The ACC Kickoff went head-to-head with the tail end of SEC Media Days Thursday. ACC coaches came in with a talking point. Clemson is the reigning national champion. This was the conference’s second national championship in the last four seasons (Florida State won in 2013). Boom. The ACC is the best football conference in the country.
Jimbo Fisher, who won the first of those titles, called the ACC the premier conference in college football.
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) July 13, 2017
The claim was rich coming from Boston College’s Steve Addazio, whose dudes have compiled a 2-14 record in conference over the past two seasons. Per Addazio, the ACC’s preeminence isn’t even an debate.
Boston College's Steve Addazio also says the ACC is the best conference in college football.
"That's not even debatable anymore."
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) July 13, 2017
In reality, that premise is quite debatable. National championships are far from the only metric. If they were, well, the SEC has won eight of the last 11. But, some “simple” math suggests the ACC trails college football’s true premier conference, the SEC. It also trails the less heralded Pac-12.
The “Simple Rating System” strives for, you guessed it, simplicity. It accounts for schedule strength and victory margin, whom did you beat and by how much. The better team is the one that beat better opponents by more points. Simple. Little noise to filter out. I’ll use the SRS calculations from Sports Reference. Here are the combined SRS numbers for the Power 5 conferences from 2016.
Big Ten: 5.13
Big 12: 3.74
Source: Yard Barker