College Football’s Conference Power Rankings (Week #3)

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#5 – Big Ten (5, ↓):

Many readers were upset that I could rank the Big Ten this low last week, especially ranking them below conferences like the ACC.  My response is “what has the Big Ten done so far this year?”  The non-sanctioned class of the Big Ten was Michigan State.  Their performance on national television against Notre Dame indicated that they weren’t ready to be top-echelon team.  Wisconsin, another team thought to contend for national supremacy was very lucky to escape with a win against Utah State, a week after suffering a loss at Oregon State.  Teams like Michigan and Nebraska have beaten teams of lower ilk, but have been manhandled when they have faced better competition.  Ohio State, while undefeated was lucky to escape with a win over California whose only win was against FCS Southern Utah.

Right now, it can be argued that the best team in the Big Ten is Northwestern.  They are unbeaten and have 3 wins over AQ schools (Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College).  Other than Northwestern and Ohio State, the only unbeaten team in the conference is Minnesota.  Most likely the best win by a conference member would be Michigan State’s opening game win over Boise State.  To date, no conference games have been played.  The combined record of the 12 conference members is 26-10.  On a positive note for the conference, every team in the league has won at least 2 games except Penn State which has only 1 win.

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

Every year this conference and the Big Ten both seem to sport the most disappointing teams from where they were projected to be at the start of the year.  The Big Ten has already fallen off considerably, while the ACC just lost one of their bell cows, in VA Tech.  VA Tech was stunned by Pittsburgh over the weekend.  That loss dampened the momentum of teams at the top of the league, but the ACC still has some highly ranked teams.  Florida State and Clemson, two of those top-10 teams and ACC Atlantic division rivals, will battle it out this weekend in Tallahassee.

Florida State leads the ACC Atlantic division with a 1-0 mark while Miami (FL) and VA Tech also have 1-0 marks in the ACC Coastal division.  The lone unbeatens are Clemson and Florida State.  Probably the best win by a league member would be VA Tech’s win over Georgia Tech in the opening week of games or Clemson’s win over Auburn.  As league play heats up, the tenor of the games will change, and survival of the fittest will become the phrase by which to live.  The overall record of teams in the league is 24-12.

#3 – Pac-12 (2, ↓):

The Pac-12 drops a spot in this week’s rankings due to the loss of national power Southern California.  Now, I understand that USC was beaten by another Pac-12 team in Stanford, but in my opinion, the loss lowers the overall best teams in the conference while raising the level of the upper-middle teams.  Stanford certainly surprised many people with how well they were able to pressure Barkley and keep his speedy wideouts from being able to get separation and make plays.

The overall depth of this league remains strong though.  While USC, Oregon, and now Stanford are the elite members of the league, teams like UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State, and Arizona are making their push to be included.  This is a league where a school’s final record may not be indicative of how well they played during the year.

The Pac-12 is made up of 2 divisions (North and South) each comprised of 6 teams each.  Stanford and USC kicked off the conference games this past weekend.  Look for Stanford and Oregon to battle it out in the Northern division while USC is still the favorite in the South, but UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State will have something to say about it.  Currently, five teams remain unbeaten.  They are Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, and UCLA.  The conference has had a few top games.  They would include UCLA’s win over Nebraska, Oregon State’s win over Wisconsin, Arizona’s win over Oklahoma State, and this past weekend’s game of Stanford over USC.  The overall conference record of the 12 member teams is 24-10.

#2 – Big 12 (3, ↑):

The rank of this conference rose this week because of the overall depth and strength of the member teams.  Depending upon which major poll you look at this week, the Big 12 has 5 or 6 teams ranked in the top-25.  This is the type of conference that every team is going to bludgeon each other, and the one left standing at the end will be declared the winner.  So far, Oklahoma is carrying the flag for the conference, but breathing down their necks are West Virginia, Texas, and Kansas State.  Texas had a big win as they traveled to Oxford, MS and torched the Rebels while TCU beat conference foe Kansas.

I really look for this conference to remain in the top-3 all year.  Of the 10 league members, 8 remain undefeated.  TCU is leading the league with a 1-0 mark, but conference play gets into full swing this weekend.  This past week Oklahoma was off, but they will face a stiff test this week when Kansas State comes calling.  Texas visits Oklahoma State, while West Virginia hosts Baylor in their first ever Big 12 game.  The best win by a conference member would likely be Kansas State’s victory over Miami (FL) or Texas’s win at Ole Miss over the weekend.  The overall record of the 10 league members is a staggering 23-3; by far the best of any conference!

#1 – SEC [Southeastern Conference] (1, –):

Once again the best conference in these rankings is the SEC.  The conference is so deep, and almost every week there is a big game that can change the landscape of the league.  This past week was no different as Tennessee played host to Florida.  The game was a see-saw affair until Florida imposed it’s will in the second half to pull away for the victory.  Other important games included Alabama showing that they may be the nation’s best as they defeated Arkansas while Missouri bounced back from their conference-opening loss to Georgia by defeating Arizona State.

The overall depth of the conference teams combined with how good each team is leaves little doubt that the SEC is once again the cream of the crop as far as FBS conferences go.  Alabama and LSU are the #1 and #2 teams in this weeks AP/USA Today Polls.  Currently, four of the top-10 teams in the land reside on the SEC.  The best win for a league member would likely be Alabama;s opening game win over Michigan, or Georgia’s win at Missouri, or perhaps Florida’s win this past weekend at Tennessee.  Florida currently leads the SEC East with 2-0 record while Georgia and South Carolina are 1-0 respectively.  In the SEC-West Alabama and Mississippi State both sport 1-0 conference records.  The remaining unbeaten teams are Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi State, and LSU.  The overall record for the 14 members is 29-12.

There you go folks; my conference rankings for week #3.  What;s your rankings?  Do you agree or disagree with where teams are ranked?  I appreciate and look forward to eveeryone’s comments!

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