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Sep
18
2016

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 3 with Playoff Analysis.

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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 – your 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 – 8.5

The Big 10 is strong especially in the upper half, and they have the wins to prove it. This past week was a good one. Ohio State wiped out Oklahoma. Michigan struggled a bit, but beat Colorado. Northwestern knocked off Duke. The real eye opening OOC wins were Nebraska defeating Oregon and Michigan State eliminating Notre Dame from the playoff chase – on the road.

Sure there was Iowa going down to North Dakota State, and Illinois lost Western Michigan, but no other conference has done more this year. This is the country’s best conference and it’s really not that close at the moment.

There isn’t much OOC this week, but Indiana plays Wake Forest and Minnesota faces Colorado State. Wisconsin vs Michigan State is a big in conference game.

Playoff Contenders

Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State

In the Playoff Picture

Nebraska

2) SEC – 7.5

The SEC’s only loss OOC this past week was Vanderbilt getting thumped by Georgia Tech to drop the SEC to 2-3 against the ACC this year. Alabama struggled with Ole Miss, but survived. Tennessee held off Ohio and Georgia nearly lost to a bad Missouri team. LSU still can’t get the offense going even against a Mississippi State team that lost to South Alabama. Texas A&M is one of the few SEC teams to exceed pre-season expectations as they took down Auburn.

The SEC is barely holding off the ACC for the 2nd position here, but the bottom of the ACC is probably worse than anything in the SEC.

There aren’t any real note worthy OOC games for the SEC this week. They aren’t catching the Big 10 this year. Some decent in-conference matchups this week as Georgia plays Ole, Tennessee plays Florida, and Arkansas plays Texas A&M.

Playoff Contenders  

Alabama

In the Playoff Picture

Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M

3) ACC – 7.4

The ACC had a couple of pretty good OOC wins this past week. Georgia Tech played well routing Vanderbilt 38-7. Miami was an trendy upset pick against Appalachian State, but rolled to an impressive win.

If Pittsburgh could have won at Oklahoma State I would have moved the ACC ahead of the SEC, but the Panthers lost late. There were some ugly losses this past week though. Syracuse got crushed by South Florida and Virginia went down to UCONN. The Hoos are one of the worst teams in the country.

Louisville’s brilliant performance against Florida State put them right in the playoff chase.

This week reeling Florida State plays a dangerous South Florida team. A Noles loss would really hurt the ACC. Virginia Tech plays ACC killer East Carolina, and Duke is probably in big trouble against Notre Dame. Syracuse is the next ACC opponent for UCONN, and does anyone think Virginia can beat Central Michigan?

Playoff Contenders 

Clemson, Louisville

In the Playoff Picture

Miami

5) Pac 12 – 7.0

The Pac 12 has two very good teams Stanford and Washington. After that it gets real thin. Oregon losing at Nebraska was a bad loss for the Pac 12. There was good news though. California added to the Big 12’s woes by beating Texas, and UCLA beat BYU. Colorado lost to Michigan, but that wasn’t surprising.

Boise State vs Oregon State is the only OOC game for the Pac 12 this week.

The Pac 12’s best teams Stanford and Washington face road tests in conference at UCLA and Arizona. The Pac 12 isn’t deep, so a loss would be hard to recover from.

Playoff Contenders

Stanford

In the Playoff Picture

Washington

5) Big 12 – 5.5

The nation’s worst conference played like it this weekend. Oklahoma was soundly beaten by Ohio State, and Texas lost to a mediocre California team. Oklahoma St beat Pittsburgh salvaging something out the weekend. The Big 12 needs a ton of help to even sniff playoff contention at this point. Kansas lost 43-7 to Memphis. The Big 12 is just awful.

West Virginia plays BYU this week, and if the Neers lose that one the Big 12 will sink even lower.

Baylor hosts Oklahoma State and could inch closer to the top 10 with a win, but no-one really believes in Baylor right now.

Playoff Contenders

NONE

In the Playoff Picture

NONE

The Rest 

Notre Dame after losing at home to Michigan State is finished as far as the playoffs. Houston’s win over Oklahoma lost some luster after the Sooners got thumped by Ohio State. The Cougars can’t afford a single loss.

Playoff Contenders 

Houston

In the Playoff Picture

NONE

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 –   Houston | Alabama | Louisville | Ohio State

Just Missed – 5) Clemson  6) Michigan  7) Stanford 8) Michigan State

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