College Football’s Conference Power Rankings


Nearly every team in the FBS subdivision has played 2 games thus far, some due to Hurricane Isaac or scheduling issues may have only played 1.  It is now time to unveil my initial conference power rankings.

In case you were unfamiliar with the conferences in the FBS, there are 11 of them.  They are the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, Sun Belt, and the WAC.  I have ranked them accordingly based on the play of the members within each conference.  I will start with #11 (lowest ranked conference) and work to #1 (top ranked conference)

Without further ado, lets unveil the initial conference power rankings for the 2012 college football season.

Sep 8, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A

#11 – WAC (Western Athletic Conference)

The WAC is conference on the cusp of extinction.  They do feature some interesting teams that will need to be watched carefully, especially as bowl season comes around.  Some of the teams to keep your eye on are Utah State (big win over rival Utah this past week), Louisiana Tech, and San Jose State (close loss at Stanford two weeks ago).

#10 – Sun Belt

The conference moved up as whole this week due to the unbelievable play of UL-Monroe in its upset at Arkansas.  This conference possesses some sneaky teams that most of the country does not usually hear too much about, unless, again, its during bowl season.  Most college football fans have heard about UL-Monroe’s win over Arkansas, but the conference as a whole has some very athletic teams.  Some of the teams in the Sun Belt include Louisiana-Lafayette (2-0), Florida International (bowl games 2 years in a row), Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, and Troy.  Every year this conference seems to provide 1 or 2 teams that are capable of pulling an upset; this year was no different!

#9 – Conference USA

This conference, to me, always represented the shootout approach.  No amount of points was too many, no amount of throws too much.  Most of the teams in this conference try to bludgeon their opponent by throwing the ball 60 (+) times per game and trying to score 40 (+) per game because they know that their defenses are going to allow just as many.  Well, the times have changed, but not the approach.  Teams like Tulsa will still chuck the ball around the joint, but now they can’t stop teams from scoring more than they can put up.  Teams like Houston have become a shell of their former selves.  Someone has to win this league.  Look for either Southern Mississippi or East Carolina to emerge from the East while Rice or Tulsa should come out of the West.  Either way, yuck!

#8 – MWC (Mountain West Conference)

This is another conference that is likely to disband once schools like Boise State and San Diego State leave for other conferences next year.  The conference as it is constructed this year is supported by its lone major representative, Boise State.  The Broncos lost a hard-fought affair two weeks ago at Michigan State, but they should steam roll their competition in this conference the rest of the year.  Air Force is another school that played a very good game this past week at Michigan.  There are no overall undefeated teams remaining in this conference.

#7 – MAC (Mid-American Conference)

This has now become the conference that the major conferences do not want to schedule.  Why…because AD’s are finding out that they are actually capable of winning and not just collecting a paycheck.  The best example would be Ohio’s victory at Penn State two weeks ago.  The NCAA sanctions have hurt Penn State to be sure, but Ohio was just a better team that day!  While it looks like Ohio should win the MAC-East, the MAC-West could be up for grabs.  Teams like Ball State, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois may have the best shot.

#6 – Big East

I know some of my colleagues at will have a field day with this one, especially the team in last place (that campus at the far left edge of Pennsylvania), but as a whole, this conference is no longer an elite conference.  The fact that its champion gets an automatic invite to a major bowl is really a joke.  This is once the conference that kicked Temple out because it was no longer competitive in football, only to allow it rejoin this past year.  That should tell you all you need to know about the strength of the conference!

For all of the piling on I just did, they do have some redeeming teams like the class of the league, Louisville.  Other teams like South Florida and Cincinnati will be lining up behind the Cardinals this year.  For the sake of the league, they need Louisville to become a really strong team or else this conference does not deserve to send its champion to a major bowl.

#5 – Big Ten

Teams in this conference have shown that they are not ready for the “We’re the best conference in the land!” talk.  The play of the conference stalwarts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, and newcomer – Nebraska, have shown that they cannot defeat teams from other power conferences.

Every year the Big Ten tries to puff out its chest in bowl season, and every year they are swatted away by teams from the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, etc….  No matter what snake oil they try to sell you, the speed of the Big Ten teams, overall, does not compare to the speed of teams in other conferences.  The best team in the Big Ten this year may very well be a team ineligible to go to the conference title game or a bowl game.  No, Penn State fans, I’m not talking about the Nittany Lions, I’m talking about the Buckeyes from Ohio State.  They have a lot of team speed, and may actually have enough weapons to compete nationally.

#4 – ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference)

The strength of the ACC is its Atlantic division.  The matchup between Clemson and Florida State on Sept 22 will most likely determine who comes out of that side of the conference.  In the Coastal division, Virginia Tech looks like the solid favorite to win.  Miami (FL) could pose a threat.  Overall, I can see 8-10 teams from this conference making it to a bowl game this year.

#3 – Big 12

When Oklahoma and Texas decided to stay in the conference and not leave for the Pac-12, this conference remained a force to be reckoned with.  They have since added West Virginia and TCU to the mix.  The addition of those schools has drastically altered the landscape of this conference.  Other teams like Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Kansas also are schools that add to the overall depth and strength of the league.  To date, 6 of the 10 member teams are ranked in the Top-25 polls.  Oklahoma may have a shot at the national title, but to do so, it is going to have to get through an awfully difficult schedule to do it.

#2 – Pac-12

Perhaps no FBS conference had as many big wins as the Pac-12 did this past weekend.  Upset wins by Oregon State over Wisconsin, Arizona over Oklahoma State, and UCLA over Nebraska may have revitalized these once proud schools.  The conference also boasts some of the best schools in the country in USC and Oregon.  Top to bottom, this conference may be the deepest in the country!

#1 – SEC (Southeastern Conference)

Try as people will to say that this conference is not the best, the play of the teams from top to bottom in both the SEC-East and SEC-West seem to prove other wise.  Alabama, the current #1 team in the land, looks as good now as they did last year when they won it all.  Georgia and Florida proved over the weekend that they will need to be contended with in the SEC-East while the SEC-West is a veritable big game each and every week.  The battle for SEC-West supremacy is always worth watching.  Will it be Alabama, or LSU, or even Arkansas?  Perhaps Auburn throws it’s hat into the ring?  No matter how you slice it, the SEC has best teams from top to bottom.

There you have it folks, my inaugural top-11 for 2012.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on my list.

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