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Sep
25
2016

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences after week 4 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 – 8.3

The nation’s top football conference conference continues to look strong. Ohio State and Michigan look like playoff teams, but Wisconsin after a 30-6 win looks like one too. Out of conference Purdue beat Nevada and Minnesota defeated Colorado State. The only Big 10 blemish was Indiana losing at to Wake Forest.

The non-conference portion of the schedule is about complete, so it’s unlikely anyone will catch the Big 10 on this list until the post-season starts. Michigan and Wisconsin have monster game upcoming this week.

Playoff Contenders

Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin

In the Playoff Picture

Nebraska

3) ACC – 7.6

The ACC had an excellent week as the middle and bottom portion of the ACC proved the ever improving depth of the conference. Wake Forest went on the road and beat Indiana. Virginia beat a Central Michigan team that won at Oklahoma State, and Duke with a shocking upset win at Notre Dame. Florida State rebounded with a solid win over South Florida. Virginia Tech also pulverized a decent East Carolina team. The ACC nudges ahead of the SEC due a better record against the Power 5, and better head to head record against the SEC which the ACC leads 3-2.

 The ACC went 8-0 OOC this week, as Syracuse, Boston College, and Louisville also picked up wins.

Syracuse vs Notre Dame is a notable OCC game, but not much else OOC. Clemson vs Louisville is a huge  in-conference matchup, where the Cardinals can basically wrap the ACC Atlantic with a win. Florida State vs UNC is also intriguing, and Miami and Georgia Tech is interesting.

Playoff Contenders 

Clemson, Louisville

In the Playoff Picture

Miami

2) SEC – 7.4

The depth of the SEC was hurt this week as Ole Miss and Auburn (teams already with OOC losses beat top 20 SEC teams Georgia and LSU). The good news is the SEC did not suffer any OOC losses though Vanderbilt narrowly beat Western Kentucky. Texas A&M looks legit after beating Arkansas, and Tennessee continues living on the edge, but defeated Florida. There isn’t any reason to think Alabama isn’t still the best team in the country after they dominated Kent St.

After that the SEC is thin, as they are still paying for a mediocre OOC record of 5-5 and 2-3 record vs the ACC.

Not much of note on the SEC schedule, though Tennessee does play at Georgia. A loss by Tennessee to Georgia would be a big blow to the Vols playoff hopes.

Playoff Contenders  

Alabama, Texas A&M

In the Playoff Picture

Tennessee

4) Pac 12 – 7.0

The Pac 12 is a two team league as Washington and Stanford struggled, but remain undefeated.  Utah is ranked and is quietly 4-0. The Pac 12 did take a an OOC loss when Boise State beat Oregon State.

There’s not much depth to the Pac 12, and few chances to build a resume. I’m not sure a 1 loss Pac 12 champion won’t be danger of missing the playoffs.

This week Stanford and Washington face off where the winner is in great playoff shape while the loser may not be able to recover.

Playoff Contenders

Stanford

In the Playoff Picture

Washington

5) Big 12 – 5.3

It just keeps getting worse for the Big 12. Notre Dame one of the few the Big 12 marquee wins just lost to Duke at home, and Central Michigan who beat Oklahoma State lost to Virginia. There is a little bit of good news. Baylor stayed undefeated and West Virginia beat BYU. That keeps the Big 12′s slim playoff hopes alive.

Baylor faces a Iowa State team they should have no problem with. West Virginia hosts Kansas State and a win might get WVU ranked.

Playoff Contenders

NONE

In the Playoff Picture

NONE

The Rest 

Houston keeps rolling after a 64-3 win Texas State. This week it’s UCONN. Houston must win and hope.

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) Wisconsin 8) Texas A&M

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