U.S. News Rankings

U.S. News & World Report Rankings by Conference

The U.S. News & World Report published their annual College and University Rankings.

The U.S. News & World Report publishes many different rankings pertaining to colleges and universities in the United States.  The publication publishes undergraduate rankings in August/September and graduate school rankings in March.  Fun fact:  The magazine also created rankings for nursing facilities.  For fans of particular schools, this becomes a subject that is odd bragging material since they did not attend the institution.  For faculty, administrators, alumni and students, it becomes either a point of pride or contention.  Examining the National Universities and determining which conference has the strongest academics is an interesting exercise.

The conferences examined:  The American, ACC (since this is a Basketball publication – Notre Dame counts), Big Ten, Big XII, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC.  Each conference will have a mean and median calculated.

The American

Tulane is the class of the State of Louisiana and the American Athletic Conference.  Memphis was not ranked, but was placed in the Tier 2 rankings and considering that the publication did not rank Tier 2 institutions they received a ranking of 221 for calculation purposes because the poorest ranked school was 220.


Every institution is in the Top 100 except Louisville.  Notably, Clemson fell down to #66.

Big Ten

The Big Ten is an academically strong conference with all members being a part of the prestigious Association of American Universities.


The University of Texas and a pair of private institutions are way out in front of the rest of the conference.

Big East

Creighton, Butler, Xavier and Providence are all well-regarded private colleges and universities, but they are not considered national research institutions by U.S. News and World Report.  However, they are ranked very highly on a regional level.  Keep in mind, their enrollment numbers are significantly lower than the other institutions featured in this article.


The four institutions in California lead the way followed by the flagship institutions of the states that have legalized marijuana.  There is such a difference between the California schools and the non-California schools.  The California schools are really holding up the mean and median.


These rankings really go off the rails after Texas A&M.  It is hardly surprising that an elite private school and prominent public schools in the three most populated states of the conference lead the pack.  The top three ranked institutions would fit well academically with the ACC while the rest of the conference fits better with the Big XII.

Ranking the Conferences by the Median Ranking:

  1. ACC

  2. Big Ten

  3. Pac-12

  4. Big East

  5. SEC

  6. Big XII

  7. The American

The rankings are the same for the mean.   The SEC can claim academic bragging rights over the Big XII and the American Athletic Conference, but that is all.  The more coastal oriented conferences fared better in the rankings.

Of course, the college/university experience is what one does with it.  Just don’t claim academic bragging rights if you did not attend the school, it is really awkward and embarrassing.