Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Academic Ranking of the BCS Conferences (and Schools)

Inside Higher Ed, Academic Performance and the BCS, by John V. Lombardi (President, LSU), Elizabeth D. Capaldi (Provost, Arizona State) & Craig W. Abbey (Senior Vice President, SUNY-Buffalo):

For over 10 years, The Center for Measuring University Performance, now located at Arizona State University, has produced an annual report on "The Top American Research Universities" that uses objective data on nine measures to put universities into categories according to their performance. We measure research, of course, by the amount of research expenditures of each university in two categories: total research, which includes all sources, and federal research that includes the peer-reviewed research activities sponsored by the federal government. In addition we collect information on endowment, annual giving, National Academy membership, faculty awards, doctoral degrees awarded, postdoctoral fellowships supported, and average SAT scores of entering students. (For a full discussion of all these measures, see the most recent edition of "The Top American Research Universities" [2010], available online.)

By combining these indexes of academic performance for the members of the conferences, we can produce a reliable indicator of the combined academic distinction of the institutions in each of the six BCS conferences.

  1. Big-10 (55)
  2. Pac-12 (48)
  3. ACC (28.5)
  4. SEC (14)
  5. Big-12 (12)
  6. Big East (8.5)

As a reference, we also constructed an index for the Ivy League, to put all this into perspective. This premier academic conference would fall into second place (51), after the Big-10 (55) and before the Pac-12 (48).

For the individual scores of the 74 BCS schools, as well as the 8 Ivy league schools, see here.

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The factors to measure university performance have nothing to do with why I went to college. Mission statements of universities must have eliminated their original purpose -- to teach.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 30, 2011 7:33:25 AM

I wonder if these are done by medians means etc. As one obvious example the ACC would be pulled up by Duke Virginia et al. But is its median school really better than the Big East? Interesting.

Posted by: mike livingston | Sep 30, 2011 5:29:34 AM

The Index for the Ivy League is misleading since it only has 8 schools whereas most of the BCS conferences have around 12.

Posted by: Jim | Sep 29, 2011 6:47:36 PM

This study is more about BS rather than the BCS.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 29, 2011 5:13:49 PM

I would be slightly more confident in their research if they had put Nebraska in the correct conference. They managed to move Colorado and Utah into the PAC-12, but they still have Nebraska in the Big 12.

Posted by: Steve Bradford | Sep 29, 2011 1:33:33 PM