August 11, 2008 Conference Power Index: SEC

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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Impressive coaching roster key's conference's dominance

The SEC was a solid conference from 1998-2002, second only to the Big Ten in our overall index. Over the past five seasons, however, the league became flat-out dominant, finishing first in three categories (BCS record, percentage of teams in the AP poll and NFL draft picks per team) and second in the other two (non-BCS bowl record and nonconference RPI). The conference captured three national championships during that span (LSU in '03, Florida in '06 and LSU in '07).

Many factors played a part in the conference's rise, none more so than the quality of its coaches. Georgia's Mark Richt (hired in 2001), LSU's Nick Saban (2000) and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville (1999) all began building powerhouse programs. LSU's Les Miles and Florida's Urban Meyer (both hired in 2005) soon followed. And while head coaches' salaries have risen dramatically in all conferences, the SEC's average nearly doubled in five years, from $1.04 million to $1.85 million.

CPI Rank 2003-2008 1998-2003
1st 2nd
CPI Categories Data Conference Rank Data Conference Rank
AP Poll .417 1st .417 2nd
BCS Record 6-1 1st 5-3 2nd
Other Bowls Record 18-12 2nd 15-17 5th
Nonconference RPI .5239 2nd .5225 4th
NFL Draft Picks 16.1 1st 17.4 1st
Additional Categories Of Interest (Not included in CPI formula)
AP All-Americans 20 t-4th 22 3rd
Avg. Attendance 74,753 1st 71,545 1st
Avg. Coaches Salary $1,846,894 1st $1,036,583 2nd
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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