The opening few weeks of college football season feature plenty of non-conference matchups. These are ideal for gauging the strength of conferences and seeing how they stack up against each other. We have preconceived notions regarding some of these conferences, but what exactly has happened on the field thus far?
Please note for the purposes of this exercise, any in-conference games are omitted from the respective records of that conference.
Overall Record: 6-6
Record Against the Spread: 6-5-1
ATS record vs. FCS: 2-0-0
ATS record vs. American: 1-0-0
ATS record vs. Conference USA: 0-1-1
ATS record vs. SEC: 0-3-0
ATS record vs. Independent: 2-0-0
ATS record vs. MAC: 1-1-0
The good: For the most part, the ACC did a good job of taking care of business against inferior opposition. NC State, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Virginia all covered spreads of at least three scores. Wake Forest pushed as a 32 point favorite over Old Dominion. Syracuse put together a solid performance against Ohio despite many projecting a down season for the Orange. Florida State erased an 18 point deficit to force overtime as a touchdown underdog against Notre Dame.
The bad: Georgia Tech losing outright as a 19 point favorite is pretty ugly. Duke losing to Charlotte despite being 6 point favorites is not ideal. However, the main takeaway has to be the performance against the SEC. Ole Miss and Alabama dominated Louisville and Miami respectively. Clemson generated absolutely nothing against Georgia.
Overall Record: 5-1
Record Against the Spread: 5-1
ATS record vs. American: 1-0
ATS record vs. MAC: 1-0
ATS record vs. FCS: 1-0
ATS record vs. Big 12: 1-0
ATS record vs. Pac 12: 1-0
ATS record vs. Conference USA: 0-1
The good: The Big Ten is off to a good start in its out of conference schedule. Michigan, Rutgers and Nebraska all won by 30+ points. Maryland won outright as a 2.5 point underdog against West Virginia. Purdue took care of Oregon State as well.
The bad: Illinois lost as a home favorite to UTSA, a classic letdown spot after their big win over Nebraska in Week 0. During in-conference games, Indiana, Northwestern and Nebraska have shown serious flaws. The Penn State vs. Wisconsin matchup was ugly as well.
Overall Record: 9-1
Record Against the Spread: 3-6-1
ATS record vs. FCS: 0-3-1
ATS record vs. Pac 12: 1-0
ATS record vs. American: 1-1
ATS record vs. Big Ten: 0-1
ATS record vs. Sun Belt: 1-1
The good: Kansas State looked very solid in their opening win over Stanford, winning by three scores as only a field goal favorite. Is Texas back? Probably not, but that was a very good win over a solid Louisiana team. Texas Tech outscored Houston 31-0 in the second half to come back and win that game handily.
The bad: Oklahoma needed to hang on for dear life against Tulane, despite being a 31.5 point favorite and holding a 37-14 lead at halftime. It's also not ideal to see schools like South Dakota, Northern Iowa and Missouri State hang right with Big 12 teams in one possession games.
Overall Record: 7-6
Record Against the Spread: 4-9
ATS record vs. Mountain West: 2-3
ATS record vs. FCS: 0-4
ATS record vs. Big 12: 0-1
ATS record vs. Big Ten: 0-1
ATS record vs. SEC: 1-0
ATS record vs. Independent: 1-0
The good: UCLA. Two of the Pac 12's four wins against the spread have come via Chip Kelly's Bruins. Dominant in Week 0 against Hawaii and then getting the outright win over LSU has made the Bruins one of the country's biggest surprises. USC was solid in its win over San Jose State. Arizona hung with BYU for most of the night, covering the two touchdown spread as an underdog.
The bad: Washington losing to Montana? Seriously? At least Utah, Arizona State and Colorado beat their FCS opponents, despite not covering the spread. Washington State lost outright as 17 point favorites against Utah State. California lost to Nevada despite being favored. Stanford looked terrible against Kansas State while Oregon was far from impressive in its win over Fresno State.
Overall Record: 12-2
Record Against the Spread: 8-6
ATS record vs. MAC: 2-2
ATS record vs. Sun Belt: 1-0
ATS record vs. Conference USA: 1-2
ATS record vs. ACC: 3-0
ATS record vs. FCS: 1-1
ATS record vs. Pac 12: 0-1
The good: Georgia got a huge win over Clemson despite being 3 point underdogs. Ole Miss and Alabama took care of Louisville and Miami handily. Auburn scored 60 on Akron while South Carolina shutout Eastern Illinois. Texas A&M, Kentucky and Arkansas all covered spreads of three scores or more.
The bad: Vanderbilt scored 3 points against an FCS school and lost by 20 despite being a three touchdown favorite. Mississippi State found themselves down 20 points in the fourth quarter as a three touchdown favorite. They came back and won the game, but didn't come close to covering.
Week 2 games to watch
Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Tennessee: The SEC has gone 3-0 against the spread against the ACC thus far. Despite that, Tennessee is a home underdog against a solid but unspectacular Pitt team. Can the home dog bark here?
UAB (+24.5) @ Georgia: Georgia is coming off a huge win against Clemson. Despite that, their offense struggled scoring just three points. Will Georgia be able to raise their intensity level against a much lesser opponent? Conference USA has gone 2-1 vs. the SEC against the spread.
Iowa (+4.5) @ Iowa State: Iowa defeated Indiana by 28 points despite being just 3.5 point favorites. On the other hand, Iowa State beat Northern Iowa by just six points despite being 28.5 point favorites. The Big Ten is doing well against the spread and the Big 12 isn't. Will that continue in this rivalry game?