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Sep
21
2014

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 4

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The ACC was this week’s big loser, but Florida State remained right in the middle of the playoff picture. The SEC also took a bit of a hit, and the Big 10 doesn’t have an awful weekend.

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

1) SEC – 9

The SEC is clearly the country’s best conference, but it isn’t perfect. The SEC East has some holes in it. A terrible Vanderbilt team pushed #14 South Carolina, and #18 Missouri lost at home to a very mediocre Indiana squad. Auburn was not very impressive at Kansas St. either. LSU losing at home to an improving but likely at least 3 loss Mississippi St. team is a crippling blow to at least one the SEC’s playoff contenders.

One by one the SEC is picking itself apart. The conference season in the SEC will be very interesting, but the next week doesn’t offer much in the way compelling matchups. Tennessee at Georgia and Missouri at South Carolina don’t move the needle.

Playoff Contenders 

Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn

Darkhorses

Ole Miss, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi St., LSU

2) Pac 12 – 8

It was a pretty quiet week in the Pac 12, but there was one notable win. Utah went to Michigan and won 26-10. This is a significant non-conference win, because Utah is not considered a top-tier Pac 12 team and it shows the depth of the Pac 12. Oregon struggled with a bad Washington St. team.

UCLA heads to Arizona St. on Thursday night in what could be a playoff elimination game for both.

Playoff Contenders

Oregon

Darkhorses

Arizona St., UCLA, Stanford

3) Big 12 – 7.5

If Kansas St. had been able to knock off Auburn, that would have been major points for the Big 12. In my estimation, they outplayed Auburn for 85% of the game, but several red zone mistakes did them in. Kansas did beat a Central Michigan team that had a win over Purdue.

Oklahoma continues to look like one of the country’s 4 best teams. In fact, I’d rank them number 1 right now.

Playoff Contenders 

Oklahoma, Baylor

Darkhorses

NONE

4) ACC – 6

The ACC did itself no favors this week. The conference went 0-3 against the Big 10, and North Carolina was embarrassed at East Carolina. Virginia lost 41-33 at BYU. When your best OOC win Wake Forest over Army it wasn’t a good week. Pittsburgh’s loss to Iowa was probably the conference’s most disappointing result of the weekend.

Clemson has top 25 talent, and will at some point re-enter the rankings at some point, but right now they sit 1-2 after the tough loss to FSU. There isn’t much consistency in this league, but Duke can make a real statement getting to 5-0 if they at Miami next week. Georgia Tech might be the country’s most surprising 4-0 team.

Playoff Contenders

Florida State

Darkhorses

Duke

5) Big 10 – 4.5

I’ve ripped the Big 10 the last 2 weeks, and they have absolutely deserved every bit of it. This week the Big 10 played like they had enough. The conference went 3-0 against the ACC led by Iowa’s win at Pittsburgh. Maryland took care of Syracuse, and Nebraska beat Miami. The crowning achievement was Indiana going on the road and beating a ranked SEC team in the Missouri Tigers. The Hoosiers aren’t considered a Big 10 contender, so there might just be a little more depth to the Big 10 than we thought.

The one blemish was Michigan losing at home to Utah. I’m curious to see how Ohio State fares against the always dangerous Cincinnati Bearcats this week. Michigan St. is slowly moving back into the playoff picture.

Playoff Contenders

Michigan St.

Darkhorses

Wisconsin

The Rest 

BYU after beating Virginia has a tremendous chance to run the table this year. It is a disgrace they have virtually no shot at the playoffs. The Cougars are a very good football team. Notre Dame plays a national schedule, but unless they go undefeated they could go 11-1 against FSU and Alabama and they aren’t getting in the playoffs. They should have no problem with Syracuse this week.

Playoff Contenders 

NONE

Darkhorses

BYU, Notre Dame


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