August 11, 2008 Conference Power Index: Pac-10

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.

Peter Read Miller/SI

USC's dominance bolsters conference

No conference has done more to test itself against the rest of the country, finishing first in nonconference RPI ratings during both five-year time periods. There's no question, however, that the Pac-10 has grown stronger over the past five years, jumping from fourth to second in our power index. The league placed 32 percent of its teams in the final AP poll -- up from just 24 percent from 1998-02 -- and improved its bowl record from an atrocious 9-18 to 17-11.

The emergence of USC as a national power is the unquestioned impetus behind the league's improvement. The Trojans have gone 58-6 over the past five seasons (including 4-1 in BCS games), won two national championships and produced 35 draft picks, up from 20 the preceding five years. The league has also benefited from the improvement of Cal (five straight bowl trips), Oregon State (four straight bowl wins) and Arizona State (11-1 in nonconference games).

CPI Rank 2003-2008 1998-2003
2nd 4th
CPI Categories Data Conference Rank Data Conference Rank
AP Poll .320 4th .240 6th
BCS Record 4-1 t-2nd 4-3 3rd
Other Bowls Record 13-10 3rd 5-15 6th
Nonconference RPI .5443 1st .5514 1st
NFL Draft Picks 15.6 4th 14.1 3rd
Additional Categories Of Interest (Not included in CPI formula)
AP All-Americans 20 t-4th 17 4th
Avg. Attendance 55,808 4th 49,272 4th
Avg. Coaches Salary $1,311,968 5th $965,225 4th
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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