Ranking of Conferences Limits SWAC/MEAC teams’ Opportunity to Crack Football Polls

Despite Alcorn’s three game winning streak since dropping the season opener to Georgia Tech, the Braves have still not cracked the top 25 Football Poll. With that in mind, there are many scenarios that could keep the defending conference champions out of the top rankings the entire season even if they don’t lose another game. These projections however are not limited to the Braves. According to Hero Sports ranking methodology, the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference are not considered to be an elite conference at the Football Championship Series (FCS) level.

Going into week five of the 2015 season, the MEAC and SWAC were ranked 11th and 12th respectively among 13 conferences. The Pioneer League is the only conference to fall lower. As a result, each league’s top teams seem to find difficulty reaching the poll.

After four games the Braves found themselves receiving enough votes good for being the 34th best team in the country. Bethune-Cookmanstood four spots below at 38th.

In contrast to inferior records, 11 schools are ranked higher than the Braves and Wildcats including Cal-Poly who went into week five with a 1-3 record. The Mustangs however are members of the Big Sky Conference which currently stands as the second best conference among FCS leagues.

As a tool for measurement, Hero Sports uses strength of schedule along with offense and defense scoring averages to make up rankings. Alcorn’s schedule strength is 113th in the nation. In addition the Braves along with Texas Southern are the only two schools who have scored more points than they have allowed.

IF there is any constellation to the difficulty of reaching the top 25 poll, SWAC and MEAC fans can look to 2014 as some inspiration.

Alcorn cracked the poll on one occasion a year ago, but dropped out after a loss to Grambling. However, the Braves never returned to the poll despite finishing 10-3 and winning the conference title.

Hero Sports is a ranking algorithm and sports media site that maximizes the exposure of schools by giving them an equal playing field to distribute their content. The various advanced metrics they display are of their own creation and the result of seasons of simulations. They are a labor of love and a constant learning experience, in which fans may not always agree with, but the goal is just point to the numbers.

By Sedrick Durr
Jackson Advocate Sports Writer