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Sep
01
2014

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 1

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With the new 4 team playoffs starting, conference strength is going to scrutinized more than ever. You think SEC chest pumping was bad before you haven’t seen anything yet. Their fans overdo it, no question, but having the other teams in your conference do well especially out of conference matters. In addition there will be a sizable chunk of change for conferences that have a playoff participant ($6 Million) and a team selected for a non-playoff Access bowl ($4 Million per team). That’s extra $$$ outside of your power 5 contract bowls.

So if you root for your school to have less money then so be it. I don’t understand it though.  That’s why this year we are going to ranking each conference against each other on a weekly basis.

We’ll give each conference a relative strength value 1-10.

1) SEC – 9.5

The SEC West is a monster. Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU are all excellent teams. Texas A&M was brilliant destroying South Carolina in Columbia and LSU got a nice non-conference win over Wisconsin. Alabama still has secondary issues, but survives a test against West Virginia. Ole Miss was sloppy beating an average Boise St. team. The East isn’t spectacular, but Georgia look very strong against rebuilding Clemson. Vanderbilt had the conference’s one black eye with a humiliating 30 point home loss to Temple.

Playoff Contenders 

Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia

Darkorses

Ole Miss

2) Big 12 – 8.5

The Big 12 had a pretty impressive week. Oklahoma St. and West Virginia, two teams not expected to contend for the Big 12 title, pushed the #1 and #2 teams in the country and nearly pulled off the upsets over Florida State and Alabama. It’ wasn’t all good for the Big 12. Iowa State lost to a FCS opponent North Dakota St. by 20… at home, and Texas Tech struggled to beat something from the FCS called Central Arkansas.

Playoff Contenders 

Oklahoma, Baylor

Darkhorses

Texas, Kansas St.

3) Pac 12 – 8

The Pac 12 was supposed to challenge the SEC as the top conference in the land, but it wasn’t a good week for the conference. Pac 12 contender and top 10 ranked UCLA narrowly avoided losing to a Virginia team coming off a winless ACC Season. Washington barely beat a bad Hawaii team 17-16. Colorado lost to Colorado State, and Washington State took a semi-ugly home loss to Rutgers. California winning at Northwester did help salvage things. The Pac 12 can help re-establish itself this week when Oregon plays the Big 10’s best team Michigan St.

Playoff Contenders

Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC

Darkhorses

Arizona St.

4) ACC – 6

The ACC had several close calls, but avoided any truly embarrassing losses. I would hardly call Wake Forest losing to Louisiana Monore on the road by 7 embarrassing, unless Wake Forest goes on to win 4 or more ACC games. The Deacs are likely to be the ACC’s worst team. Clemson faded late against Georgia in an expected loss, and Florida State wasn’t sharp against Oklahoma State.

The Noles are still one of the country’s best teams. Virginia gave a surprisingly inspired performance against UCLA, that opened a lot of eyes. The rest of the games went to form if barely… * cough * Syracuse * cough *. The ACC’s only marquee non-conference next week is Virginia Tech/Ohio State. The Hokies will be underdogs, but have a shot.

Playoff Contenders

Florida State

Darkhorses

North Carolina, Louisville

5) Big 10 – 5.5

The Big 10’s most notable win was Rutgers winning at Washington State. Penn State winning on a late FG against a UCF team that was shadow of it’s 2013 BCS team hardly impressed anyone. Wisconsin wilted against LSU in a win the Big 10 really could have used. Ohio State struggled with Navy, and Northwestern lost at home to a California team that won 1 game last season. Next week will either push the Big 10 ahead, or further down the rankings.

If Michigan St. can’t win at Oregon, the Big 10 will really have an uphill battle to get a team into the 4 team playoff.

Playoff Contenders

Ohio State, Michigan St.

Darkhorses

Nebraska, Wisconsin

The Rest 

If BYU beats Texas this week, it’s not out of the question they could run the table and crash the playoff party. Notre Dame is also in the picture as long as they keep winning. They have Michigan this week.

Playoff Contenders 

NONE

Darkhorses

BYU, Notre Dame


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