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Aug
20
2017

Ranking the Power 5 Football Conferences for 2017

 

While the playoff committee doesn’t rank the power 5 conference, there is no way conference strength – which means OOC results doesnt figure in to a committee members thought process.

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) ACC – 7.8

By every on the field result the ACC was the best football conference last season. The conference went 10-4 against the SEC, 6-2 against the Big 10,  ACC teams beat the 3 best Big 10 teams (Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State), the SEC East (Florida) and West Champions (Alabama), and we could go on and on. Oh yea the defending national champions Clemson resides int the ACC. There’s no reason to move the ACC down at this point as they enter the 2017 season with Clemson and FSU again playoff contenders.

Louisville, Miami, and Virginia Tech look like top 25 teams.

The ACC can week 1 put a strangle hold on the top spot, or slip back to the back. Notable week 1 games are Cal vs North Carolina, Louisville vs Purdue, Alabama vs FSU, NC State vs South Carolina, West Virginia vs Virginia Tech, and Tennessee vs Georgia Tech. The ACC needs at least a 3-3 record in these games and avoid any ugly OOC losses. 4-2 should keep them #1. Time for the ACC to prove 2016 wasn’t a fluke.

Playoff Contenders

Clemson, Florida State

In the Playoff Picture

Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville

2) Pac 12 – 7.7

I tell you what, I really like the Pac 12 this season. USC, Washington, and Stanford are all capable of reaching the playoffs. There is really good depth to the conference as well. I just don’t see any really bad teams.

USC beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and the Trojans look like a team that could be a real national title threat. Utah, Washington State, and Colorado are top 30 teams. That’s half the conference that’s in the top 30.

In Week 1, Washington plays Rutgers, Cal vs North Carolina, and Texas A&M vs UCLA.

Playoff Contenders

USC, Washington

In the Playoff Picture

Stanford, Utah, Colorado

3) SEC – 7.3

The SEC had a forgettable season in 2016 with their first losing bowl season since 2002. Alabama was an elite team, but the rest of the conference suffered from poor coaching, and weak QB play. That said the SEC doesn’t have any truly awful football teams. Behind Alabama there’s a lot of decent football teams, that have a chance to be very good. There’s potential at LSU, Auburn, and Georgia.

Until they change the on the fields results though, that’s all it is -potential for the SEC. They need to as a conference to start winning more of those big OOC games, and stop riding the coattails of Alabama to prop the conference up.

Week 1 provides some opportunities with these games – Alabama vs FSU, Tennessee vs Georgia Tech, Texas A&M vs UCLA, Michigan vs Florida, NC State vs South Carolina, and BYU vs LSU.

Playoff Contenders 

Alabama

In the Playoff Picture

LSU, Auburn

4) Big 10 – 7.1

Sorry I’m not buying the 4 top 10 Big 10 teams, or else the Big 10 would be #1 on this list. Not when your conference goes 3-7 in bowl season, and your best team Ohio State got wiped out 31-0 in the playoffs. The Big 10 sent 4 teams to Big 6 Bowl games and went 1-3 with the best bowl win being Wisconsin over Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl. The Big 10 has work to prove they are worthy of 4 top 10 teams. This conference doesn’t have good depth either.

Ohio State should be a playoff contender. Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin are top 25 (not 10) caliber.

Playoff Contenders  

Ohio State

In the Playoff Picture

Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan

5) Big 12 – 6.5

The Big 12 has been the weakest Power 5 conference, and by a good margin, of the playoff era. They really need a rebound year, and last year’s 4-2 bowl season was start. The Big 10 doesn’t enter the season a clear cut playoff team, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are possibilities. Texas should be better, West Virginia isn’t bad, and Kansas State will be dangerous.

The Big 12 can make up ground on the other conferences, but they need a fast OOC start this year. These games are especially important in week 1 – West Virginia vs Virginia Tech, and Maryland vs Texas. The Big 12 has to win both before I consider moving them up.

Playoff Contenders

Oklahoma

In the Playoff Picture

Oklahoma State, West Virginia

The Rest 

I don’t see any team outside the Power 5 that is a playoff threat at this point. BYU vs LSU is a game to keep an eye on.

Playoff Contenders 

NONE

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 –   Ohio State | Alabama | FSU | USC

Just Missed – 5) Clemson  6) Washington 7) Oklahoma 8) LSU

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