Don’t be both easy and lazy with the narrative week. The easy story from Week 2 is how bad of a week it was for the Big Ten. Sure, there’s some truth to it – the week certainly wasn’t ideal for several Midwestern schools.
Teams in the conference combined to go 8-5, falling to 20-7 on the season (the .741 winning percentage is 4th among all conferences). After a margin of +17.7 PPG in Week 1, the Big Ten’s margin was +0.7 in Week 2. The average Big Ten win has been by a margin of +18.1 PPG, the average loss by 14.9 PPG. The Big Ten ranks 4th in the KPI (behind the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12, and ahead of the 5th place Big 12 among Power 5 conference teams). The SEC (3-0), Pac-12 (3-1), and ACC (2-2) are at or above .500 in non-conference games vs. Power 5 teams. The Big Ten (1-4) and Big 12 (0-2) are below .500. The better discussion might be why have there only been nine such games through two weeks.
But get this: The seven teams who have beaten Big Ten teams are a combined 14-0 so far. The Big Ten’s OWP (Opponent Winning Percentage) is best among Power 5 conferences at .520 and is behind only the SEC in KPI SOS (SEC -.121, Big Ten -.156). Five losses were prime games vs. California, LSU, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech. Two losses have come to MAC teams (Northwestern and Purdue).
Selecting teams for the College Football Playoff today would be the equivalent of making NCAA Basketball Tournament selections on November 26. To say the Big Ten (or the Big 12 for that matter) is finished now is short-sighted. This time last year, Florida State was just entering the picture and Auburn remained on nobody’s radar (and wouldn’t emerge until much, much later).
We’re dealing with a playoff with no precedent. The Big Ten can still make the playoff. So can the Big 12. So can the 2-0 SEC team nobody is talking about. Why?
Because we have 13 more weeks of data.
SEC Dominant in KPI Rankings: The SEC makes up 4 of the 7, 6 of the top 12 and 7 of the top 16 in the KPI Rankings after Week 2. The SEC is 22-4 overall, and 19-1 in the non-conference (the only loss in non-conference and the only team with more than one loss is Vanderbilt). The SEC leads in points scored (41.2), points allowed (18.2) and margin (23.0). The 11 remaining unbeaten SEC teams are all in the top 31 of the KPI.
Just Win, Baby: 109 of 128 FBS teams have at least one win through two weeks. 46 teams are 2-0, 9 teams are 1-0, and 54 teams are 1-1. One team (Cincinnati) has yet to play a game. 4 teams are 0-1 while 14 teams are 0-2. Home teams are 114-36 (.760) through two weeks.
The Big Winners: The big winners on Saturday were Virginia Tech, Oregon, USC, and BYU. Virginia Tech and Oregon both beat top-10 Big Ten teams. USC beat Stanford in a Pac-12 crossover game. BYU remains in an interesting spot – with no chance at an AQ spot since they are not a member of a conference.
Conference Play: The Big Ten and Conference USA are the only leagues not to play a conference game yet. The SEC (3), ACC (2), Mountain West (2), Sun Belt (2), Pac-12 (1), Big 12 (1), American (1) and MAC all have started conference games.
Independence Day: BYU, Notre Dame, and Army are all in the top 14 of the KPI. The four independent teams have combined to go 6-1 by a margin of +17.0 PPG. BYU (at Texas) and Notre Dame (vs. Michigan) won convincingly Saturday.
FCS Review: FBS teams are 72-3 (.960) vs. FCS teams this year. The average score is 43.2-14.0 (+29.3 margin). North Dakota State (over Iowa State), Bethune-Cookman (over FIU) and Eastern Kentucky (over Miami-OH) own the three wins. FCS schools won 11 games in the first two weeks of 2013 (and finished 16-95 (.144) over the full season. Only 32 FBS-FCS games remain (after 75 were played the first two weeks).
FCS Rankings: Bethune-Cookman, North Dakota State (who will host ESPN College Gameday for the second straight year in Week 3) and Eastern Kentucky top the FCS KPI Rankings in large part because of the three school’s wins over FBS teams. Illinois State, Albany, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Villanova, North Carolina A&T, and Eastern Washington round out the Top 10.
Margin: After an average margin of 24.4 PPG in Week 1, the average margin was 23.9 PPG in Week 2. In FBS-FBS matchups, the margin was 20.7 PPG in Week 1 and 17.3 in Week 2. The margin in games between Power 5 teams (including conference games) is 13.5 PPG through two weeks (12.8 in Week 1, 14.7 in Week 2).
Margin by Conference
- SEC (+23.0): 41.2-18.2
- Big 12 (+17.1): 38.4-21.3
- Pac-12 (+17.0): 39.1-22.0
- ACC (+16.5): 36.1-19.6
- Big Ten (+9.5): 31.5-22.0
- Sun Belt (+8.9): 33.6-24.7
- Conference USA (+1.3): 29.7-28.4
- MAC (+0.1): 26.0-26.0
- American (-1.5): 26.2-27.7
- Mountain West (-5.0): 23.9-28.9
Shutouts: There were seven shutouts in Week 2 by an average margin of 51.4 PPG. The SEC (Alabama, Florida, and LSU) won three such games. Four of the games came against FCS teams. The three FBS teams were Florida Atlantic, Eastern Michigan and Michigan.
Best Wins by KPI Formula (including 2013 data, for now, for reference)
- +.87 Virginia Tech 35, at OHIO STATE 21
- +.84 at OREGON 46, Michigan State 27
- +.76 USC 13, at STANFORD 10
- +.70 BYU, 41, at TEXAS 7
- +.59 at UTAH 59, Fresno State 27
Most Valuable Games by KPI Formula (based on average of winning and losing team’s game KPI, including 2013 data)
- 96.8% at OREGON 46, Michigan State 27
- 87.8% USC 13, at STANFORD 10
- 87.6% at SOUTH CAROLINA 33, East Carolina 23
- 86.7% Missouri 49, at TOLEDO 24
- 83.3% at AUBURN 59, San Jose State 13
Outlier Games by KPI Formula (including 2013 data, for now, for reference)
- 75.7% Louisiana Tech 48, at LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 20
- 54.0% Virginia Tech 35, at OHIO STATE 21
- 52.1% at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 34, FCS/Wagner 3
- 47.4% USC 13, at STANFORD 10
- 46.3% BYU, 41, at TEXAS 7
TV Schedule: Several networks were confirmed for 6-day picks in Week 2. All games times were already set. The full TV schedule can be found here.
- Boise State at Connecticut (12 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2 Outer-Market)
- Kent State at Ohio State (12 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2 Outer-Market)
- East Carolina at Virginia Tech (12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Iowa State at Iowa (3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT, ESPN)
- Arkansas at Texas Tech (3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT, ABC)
- USC at Boston College (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Tennessee at Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, ABC)
The first 12-day picks of the year will be released on Monday, September 8 for games on Saturday, September 20.