 conference loss. Ohio State is regarded as the conference champion because they defeated Wisconsin in the championship game, but this diminishes the importance of the conference. If one regards conference games as important than one should consider Wisconsin and Ohio State to share the Big Ten championship because they have the same number of conference losses. This also provides incentive for teams not in contention for the championship to win spoiler games over contenders.
Big games

The biggest games, including the regular season and bowls, are:

                           Score  Bowl      Conference and rank

Alabama      Georgia       26 23            SEC3  SEC1
Georgia      Oklahoma      54 48  Rose      SEC1  Twe1
Alabama      Clemson       24  6  Sugar     SEC3  ACC1
Oklahoma     Ohio St       31 16  -         Twe1  Ten1
Georgia      Oklahoma      54 48  Rose      SEC1  Twe1
Ohio St.     USC           24  7  Cotton    Ten1  Pac1
Clemson      Auburn        14  6  -         ACC1  SEC2
Wisconsin    Miami         34 24  Orange    Ten1  ACC2
Georgia      Notre Dame    20 19  -         SEC1  ND
Notre Dame   USC           49 19  -         ND    Pac1
TCU          Stanford      39 37  Alamo     Twe2  Pac2
Alabama      Clemson       24  6  Sugar     SEC3  ACC1
Miami        Notre Dame    41  8  -         ACC2  ND
Stanford     Notre Dame    38 20  -         Pac2  ND
Notre Dame   N Carol St    35 14  -         ND    ACC3
Penn St      Washington    35 28  Fiesta    Ten3  Pac3
Oklahoma St  Virginia T    30 21  Camp      Twe3  ACC3
Notre Dame   Mich St       38 18  -         ND    Ten4
Notre Dame   LSU           21 17  Citrus    ND    SEC4

Bowls

                              Score             Big  SEC  Big  Pac  ACC  Other
                                                10        12   12

 4 Alabama      1 Clemson     24  6  Sugar            3              1
 3 Georgia      2 Oklahoma    54 48  Rose             1    1
 5 Ohio St.     8 USC         24  7  Cotton      1              1
 6 Wisconsin   10 Miami       34 24  Orange      2                   2
12 UCF          7 Auburn      34 27  Peach            2                  AAC
 9 Penn St     11 Washington  35 28  Fiesta      3              3
15 TCU         13 Stanford    39 37  Alamo                 2    2
14 Notre Dame  17 LSU         21 17  Citrus           4                  Notre Dame
16 Mich St.    18 Wash St.    42 17  Holiday     4              4
19 Oklahoma St 22 Virginia T  30 21  Camp World            3         3
   Iowa St     20 Memphis     21 20  Liberty               4             AAC
21 Northwest      Kentucky    24 23  Music City  5    5
23 Miss St        Louisville  31 27  Taxslayer        6              4
24 N. Carol St    Arizona St  52 31  Sun                        5    3
25 Boise St       Oregon      38 28  Las Vegas                  6        MW
   S Carol        Michigan    26 19  Outback     6    7
   Iowa           Boston C    27 20  Pinstripe   7                   7
   Purdue         Arizona     38 35  Foster Far  8              7
   Texas          Missouri    33 16  Texas            8    5
   Utah           W Virginia  30 14  Dallas                8    9
   Wake Forest    Texas AM    55 52  Belk             9              6
   Kansas St      UCLA        35 17  Cactus                7    8
   Navy           Virginia    49  7  Military                        8   AAC
   S. Florida     Texas Tech  38 34  Birmingham                10        AAC
   Duke           N. Illinois 36 14  Quick Lane                      9   MAC
   Florida St     S Miss      42 13  Independ                       10   CUSA

The Plebes

Oligarch conferences:    Big Ten, Big Twelve, ACC, SEC, Pac Twelve
Plebe conferences:       AAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West, C-USA, MAC
Independents:            Notre Dame, BYU, Army

Oligarch teams decisively defeated Plebe teams. The gap between Oligarch conferences and Plebe conferences is vast. The only Plebe team to achieve a win against a tough Oligarch team is UCF, which defeated Auburn.

