Monday, December 22, 2008

College football: Pac-10 vs Mountain West

The Mountain West was 6-1 versus the Pac-10 during the regular season. Add in the bowl games, and it comes to a still respectable 6-2. Is the MWC really that much better than Pac-10? Well, probably not. Half of the wins were top teams in the MWC defeating bottom-feeders in the Pac-10. If we exclude those, and include just the teams in similar positions in the standings, it looks much closer. In a battle of 6th place teams, the MWC's UNLV edged the Pac-10s ASU. Arizona (#5 in Pac-10) came out even, beating MWC #3 BYU, and losing to MWC #7 New Mexico. Then it comes down to the two remaining games - #1 Utah over #3 Oregon State and #4 Cal over #5 Colorado State. In both cases, the higher ranked team won. However, Cal's victory was a blowout, while Utah squeaked out a last second win over OSU. In the end, head to head competition looks pretty much even.

*(1) Utah > (3) Oregon State
(3) BYU > (8) UCLA
(3) BYU > (10) Washington
*(5) Arizona > (3) BYU
*(6) UNLV > (6) Arizona State
*(7) New Mexico > (5) Arizona
(2) TCU > (7) Stanford
*(4) Cal > (5) Colorado State

Comparing the teams by conference standings yields similar results:

(1) usc > utah
USC has done great in big games, but let its guard down a bit in the 'easy ones'. Utah has managed to pull off some 'last minute miracles' against the two best teams it has played. If they played in Salt Lake, Utah would have a chance. Otherwise, it would likely be a USC blowout.
(2) oregon < tcu
Both teams have two losses to to 10 BCS teams. Oregon also has a loss to Cal.
(3) oregon state = byu
At the start of the season, BYU had a clear edge. During the late middle season, the edge was OSU. At the end, they both came off bad rivalry loses. Both lost at Utah, though Oregon State was closer. Both blew out UCLA, though BYU had a wider margin.
(4) Cal > Air Force
Tough one to call. Both have only lost to teams with winning records. Both are 8-4. However, Cal beat Colorado State by wider margin. Cal also had a good win over Oregon, while Air Force's best win was against Houston.
(5) Arizona = Colorado State
Another tough one to call. Both had some bad losses, but have been finishing strong with a bowl wins over higher rated opponents (both of which had BCS aspirations at the season's start.) Colorado State handily beat New Mexico, got blown out by Cal, and narrowly lost to BYU. Arizona lost to New Mexico, got beat handily by Cal and beat BYU.
(6) Arizona State < UNLV
UNLV beat ASU in the regular season
(7) Stanford > New Mexico
Both had some good wins and some bad losses. Head to head, Stanford lost badly to TCU, and narrowly beat Arizona. New Mexico beat Arizona by a decent margin, and lost badly to TCU. Stanford did have a nice win versus Oregon State, so that gives them the edge.
(8) UCLA = Wyoming
Both beat Tennessee. When UCLA won at the start of a season, it was a sign of how good UCLA was. When Wyoming did at the end, it was a sign of how bad Tennessee was. Both were also shut out by BYU. Neither beat a 1A team with a winning record.
(9) Washington State < San Diego State
Washington State's victories were against winless Washington and a IAA team with a losing record (Portland State). San Diego State actually showed some signs of life at the end of the season by beating UNLV (and keeping them out of a bowl). Their other victory was against a 2 win Idaho team.
(10) Washington < Nobody
Washington is so bad, the Mountain West gets credit by not having a 10th team.

Pac10 3
Draw 3

By both measures, the MWC is slightly better than the Pac-10, though it comes down mostly to the Pac-10 having some really pathetic teams in Washington.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Just a little fyi, Arizona beat Cal