Conference Power Index: Big East

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.

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Big East continues to search for respect

Since the 1998 inception of the BCS, the Big East has continually fought a national perception of being marginally worthy of its stature. (The so-called "Syracuse Rule" regarding minimum BCS standards was put into effect after the Orange earned a BCS bid that first year despite finishing 15th in the rankings.) The ACC's 2003 raid of recent title-game participants Miami and Virginia Tech, as well as Boston College, was viewed as a potential death knell for the conference.

While the restructured Big East -- which booted cellar-dweller Temple while adding Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida -- did finish sixth in our power index for the most recent five-year period, the league's overall score dipped just two points (from 18 to 16). It's produced an impressive 13-10 bowl record and won three straight BCS games (two by West Virginia, one by Louisville). It finished last, however, in poll placement, nonconference RPI and NFL draft picks.

CPI Rank2003-20081998-2003
CPI CategoriesDataConference RankDataConference Rank
AP Poll.2576th.3255th
BCS Record4-1t-2nd2-35th
Other Bowls Record9-95th13-41st
Nonconference RPI.48056th.47386th
NFL Draft Picks10.36th12.176th
Additional Categories Of Interest (Not included in CPI formula)
AP All-Americans116th106th
Avg. Attendance40,9156th40,9906th
Avg. Coaches Salary$1,184,8516th$696,8756th
CPI Notes:
  • AP poll: Percent of conferences' teams ranked in the final AP poll.
  • Nonconference RPI: Conferences' performance in nonconference games weighted by strength of opponents. (Compiled by Jerry Palm of
  • NFL Draft Picks: Average number of NFL draft picks per school.
  • AP All-Americans: First team selections only.
  • Avg. Coaches Salary: Based on head coaches' reported salaries for 2002 and 2007 seasons. (Salary information for certain private schools was not available.)

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