Conference Boasting Time

There can be only one! And it's not the ACC.

There can be only one! And it’s not the ACC.

Now that non-conference play is over for most teams, we can accurately judge how the leagues stack up. Here is my ranking of the 10 conferences.

1. SEC
Schools in AP Top 25: 8
Schools Receiving Votes: 2
Driver Seat: No. 3 Alabama
Worst team: Vanderbilt, No. 84 Sagarin
Think about it, 10 SEC teams are either in the Top 25 or close to it. Critics point out how LSU should have lost to Wisconsin, Missouri’s lost to Indiana and how flimsy the SEC East looks. But the conference has done damage to the ACC and Big 12. The only weak link is Vanderbilt, as Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas have made strides.

2. PAC-12
Schools in AP Top 25: 4
Schools Receiving Votes: 3
Driver Seat: No. 2 Oregon
Worst team: Colorado, No. 94 Sagarin
The best non-conference win so far has been Oregon over Michigan State. UCLA is a potential playoff team and the only schools with losing records are Washington State and Colorado. The PAC-12 has a decent chance of getting two teams in the four-team playoff. The concern though is that conference may beat each other up leaving no undefeated or even one-loss team left.

3. Big 12
Schools in AP Top 25: 5
Schools Receiving Votes: 1
Driver Seat: No. 4 Oklahoma
Worst team: Kansas, No. 115 Sagarin
Oklahoma State and Kansas State came close but missed great chances to pick up huge non-conference wins in Florida State and Auburn. Iowa State is 1-3 but did beat Iowa, leaving Kansas as the only weak school. The big question is TCU as the Horn Frogs will have a chance to rise up the rankings and help out Oklahoma and Baylor.

4. Big 10
Schools in AP Top 25: 4
Schools Receiving Votes: 1
Driver Seat: No. 10 Michigan State
Worst team: Purdue, No. 112 Sagarin
Nebraska is last remaining unbeaten team in the Big 10 and the Cornhuskers nearly lost to a FCS school. Northwestern, Purdue and Indiana have lost to MAC teams. However it’s not all bad as Nebraska, Iowa and Maryland have defeated an ACC program this year. Rutgers took out Washington State on the road to start the season and Indiana shocked Missouri. It will be tough getting conference frontrunner Michigan State into the playoff but it is more than a possibility.

5. ACC
Schools in AP Top 25: 1
Schools Receiving Votes: 5
Driver Seat: No. 1 Florida State
Worst team: Wake Forest, No. 118 Sagarin
After Florida State there is no one else who can make the playoff. The other schools with just one loss or less are Georgia Tech, Duke, NC State and Louisville. Not exactly a prestigious set of four. North Carolina gave up 70 points to East Carolina and Pittsburgh was non competitive against Akron out of the MAC. Don’t even mention Wake Forest. The Seminoles are in a tough spot as just one loss will probably be enough to keep them out of the playoff.

6. Conference USA
Schools in AP Top 25: 0
Schools Receiving Votes: 1
Driver Seat: Marshall
Worst team: Florida International, No. 155 Sagarin
Now that we have hit the mid-majors it gets tougher to distinguish but Conference USA is having a solid year. Even Southern Mississippi has defeated a Sun Belt school. Marshall though looks poised to go undefeated and snag a bid at a premier bowl. However, Louisiana Tech and FIU have lost to FCS schools. Still, expect Marshall to move up the Top 25 and give C-USA attention.

7. Mountain West
Schools in AP Top 25: 0
Schools Receiving Votes: 0
Driver Seat: Nevada
Worst team: New Mexico, No. 148 Sagarin
The Mountain West has no dominant team right now but does have depth. The league’s best wins have been Nevada over Washington State and Colorado State over Colorado. There have been few bad losses as no one has lost to a FCS school although UNLV escaped Northern Colorado 13-12. The parity will make the Mountain West fun to watch.

8. American Athletic
Schools in AP Top 25: 1
Schools Receiving Votes: 0
Driver Seat: No. 22 East Carolina
Worst team: SMU, No. 116 Sagarin
East Carolina is the real deal and could probably play in the SEC. Defeating Virginia Tech and North Carolina brought plenty of attention to the AAC. After that the conference is a mixed bag but schools like SMU, UConn and Tulane are weighing the league down. Tulsa losing to Texas State at home does not help either. The Mustangs of SMU have been the worst team in FBS so far.

9. MAC
Schools in AP Top 25: 0
Schools Receiving Votes: 0
Driver Seat: Northern Illinois
Worst team: Miami University, No. 116 Sagarin
The MAC has scored wins over the Big 10 and the ACC this season. Just hide the fact that Miami and Ball State lost to FCS teams. Bowling Green being humbled by Western Kentucky hurts. Kent State, UMass and Miami are winless and are looking at a long year. Even Toledo and Northern Illinois have been blown out this season. The MAC will have to make up for it bowl season.

10. Sun Belt
Schools in AP Top 25: 0
Schools Receiving Votes: 0
Driver Seat: Georgia Southern
Worst team: Troy State, No. 157 Sagarin
It’s a year of transition in the Sun Belt as several teams left and several teams joined the conference. Georgia Southern came close to beating ACC teams and UL-Monroe did beat Wake Forest. However, those are the only two schools above .500 in the league. Troy State and Idaho are currently winless and have had bad losses at home. The Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana were a conference favorite but were no match for Louisiana Tech and Boise State.


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