|SI.com Conference Power Index: ACC|
The Conference Power Index (CPI) is a compilation of each conference's rank (six points for first place, five points for second place, etc.) in the following categories: AP poll rankings, BCS record, other bowls record, nonconference RPI and NFL draft picks. AP poll and BCS record were weighted doubly. This study examined two five-year periods: 1) The 1998 season through the 2003 NFL draft; 2) The '03 season through the '08 NFL draft.
No longer Florida State and the seven dwarfs
Five years ago, the traditionally basketball-oriented conference -- which finished sixth in our conference power index from 1998-2003 -- made a dramatic move to bolster its football stature, annexing Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East. Many supporters believed the newly expanded league would soon challenge for the title of nation's strongest. That has not happened, due in large part to the decline of traditional powers Miami and Florida State.
The league has strengthened itself, however, jumping from sixth to third in our power index. While the conference's elite teams have struggled to compete nationally (losing nine of 10 BCS games), there's no denying the league's increased talent level (it jumped from fifth to third in NFL draft picks per team) and depth (the conference went a national-best 19-12 in other bowl games). Thanks in part to Virginia Tech, BC and Miami, the ACC is no longer Florida State and the seven dwarfs.