At the request of TowerPower, this week's Conference USA RPI post will give a comparison between C-USA and our buddies over in the Mountain West. The Mountain West is currently ranked the 4th best conference in the nation, while Conference USA checks in at 8th. Here are each team's individual statistics.
|Conference USA Team||RPI Rating||RPI Rank||Moutain West Team||RPI Rating||RPI Rank|
|Conference USA||0.5383||8||Mountain West Conference||0.5654||4|
|UAB Blazers||0.6018||31||San Diego State Aztecs||0.6719||3|
|Memphis Tigers||0.5985||34||BYU Cougars||0.6705||4|
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles||0.587||43||UNLV Runnin Rebels||0.6117||25|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||0.5701||59||Colorado State Rams||0.583||46|
|UTEP Miners||0.5678||62||New Mexico Lobos||0.5529||82|
|UCF Knights||0.5646||69||Air Force Falcons||0.5467||94|
|Tulsa Golden Hurricane||0.5475||90||Utah Utes||0.5354||107|
|East Carolina Pirates||0.512||143||TCU Horned Frogs||0.4845||194|
|Rice Owls||0.4997||160||Wyoming Cowboys||0.4323||276|
|Tulane Green Wave||0.4556||240|
The biggest factor that separates these two conference is the fact the Mountain West has only nine teams. Granted the MWC is extremely good at the top, but they also lack the teams at the bottom that could potentially weigh them down. Conference USA on the other hand is good at the top, but also does have those teams at the bottom that bring their RPI average down.
Just for argument's sake, if you were to throw three teams into the MWC, say Rice, SMU, and Houston, their RPI rating drops down significantly. Their current average RPI rating is 0.5654, but that number would drop down to 0.5494 if those three teams' RPI ratings were factored in. That would drop the Mountain West from 4th to 6th, and just one ten-thousandth of a point ahead of the 7th place Pac-10 conference. That would also close the gap between C-USA and the MWC from 0.0271 to 0.0111. That may not seem like much of a difference, but speaking in terms of RPI that's huge.
As it stands today, the WAC with an RPI rating of 0.5122 (13th), is closer to C-USA, than C-USA is to the 4th place MWC. The Mountain West has done a great job this year, and over the last couple of years at that. C-USA seems to have finally found something as well. This year they were very close to being where the MWC was last year, but unfortunately there was just too much parody in the conference for anyone to really make an impact on the national scene. Maybe next year will be the year that Conference USA finally breaks through.