Which football conference is tops in 2018? Let the numbers guide you

Which football conference is tops in 2018? Let the numbers guide you

Every year we talk about conference domination in college football and on the day of the NFL Draft we always hear about which conference sends more players to the NFL than the others; which lately has been the Southeastern Conference. 

The "It just means more" conference is loaded with talent and for a long time has sent more of that talent to the NFL than any other conference. Last year the SEC saw a massive overhaul in coaching and rightfully so - the coaching for the most part was abysmal and needed change. 

So who has the best conference in 2018 in college football? As we always say, let the numbers guide you and the true story will unfold. Using our metric data for 2018, we have established the best of 2018. Let's take a look. 

Recruiting and talent: 

Talent - it's the lifeblood of your program and will again be the topic starting tonight in the 2018 NFL Draft. The SEC has dominated the talent talk for over a decade and that trend doesn't seem to be slowing down. Based on our three year metric evaluations of the Power Five, the current ranking of conference talent is as follows. 

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Again, this is returning talent for 2018 college football, not taking into account NFL talent on display at the Draft this week. The SEC is again the most talented conference top to bottom, but with the PAC 12 quietly moving just ahead of the BIG 10. The PAC 12 has 57 players that could end up being drafted this weekend, compared to the BIG 10's 60 players

The West Coast League, which is often an afterthought has done a great job at schools like Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon and more, at attracting top end talent. It's not SEC caliber, but it's pretty good. 

The ACC has Clemson and Florida State, but still needs Miami to continue to improve and other schools like Virginia Tech and NC State. 

The BIG 12 is last and I don't think that surprises anyone. Oklahoma, Texas and TCU are the leagues top end recruiters and after that, it's a big drop off. 

Coaching:

ons of coaching changes in the off-season really changed the dynamic at how this year could play out on and off the field. The BIG 10 recently was regarded the best league of coaches and rightfully so with names like Meyer, Franklin, Harbaugh and more. 

But - that has seen a shift as we approach 2018, at least on paper. The PAC 12 now has the best group of college coaches and by a somewhat wide margin. 

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Chris Peterson and David Shaw are as good as any two coaches in the country at Washington and Stanford, and while Clay Helton is been somewhat average, he's sustained at USC. Add in Mike Leach, Kyle Wittingham and Justin Wilcox, that's a really good group of coaches, and that doesn't include new comers Mario Cristobal of Oregon, Chip Kelly at UCLA and Kevin Sumlin at Arizona. 

This league is loaded with big time play callers and side line experience. 

The SEC did themselves a favor this offseason adding Dan Mullen to Florida, Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State and a fresh start at Tennessee and Arkansas. 

Again, the BIG 12 is dead last in this category, after losing Bob Stoops a year ago and really get drug down by having David Beaty at Kansas and Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech; two places we expect coaching changes after the 2018 season. 

Quarterback Play: 

The most important position in football is our last criteria on ranking the conference for 2018. 

The SEC has stretched its legs in 2018 and by our metrics have the best signal callers in the country from top to bottom. The league boasts eight quarterbacks above our average quarterback metric line this year and has draftable commodities for 2019 in Drew Lock, Kyle Shurmur, Jarrett Stidham, Nick Fitzgerald, and Jake Bentley. 

Again, the PAC 12 comes in number two in this category with heavy weight signal callers at Washington, ARizona State and Oregon. 

Jake Browning, Manny Wilkins and Justin Herbert highlight the west coast league, but they have other heavy hitters. The league actually has more quarterbacks above our average quarterback line with nine signal callers. 

Guys like Steven Montez at Colorado, KJ Costello at Stanford, Khalil Tate at Arizona and Gardner Minshew at Washington State give the PAC 12 massive quarterback depth. 

So who's the best in 2018

When we combine all our criteria - well it just means more is more than a slogan. 

The SEC is the best conference in 2018, followed by the PAC 12 and the BIG 10. 

You have to try and get above all the noise of bowl game success, College Football Playoffs and pigeon hole stats. When you look at the coaching in the conference, talent and returning quarterbacks, the SEC is again king of college football in 2018. 

But, keep that TV on late at night and watch the PAC 12. It's gonna be a good year out west. 

2018 Georgia Tech projections on the Hour Glass

2018 Georgia Tech projections on the Hour Glass

Evaluating 2018 College Football Coaching on the Hour Glass

Evaluating 2018 College Football Coaching on the Hour Glass