Among the Plebe conferences, the AAC and Sun Belt are the toughest.

L = Conference losses, excluding the conference championship game.

American   L     Mountain   L     C-USA     L     Sun Belt   L     Mid American L

UCF        0     Boise St   1     Florida A 0     Appal St   1     Toledo       1
Memphis    1     Fresno St  1     N Texas   1     Troy       1     Akron        2
S Florida  2     Diego St   2     S Miss    2     Arkan St   2     C Mich       2
Houston    3     Colorad St 3     FIU       3     Georgia St 3     N Illinois   2
                 Wyoming    3                                      Ohio         3
The most significant non-conference games are:
                                             Score   Bowl

Appalach St (SB1)   def.  Toledo   (MAC1)    34  0   Dollar General
Florida Atl (USA1)  def.  Akron    (MAC2)    50  3   Boca Raton
Troy        (SB2)   def.  N. Texas (USA2)    50 30   New Orleans

Appendix

Oligarch vs. Oligarch non-conference games
                           Score

Oklahoma     Ohio St       31 16            Twe1  Ten1
Georgia      Oklahoma      54 48  Rose      SEC1  Twe1
Ohio St.     USC           24  7  Cotton    Ten1  Pac1
Clemson      Auburn        14  6            ACC1  SEC2
Wisconsin    Miami         34 24  Orange    Ten1  ACC2
Georgia      Notre Dame    20 19            SEC1  ND
Notre Dame   USC           49 19            ND    Pac1
TCU          Stanford      39 37  Alamo     Twe2  Pac2
Alabama      Clemson       24  6  Sugar     SEC3  ACC1
Miami        Notre Dame    41  8            ACC2  ND
Stanford     Notre Dame    38 20            Pac2  ND
Notre Dame   N Carol St    35 14            ND    ACC3
Penn St      Washington    35 28  Fiesta    Ten3  Pac3
Oklahoma St  Virginia T    30 21  Camp      Twe3  ACC3
USC          Texas         27 24            Pac1  Twe5
Clemson      S. Carol      34 10            ACC1  SEC5
Notre Dame   Mich St       38 18            ND    Ten4
Notre Dame   LSU           21 17  Citrus    ND    SEC4
Mich St.     Wash St.      42 17  Holiday   Ten4  Pac4
Virginia T   W Virgninia   31 24            ACC4  Twe4
S. Carolina  N Carol St    35 28            SEC5  ACC3
Notre Dame   Boston        49 20            ND    ACC7
N. Carol St  Arizona St    52 31  Sun       ACC3  Pac5
Texas        Missouri      33 16  Texas     Twe4  SEC6
Northwest    Kentucky      24 23  Music     Ten5  SEC6
Miss St      Louisville    31 27  Tax       SEC6  ACC5
Michigan     S. Carol             Outback   Ten6  SEC5
Wake Forest  Texas AM      55 52  Belk      ACC5  SEC6
Iowa         Iowa St       44 41            Ten7  Twe4
Kansas St    UCLA          35 17  Cactus    Twe4  Pac7
Iowa         Boston C      27 20  Pinstri   Ten7  ACC5
Texas Tech   Arizona St    52 45            Twe8  Pac4
Washington   Rutgers       30 14            Pac3  Ten9
Oklahoma St  Pittsburgh    59 21            Twe3  ACC9
Purdue       Missouri      35  3            Ten7  SEC6
Purdue       Arizona       38 35  Foster    Ten7  Pac6
Louisville   Purdue        35 28            ACC5  Ten8
Penn St      Pittsburgh    33 14            Ten4  ACC9
Utah         W Virginia    30 14  Dallas    Pac9  Twe4
Alabama      Florida St    24  7            SEC3  ACC10
Duke         Northwest     41 17            ACC9  Ten5
TCU          Arkansas      28  7            Twe2  SEC12
Maryland     Texas         51 41            Ten11 Twe4
Oregon       Nebraska      42 35            Pac7  Ten9
Michigan     Florida       33 17            Ten6  SEC10
Vanderbilt   Kansas St     14  7            SEC12 Twe4
Duke         Baylor        34 20            Twe9  ACC9
Indiana      Virginia      34 17            Ten11 ACC9
Minnesota    Oregon St     48 14            Ten11 Pac12

