Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 1 with Playoff Analysis.


Why am I discussing conference power rankings? Well because as teams start playing each other in their conference, the strength of a conference determines the quality of your wins as the playoffs approach. It matters so let’s get right into it.

Let me point out on my philosophy on these rankings – you’re most recent  OOC results count a lot, and you’ll see me reference that throughout the season.

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

Let me explain my relative rankings

0-5 : Conference lacks depth no elite teams

6-7: Conference lacks depth, and there are 1-2 elite teams, and 1-2 quality teams

7-8: At least 2 elite teams, and at least 2 quality teams.

8-9: 3 elite teams, and at least 2 quality teams

9-10: 1/2 of conference is elite and/or quality teams.

1) Big 10 – 7.7

The Big 10 look good this past week. Ohio State and Michigan appear to be playoff contenders. Wisconsin got the huge win over LSU, and only Northwestern going down to Western Michigan was the only real blemish.

Rutgers lost to Washington but that was no surprise.

Next week there is Illinois vs UNC, Penn State vs Pitt, and Iowa State vs Iowa. Let’s see if the Big 10 can hold on to the top spot.

Playoff Contenders

Ohio State, Michigan

In the Playoff Picture

Michigan State, Wisconsin

2) ACC – 7.5

It was a solid week for the ACC. Clemson played at half speed at Auburn and controlled the game from start to finish until a shaky final 3 minutes. The defense looked dominant. Florida State spotted Ole Miss 22 points, and then played the best 2nd half of the weekend to blow the Rebels away. Louisville looked great in their opener.

Had UNC been able to hold off Georgia, I’d probably have the ACC #1. The only real black eye of the weekend was Virginia getting trounced by FBS schools Richmond by 17.

This weekend the ACC can push for the top spot. There are several notable OOC games, Pitt vs Penn State, UNC vs Illinois, Virginia Tech vs Tennessee, and Oregon vs Virginia. Only Virginia looks like a sure loss.

Playoff Contenders 

Clemson, Florida State

In the Playoff Picture


3) Big 12 – 7.0

It was a mixed bag for the Big 12 this weekend. When your pre-season favorite Oklahoma loses to Houston that’s not a good look. I know Houston is good, but that’s hurts the Big 12. Iowa State losing Northern Iowa was also bad. Kansas State played decent, but lost to Stanford. There is no shame there.

West Virginia as expected handled a bad Missouri team. The good news for the Big 12 is that Texas beat top 10 ranked Notre Dame. That was a huge win for Texas and Big 12.

This week Arkansas plays TCU, Texas Tech plays Arizona State, and Iowa State plays Iowa.

Playoff Contenders


In the Playoff Picture

TCU, Texas

4) SEC – 6.5

Has the SEC ever been as down as what we saw the weekend? A complete meltdown, with OOC losses everywhere -> Kentucky loses to Southern Miss, Auburn loses to Clemson, Miss. State loses to South Alabama, LSU loses to Wisconsin, Ole Miss loses to Florida State, Missouri loses to West Virginia. It didn’t stop there as Arkansas and Tennessee nearly lost at home to Louisiana Tech and Appalachian State.

Thankfully for the SEC Alabama is still Alabama and wiped out USC. Texas A&M got a nice over UCLA and Georgia beat a good UNC team. That said this weekend is going to be almost impossible to recover from. The SEC will get no SOS bump this year, not with that many early season OOC losses.

Next week Tennessee plays Virginia Tech. If the Vols lose that one, the SEC will push for the bottom of these standings.

Playoff Contenders  


In the Playoff Picture

Georgia, Tennessee

5) Pac 12 – 6.3

Thankfully for the SEC, there was one conference that looked even worse this weekend. The Pac 12 face-planted in 2 of their biggest games. USC didn’t even compete with Alabama losing 52-6. UCLA a darkhorse playoff pick by many lost at Texas A&M. Arizona lost to BYU. Washington State took an ugly loss to Eastern Washington and Oregon State took an L to Minnesota.

Stanford did beat middle of the pack Big 12 team Kansas State, so there was that.

The conference lacks depth and may lack an elite team. I’m not sure Stanford is at the level of FSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama.

This week the Pac 12 has some games that could help restore it’s stature. BYU and Utah hookup, Texas Tech/Arizona State play and Washington State/Boise State play. There is also Oregon and Virginia, but the Pac 12 won’t get much credit for that game. The Hoos are awful.

Playoff Contenders


In the Playoff Picture


The Rest 

Houston served notice they are going to be in the playoff mix with a resounding win at Oklahoma. Let me say this – if they run the table which would include a win over Louisville too, that is a playoff team.

Notre Dame without the benefit of a conference championship game will have a difficult time recovering to get back into the playoffs after losing to Texas. They must win out.

Playoff Contenders 


In the Playoff Picture


My 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.

If I had a vote this is who I would put in the playoff right now.

In –   Clemson | Alabama | Florida State | Ohio State

Just Missed – 5) Houston  6) Michigan 7) Stanford 8) Georgia

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