College Football’s Conference Power Rankings (Week #6)

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This is the last weekend of college football games before the initial BCS rankings are released this coming Sunday night.  Next week, I will use this segment to release my own top-25.

If you have been following me, you have heard me say since the beginning of the year, that I am staunchly opposed to having rankings until this upcoming weekend.  There is no way to tell who is the best team in college football, let alone the 15th best team, until some games have been played.  Sure, we all like to discuss the rankings over the water cooler or who may be under the radar or overrated, but let the games play out!

If we use the AP rankings for this week (week #7) and compare them to their pre-season rankings, the writers  only have four of the top-10 teams correct (Alabama, Oregon, South Carolina, and LSU).  Kansas State was rated #22 in the initial polls and Notre Dame wasn’t even ranked.

So where am I going with this you might ask.  I think patience is the better part of valor.  Hardly anyone knows who is going to be good and who isn’t.  After 3 weeks of conference play, plus another 4 weeks of non-conference play should give everyone a decent chance to determine who is for real and who isn’t.  Imagine if you were putting out your initial rankings after this week.  How much different would it look compared to the pre-season?  Beside weather forecasting, how many other professions could you be this wrong, and still be considered an expert.

OK, moving off my soapbox, let’s take a look at the conference power rankings for week #6.  There will be some changes from the previous week, so check them out below.

 

October 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions fans cheer during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

 

Reminder -  last week’s rankings will be in (), ↑ = trending upward, ↓ = trending downward, — = no movement:

#11 – Conference USA (11, –):

Yuck!  The only team worth talking about is Tulsa.  The Golden Hurricanes are one of only two teams in the conference with a winning record (UCF is the other).  Tulsa beat a pesky Marshall team in, what else, a shootout.  At this point, if Tulsa does not represent this league as conference champion, then it will have only minor representation in the bowls this year.

Top 25 Teams: 0

Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 6-33

Nonconference record (Total): 11-34

As it stands now, I would expect 3-4 teams to qualify for bowl games: Tulsa, East Carolina, Marshall, UCF

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

East Division – UCF

West Division – Tulsa

Conference Champion – Tulsa

 

#10 – Sun Belt (#9, ↓):

Middle Tennessee, fresh off their white-washing of Georgia Tech, was on full display against UL-Monroe.  They did not take advantage of their opportunity to establish themselves as a serious threat to the top of the league.  The leaders of the league remain unchanged with UL-Lafayette and Western Kentucky leading at 2-0 and UL-Monroe trailing by a 1/2 game at 1-0.  Western Kentucky at Troy will be showcased on ESPNU this Thursday night.  It will be interesting to see how good the Hilltoppers really are.  Most remember them as the team that shocked the Wildcats of Kentucky earlier this year.

Top 25 Teams: 0

Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 10-18

Nonconference record (Total): 16-19

As it stands now, I would expect 4-5 teams to be bowl eligible: UL-Lafayette, Western Kentucky, UL-Monroe, Troy, Middle Tennessee (possibly), Arkansas State (possibly)

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

No Conference Championship Game!

Conference Champion – UL-Monroe

 

#9 – Western Athletic Conference [WAC] (10, ↑):

The members of this league have been making strides week-by-week.  This week they feature their first top-25 rated team in the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech.  The Tech-sters will be putting that shiny new ranking on the line as they play host to the Texas A&M Aggies.  This is a makeup game from the beginning of the season due to Hurricane Isaac.  Coach Dykes has the Bulldogs offense clicking on  all cylinders, but his defense is going to have to improve if they want to stop freshman phenom Johnny Manziel.

New Mexico State is the only team to have played 2 conference games thus far, and they are 0-2.  Louisiana Tech should get challenged for the league title by UT-San Antonio, San Jose State, and Utah State.  The Utah State Aggies are coming off a tough loss at BYU, but they still sport the 17th rated defense in the country.  Keep your eye on the teams in this league.  I can promise you they will upset a few office bowl sheets!

Top 25 Teams: 1 (both polls)

Nonconference record (vs. FBS):12-13

Nonconference record (Total): 19-14

As it stands now, I would expect 4 teams to be bowl eligible: UT-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Utah State, San Jose State

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

No Conference Championship Game!

