So, How Do the Academics Stack Up Anyways?


When people talk about possible conference expansion or realignment, they are often focused on two main factors, the size of the media markets and the historic athletic performance. However, three of the major conferences also have had a major emphasis on academic excellence over the years. They are the Pac-12, Big Ten, and ACC. If you look at any of the various academic ranking systems out there, you will usually find the Top 100 chock full of members of these three conferences. Almost all of the top public universities come from these three conferences.

However, when the Pac-10 was discussing academics as part of its expansion strategy in 2010, a lot of people rolled their eyes thinking that it played no real part in the decision making process. In the end, the Pac-12 did pick up the two best academic institutions left in the west with Colorado and Utah fitting right in (#6 and #8 respectively among Pac-12 schools). However, at this stage, with the mega-conference apocalype upon us, it is clear that academics no longer plays a role in the decision making. The academic reputation of the Pac-12 will take a serious hit when it comes to adding Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. Only Texas would be on par with Pac-12 academic excellence. On a side note, I thought having “Tech” in your name meant you were a strong academic school. I guess Texas Tech is sort of like ITT Tech…?

Below is a table of academic rankings in order of their average rank;

Pac-16ARWUThe Times Top 200USNW ReportsAverage
Arizona State81161121121
Washington State201-300NR106169.33
Oregon State101-150NRTier 3200.67
Texas Tech301-400NRTier 3267.67
Oklahoma State>500NRTier 3334.33
Average Pac-1271.17949084.61
Average Pac-16124.7145.75113.5119.62

In calculating the averages, if a team was in a range (say 201-300) I took the 201 for the calculation. If not ranked in the Top 200, they recieved a 201. Tier 3 schools recieved a 301 for the purposes of calculating the average.

Now, if the Pac-16 is really looking at doing a pod system, maybe rather than geography, they could do it based on academic rankings? How interesting would that look?

Tier 1Tier2Tier 3Tier 4
StanfordUSCUtahOregon State
CalColoradoArizona StateOklahoma
UCLAArizonaWashington StateTexas Tech
WashingtonTexasOregonOklahoma State

Anyways, in regards to academics and expansion, take the poll and let us know what you think…