The smaller conferences, however, do not start conference play until next week. With that being said, here is the final edition of "CFB conference evaluation", evaluating each major conferences' performance against out-of-conference opponents.
While four teams began conference play, the rest of the ACC was busy getting embarrassed. Virginia fell to Southern Miss, NC State lost to Cincinnati by 30, Miami came up short against mighty Kansas State, and Maryland fell at home to Temple, 38-7. Meanwhile, the ACC did record some wins on Saturday. The Hokies beat Marshall, Duke downed lowly Tulane, and Boston College beat Massachusetts, a team that just recently joined the FBS.
Overall grade: C- (the conference's stronger teams were playing ACC games)
Big 12 (3-0)
The Big 12 only played in five games this weekend, but they were flawless against out-of-conference opponents. Texas Tech pulled out a win over Nevada, Baylor dominated Rice, and Kansas State upset Miami on the road, 28-24.
Overall grade: A
Big East (5-2)
Aside from West Virginia's blowout loss to LSU and Pitt's heartbreaking defeat to Notre Dame, the Big East held its' own this weekend. Cincinnati kicked the week off right with a 44-14 win over NC State on Thursday, and Syracuse followed with a controversial win over Toledo. Rutgers and UConn beat up on MAC opponents, and South Florida continued their dream season with a 52-24 win over UTEP.
Overall grade: B- (gotta beat those big schools)
Big Ten (8-2)
All was going fine and well for the B1G, up until about 7pm on Saturday. That was when Minnesota and Indiana played. The conference started out 7-0, but Minnesota was dominated by North Dakota State, and Indiana fell short to North Texas. It seems like every time the B1G has something going for them, one of the maroon teams drops the ball. But hey, it is Indiana and Minnesota. The rest of the conference fared well. The Buckeyes beat down Colorado, Penn State and Michigan State earned easy wins versus MAC opponents, and Illinois moved to 4-0- their best start in over 50 years.
Overall grade: A- (Hoosiers and Gophers will be Hoosiers and Gophers)
Notre Dame pulled out a close victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday, while BYU beat Central Florida and Army was walloped by Ball State. All in all, not much went on this weekend. Navy had a bye, as they prepare for next week's big game versus Air Force.
Overall grade: A-
Mountain West (4-4)
Overall, it was an average weekend for the Mountain West. Boise State and TCU both beat lesser schools, while Colorado State and Air Force both downed even smaller programs. Meanwhile, San Diego State lost to Michigan by 21 and Wyoming fell to Nebraska, both were expected results. On the downside, New Mexico lost to Sam Houston State, who competes in the Southland conference, and Utah State beat UNLV by 25.
Overall grade: B+ (really, which teams actually matter here)
Pac 12 (0-1)
Only one team played an out-of-conference opponent in the Pac 12, as the rest either had a bye or began conference play. In that game, Colorado fell to Ohio State on the road, 37-17. The Pac 12 also hosted four conference games on Saturday, and the Buffaloes begin conference play next week when they host Washington State.
Overall grade: N/A (not enough games to give a grade)
Similar to the Pac 12, the SEC had few out-of-conference games in week four. Auburn escaped with a win over stingy a Florida Atlantic squad, and Mississippi State squeezed by Louisiana Tech in overtime, 26-20. But hey, a win is a win. LSU did the SEC proud in the nightcap, crushing West Virginia on the road, 47-21. It was another strong week for the SEC heading into conference play.
Overall grade: A