Conference Champion – Louisiana Tech

 

#8 – Middle American Conference [MAC] (7, ↓):

I felt it was time to move this conference down a bit as their top team, Ohio University, narrowly escaped a loss for the second straight week.  They still remain unbeaten at 6-0, but they need to get their act together before they get to the MAC title game…if they get there.  The Bobcats are getting a challenge from teams like Kent State and Miami (OH).  The RedHawks of Miami lost out on the chance to get the conference’s signature win of the weekend as they lost to Cincinnati.

On the Western side of the MAC conference, it looks to be a two-team race between Toledo and Northern Illinois.  Both teams are 5-1 overall and undefeated in conference play.

I still believe that this conference is probably the deepest of any of the non-AQ conferences, but the lack of any marquee wins lately has caused the conference to dip.  Still, don’t be surprised to see this league rebound as we get deeper into conference play.  I still stand by my division winner and my conference champion, but its starting to feel a bit tenuous.

Top 25 Teams: 0

Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 11-22

Nonconference record (Total): 21-23

As it stands now, I would expect 5-8 teams to be bowl eligible: Ohio, Kent State, Miami (OH), Toledo, Northern Illinois, Ball State (possibly), Bowling Green (possibly), Western Michigan (possibly)

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

East Division – Ohio

West Division – Northern Illinois

Conference Champion – Ohio

 

#7 – Mountain West Conference [MWC] (8, ↑):

The conference moves up a spot this week, due to the quality of play of both Boise State and Nevada.  The Wolfpack are flying under the radar of most of the nation.  Nevada’s offense is ranked 4th in the nation and is led by QB Cody Fajardo and RB Stefphon Jefferson.  The match-up between Boise State and Nevada in Reno on December 1st should undoubtedly be for the WAC title.  Fresno State is also an interesting team.  They get a chance to show their potential might this weekend as they travel to Boise, ID to take on the Broncos on the Smurf Turf.  Fresno State is currently tied for the conference lead with Nevada.

Perhaps the most surprising loss from this past weekend was the Air Force Falcons overtime loss to Navy.  Of course when service academies play one another, anything goes, but still Navy has struggled to score points and Air Force has one of the most proficient running games in the country.

Top 25 Teams: 1 (both polls)

Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 11-20

Nonconference record (Total): 17-23

As it stands now, I would expect 3-4 teams to be bowl eligible: Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State (possibly)

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

No Conference Championship Game!

Conference Champion – Nevada

 

#6 – Atlantic Coast Conference [ACC] (4, ↓):

I think the ego of the ACC has definitely been bruised with the loss of Florida State to unranked North Carolina State.  The conference now has no remaining unbeaten teams.  Only two of its members were ranked in the top-125 this past week (Florida State and Clemson) and the only other schools receiving votes was Duke and NC State.

The teams of the conference would seemingly have no shot at playing for the national title now with Florida State’s loss.  Another surprising defeat was Miami (FL) to Notre Dame.  The defeat itself was not entirely surprising, but how lopsided the game was was surprising.  Miami had been showing signs of life after they were soundly defeated by Kansas State, but with their loss and the loss of 3 of their last 4 by Virginia Tech, the ACC Coastal Division, is looking even more shaky than at the outset of the year.

Florida State and Clemson are still the league’s best teams but unfortunately they are in the same division.  Too bad the league can’t just let them both play for the title again, it would be the best match-up the ACC could offer!

Top 25 Teams: 2 (both polls)

Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 13-14

Nonconference record (Total): 26-14

As it stands now, I would expect 6-7 teams to be bowl eligible: Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina State, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, Duke, Wake Forest (possibly)

Way Too Early Conference Title Game Projections:

Atlantic Division – Florida State

Coastal Division – Miami

Conference Champion – Florida State

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Topics: ACC Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference, Big Ten Conference, Conference USA, MAC Conference, Mountain West Conference, Pac-12 Conference, SEC Conference, Sun Belt Conference, WAC Conference

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  • http://twitter.com/TimTolleyFS Tim Tolley

    I’m still not sure about the Big Ten…they might just be beating up on other bad teams in the conference!

  • http://twitter.com/realhuntdog23 Corey Hunter

    You could be right, but the ACC is getting worse by the week. Honeslty, the only conference that has a compelling argument to be in the top 4 is the Big East. They have 3 teams ranked in the top-25 this week. I find it a joke that a 3-2 Michigan team tha has beaten no one is ranked ahead of teams like Ohio that are at least unbeaten regardless of their opponent.