August 11, 2008 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 Rank 2003-2008 1998-2003
6th 5th
CPI Categories Data Conference Rank Data Conference Rank
AP Poll .257 6th .325 5th
BCS Record 4-1 t-2nd 2-3 5th
Other Bowls Record 9-9 5th 13-4 1st
Nonconference RPI .4805 6th .4738 6th
NFL Draft Picks 10.3 6th 12.17 6th
Additional Categories Of Interest (Not included in CPI formula)
AP All-Americans 11 6th 10 6th
Avg. Attendance 40,915 6th 40,990 6th
Avg. Coaches Salary $1,184,851 6th $696,875 6th
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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