It’s here! The AP preseason college football top 25 poll is out. Temperatures may not be cooling a bit yet, but this is another indication that the seasons are a-changing. We are one step closer to college football, and fans and media now have another high-profile season prediction over which to argue. Part of this argument for several years now has been over which conference in the country is the best. This is a very difficult argument to actually win on anything other than hot air. Do you count bowl victories? National championships won? Non-conference records?
Four years ago, I made an argument on this blog for the efficacy of using a cross-country scoring system as a means by which we can evaluate empirically the old, fun, and ever-present debate of fandoms across college football: which conference is truly the best? Now that I am four seasons wiser, I am still convinced that this scoring method remains a valid measurement of collective success. I won’t rehash it all now (feel free to refresh you memory by reading it here), but the basic idea is that the sport of cross country evaluates both individual performance and group performance in a single competition. We can appropriate that for assessing college football conferences. Continue reading