Ever since the Big East lost Rutgers and Louisville, and then added East Carolina and Tulane to shore up their league, there have been many of arguments about what is the better league. There has already been a post on this site about what league has the better television market, and the Big East has the edge on that font. Market size is key for securing a television rights deal.
Now after a few weeks of gathering data, as well as being lazy, we have number from Football Outsiders combined F/+ rankings from 2008 to pre bowl 2012 season. That is five years and plenty of data to consider and make a sound judgement for which league has the better teams. There is also a breakdown of offensive, defensive and special team rankings as well.
For the sake of argument, I have Boise State and San Diego State in the Mountain West, plus I started using BYU because they have been discussed about joining either the Mountain West or Big East. Below is a look at the past five years of F/+ rankings, and make sure to check the tabs at the bottom to cycle through the years:
After looking at the average numbers, first it is no shock that Boise State is the top team, and it is not even close. They are the only top 25 team of the bunch. One other shocker is that New Mexico was not the worst team over the past five years, and also that Memphis was slightly better ranked than Wyoming.
Overall, it is the Big East which has the better league in regards to competition, with all but two schools who are ranked in the top 100; while the Mountain West has four.
|Mountain West||Big East||Independent|
|Boise State - 8.4||Cincinnati - 29.2||BYU - 35.8|
Nevada - 58
|Connecticut - 47.0|
|Air Force - 64.8||South Florida - 47.8|
|Fresno State - 68
||Houston - 53.2|
|San Diego State - 74||Central Florida - 54.4|
|Utah State - 78.2||Navy - 61|
|Hawaii - 85.4||Temple - 61.4|
|San Jose State - 87.8||East Carolina - 69.6|
|Colorado State - 102.2||SMU - 77|
|Wyoming - 104.8||Memphis - 103.6|
|UNLV - 105.2||Tulane - 112.4|
|New Mexico - 109.4|
So there you all have it, the Big East will still be a better league than the Mountain West, even if Boise State and San Diego State stay in the Mountain West. Even if the Mountain West to somehow coax BYU to return, the Big East would still be better.