Oligarch vs. Plebes
Wisconsin    Utah St.      59 10               Ten2  MW6
Wisconsin    BYU           40  6               Ten2  Ind
Penn St      Akron         52  0               Ten3  MAC2
Penn St      Georgia St    56  0               Ten3  SB4
Iowa St      Memphis       21 20  Liberty      Twe4  AAC2
Northwestern Bowling Green 49  7               Ten5  MAC10
Duke         N. Illinois   36 14  Quick Lane   ACC9  MAC3
Florida St   S Miss        42 13  Independ     ACC9  USA3
Michigan St  Bowling Green 35 10
Michigan St  W Michigans   28 14
Michigan     Cincinnati    36 14
Michigan     Air Force     29 13
Iowa         Wyoming       24  3
Iowa         N Texas       31 14
Purdue       Ohio          44 21
Oklahoma St  Tulsa         59 24
Oklahoma St  S Alabama     44  7
TCU          SMU           56 36
Texas Tech   Houston       27 24
Iowa St      Akron         41 14
W Virginia   E Carolina    56 20
W Virginia   Delaware St   59 16
Texas        San Jose St   56  0
Kansas St    Charlotte     55  7
Nebraska     Arkansas St   43 36
Rutgers      Morgan St     65  0
Indiana      Georgia S     52 17
Indiana      Charlston S   27  0
Minnesota    Buffalo       17  7
Minnesota    M Tennessee   34  3
Maryland     Towson        63 17
Illinois     Ball State    24 21
Illinois     WKU           20  7
Kansas       SE MissouriSt 38 16

UCF          Auburn        34 27  Peach        AAC1  SEC2
UCF          Maryland      38 10               AAC1  Ten11
Memphis      UCLA          48 45               AAC2  Pac7
S. Florida   Texas Tech    38 34  Birmingham   AAC3  Twe8
S Florida    Illinois      47 23               AAC3  Ten14
Navy         Virginia      49  7  Military     AAC5  ACC9
N Illinois   Nebraska      21 17               MAC3  Ten10
E Michigan   Rutgers       16 13               MAC9  Ten9
Boise St     Oregon        38 28  Las Vegas    MW1   Pac7
Liberty      Baylor        48 45
UTSA         Baylor        17 10
C Michigan   Kansas        45 27
Ohio         Kansas        42 30

Plebes
Conference championship games:

C-USA      Fl Atl    def.  N Texas    41  17
American   UCF       def.  Memphis    62  55
Mountain   Boise St  def.  Fres St    17  14

Non-conference games:

Appalach St  Toledo        34  0  Dollar Gen   SB1   MAC1
Florida Atl  Akron         50  3  Boca Raton   USA1  MAC2
Troy         N. Texas      50 30  New Orleans  SB2   USA2
Memphis      Georgia St                        AAC2  SB4
Fresno St    Houston       33 27  Hawaii       MW2   AAC4
UCF          FIU           61  7               AAC1  USA5
Wyoming      C Michigan    37 14  Idaho Pot    MW4   MAC3
Memphis      Louis-Monroe  37 29               AAC2  SB5
Ohio         UAB           41  6  Bahamas      MAC5  USA3
M Tennessee  Arkansas St   35 30  Camellia     USA6  SB3
Temple       FIU           28  3  Gasparilla   AAC5  USA5
Marshall     Colorado St   31 28  New Mexico   USA6  MW4
Georgia St   W. Kentucky   27 17  Cure         SB4   USA6
Louisiana T  SMU           51 10  Frisco       USA6  AAC5
N. Mex St    Utah St       26 20  Arizona      SB5   MW6
Army         SanDiego St   42 35  Armed Force  Ind   MW3

