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Nov
30
2014

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 14 with Playoff Analysis.

FSU_Title

We are still not any closer to having our 4 playoff teams. All 4 conference championships have playoff implications. Let get right into it…

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

1) SEC – 8.5

As we’ve tried to tell you all year, the SEC is and hasn’t been heads and shoulders above the rest of college football. Let’s not over-react to the ACC going 4 – 0 against the SEC. These were the 4 best ACC teams playing 1 good SEC team, and 3 middle of the pack to bottom ones. That said it proves week in and week out is not a grind in the SEC. Just as with every other conference there are some good teams there and some pretty bad ones. You could easily the argue the Pac 12 is as deep if not deeper. I’m going to keep the SEC at the top of the conference rankings, because I have not forgot SEC West teams Auburn still won at Kansas St.  and LSU beat Wisconsin.

The SEC West is still college football’s strongest division, though recent losses to Missouri and Georgia temper even that.  As far as the SEC’s playoff chances… Mississippi St. is history after losing at Ole Miss. Georgia was finished after losing to Georgia Tech. Alabama is all that realistically remains after winning a shootout with Auburn. Missouri even if they win the SEC, won’t make it. If they win the SEC they would have just 1 quality win (Alabama), no quality wins OOC, and a home loss to Indiana.

Playoff Contenders 

Alabama

Darkhorses

NONE

2) Pac 12 – 8

The Pac 12 as we’ve said is really close to the SEC. Oregon has played the most consistent football in the country since their loss in early October to Arizona. They haven’t won a game by less than a dozen in since that loss. Marcus Mariota is the country’s best player in 2014. Arizona will face Oregon in the Pac 12 title game, and the winner will go to the playoff. Arizona has 2 losses, but none of the ugly variety.

It would help if Arizona had a quality non-conference win, but I think they are fine with a Pac 12 title. USC thumped Notre Dame, but isn’t everyone doing that? Had California been able to beat BYU, I would have pulled the Pac 12 even with the SEC.

Playoff Contenders

Oregon, Arizona

Darkhorses

None

3) Big 12 – 7.5

Baylor and TCU remain on course to be the Big 12′s playoff representative. Kansas St. at 9-2 has a had a strong season, and is a darkhorse if several things go their way next week, including beating Baylor, and TCU gets upset by Iowa St. TCU looks like the best team of the 3, but I just can’t get out of my head that Baylor beat them head to head.

The Big 12 will be hurt by the fact they beat nobody and I mean nobody OOC, unless you want to count TCU’s win over 8-4 Minnesota, which lets be honest doesn’t really move the needle. This will keep the Big 12 from getting two teams in. Their OOC record doesn’t justify it, at least that’s how I’d vote.

Playoff Contenders  

TCU, Baylor

Darkhorses

Kansas St.

4) ACC – 7

When you have a week where you go 4 – 0 against another Power 5 conference you are going to get a lift. That’s what the ACC did against the SEC. Louisville beat Kentucky, Clemson beat South Carolina, Florida State beat Florida. The win that gave the ACC the most credibility was Georgia Tech going into Athens, and beating a top 10 ranked Georgia team.

The ACC Title will feature undefeated FSU and and 10-2 Georgia Tech. FSU is in the playoffs with a win, but if Georgia Tech wins things get interesting. How will committee weight their flourish of a finish beating 3 straight ranked teams? An 11-2 ACC Champion with wins over Clemson, Georgia, and FSU and their other 3 wins since a loss to UNC by more than 3 TDs? You can’t totally dismiss the Yellow Jackets resume, even if it is an extreme longshot to get in.

Playoff Contenders

Florida State

Darkhorses

Georgia Tech

5) Big 10 – 5.5

The Big 10 is the weakest Power 5 conference, and by a considerable margin. Indiana had a good win over Missouri earlier in the year, and Northwestern beat a rapidly sinking Notre Dame team, and that’s about it. The Big 10 miss fired on the biggest OOC stages, but Ohio State is still in the playoff picture if they win the Big 10. QB J.T. Barrett suffered a season ending injury, so how will that affect the committee’s perception of the winner of the Big 10 title game between Ohio State and Wisconsin?

Since I have no clue what the playoff committee values anymore, in my opinion given the Big 10′s lack of quality OOC wins I would scrutinize their champion the most of any conference.

Playoff Contenders

Ohio State

Darkhorses

Wisconsin

The Rest 

No team outside the Power 5 is in the playoff discussion.

Playoff Contenders 

NONE

Darkhorses

NONE

Current Playoff Teams

As my personal criticism of the playoff committee, I don’t think the top 4 seeds order should be released until the final rankings. The playoff committee’s inconsistent and ever changing criteria is causing unnecessary frustration and confusion. It’s one of the improvement points I’d have for them.

In –  Baylor | FSU | Oregon | Alabama

Just Missed – 5) TCU 6) Arizona  7) Ohio St.  8) Georgia Tech



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