AAC
                Wins                                     Losses

1 UCF           FIU (USA5)
2 Memphis       Georgia St (SB4), Louis-Monroe (SB5)
3 S Florida
4 Houston                                                Fresno St (MW2)
5 Temple        FIU (USA5)
6 SMU                                                    Louisiana T (USA6)

Conferences

Big 10 East    Ohio St.   Michigan    Penn St.    Mich St.    Purdue      Maryland   Rutgers
Big 10 West    Wisconsin  Nebraska    Iowa        Northwest   Minnesota   Illinois   Indiana

SEC East       Florida    Georgia     S. Carol.   Kentucky    Missouri    Vander     Tennessee
SEC West       Alabama    Auburn      LSU         Miss  St.   Texas AM    Miss       Arkansas

ACC Atlantic   Clemson    NC State    Boston C.   Louisville  Wake Forest Florida St Syracuse
ACC Coastal    Miami      Virginia T  Georg Tech  Virginia    Pittsburgh  Duke       N. Carol

Pac 10 North   Stanford   Oregon      Washington  Wash St     Oregon St.  Cal
Pac 10 South   UCLA       USC         Arizona     Arizona St  Colorado    Utah

Big 12 North   Oklahom    Okla St     Iowa St     Kansas      Kansas St.
Big 12 South   Texas      TCU         Baylor      Texas Tech  W. Virginia

C-USA  East    Flor Atl   FIU         Marshall    W Kentucky  M Tenn      Old Dominion  Charlotte
C-USA  West    N Texas    UAB         S Miss      Louis Tech  UTSA        Rice          UTEP

AAC    East    UCF        S Florida   Temple      Cincinnati  Connecticut E Carolina
AAC    West    Memphis    Houston     SMU         Navy        Tulane      Tulsa

MW     Mount   Boise St   Colorado S  Wyoming     Utah St     Air Force   N Mexico
MW     West    Fresno St  SDiego St   UNVL        Nevada      Hawaii      San Jose St

MAC    East    Akron      Ohio        Miami       Buffalo     Bowl Green  Kent St
MAC    West    Toledo     C Michigan  N Illinois  W Michigan  E Michigan  Ball St

Sun Belt       Troy       AppalachSt  Arkans St   Georgia St  N Mexico St Louisiana
               Lou-Monroe Idaho       S Alabama   CoastCarol  Georgia S   Texas St



Big East       Pioneer           Atlantic 10      West Coast       Missouri Valley

Butler         Butler            Davidson         BYU              N Iowa
Creighton      Davidson C        Duquesne         Gonzaga          Illinois State
DePaul         Drake U           Fordham          Loyola Marymount Southern Illinois
Georgetown     Jacksonville U    George Mason     Pacific          Indiana State
Marquette      Marist College    George Washing   Pepperdine       Loyola U Chicago
Providence     Morehead St U     La Salle         Portland         Missouri State
St. John's     U San Diego       U Massachusetts  St Mary's        Drake
Seton Hall     Stetson U         Rhode Island     U San Diego      Valparaiso
Villanova      Valparaiso U      Richmond         U San Francisco  Bradley
Xavier         U Dayton          St Bonaventure   Santa Clara      U Evansville
                                 St Joseph's
                                 St Louis
                                 Virginia Common
                                 U Dayton


       Teams   Conference games

Big 10   14      9
SEC      14      8
Pac 10   12      9
Big 12   10      9
ACC      14      8      Atlantic Coast Conference
AAC      12      8      American Athletic Conference
C-USA    14      8      Conference USA
MAC      12      8      Mid American
MW       12      8      Mountain West
SB       12      8      Sun Belt


NCAA basketball:

Division  Conferences  Teams
   1          32        351
   2          23
   3          45

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