College Football: Power Ranking the Top Conferences Heading Into Week 8
Judging College Football Conferences
With Week 8 of the college football season coming up, we are officially halfway through the 2013 season and upon the most exciting part of this season's schedule. During the second half of the schedule, we can expect to see schedules laden with a host of games that decide conference champions, and to see the epic moments that go on to decide who will win awards such as the Heisman Trophy Award, Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award.
But what also appears to be certain is that the second half of the season will serve as a litmus test to just how good, or in some cases bad, each conference throughout the country is. After all this determination can have an impact on the ranking of teams, who wins championships and even who competes in events such as the BCS National Championship game.
The ever changing landscape of college football has resulted in the strengths of conferences fluctuating from year to year, and even week to week in some cases. Just last season it appeared that the Atlantic Coast Conference was bound to perennially sit as one of the worst major conferences in college football, but they have seen somewhat of a revival in 2013. Meanwhile on the flip side, the Big 10 has seemingly only gotten worse as the years pass on, and some people continue to wonder whether or not the American Athletic Conference could really even be considered a major conference at this point in time.
Keeping in mind the ever changing landscape of where certain conferences sit within the college football world we have compiled a power ranking of each conference in college football heading into Week 8. This list will provide a comprehensive list of just where each league sits right now, and in turn where many of the teams within each league sit in comparison to teams of equal stature.
10. Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference is incredible weak, as only four out of eight teams within the league can even boast a .500 record or above. Louisiana-Lafayette leads the way with a 2-0 conference record and a 4-2 overall tally, but how much does that really mean? The Sun Belt Conference is by far the worst in all of the FBS, and may even be worse than a couple FCS conferences.
9. Conference USA
In recent years, it appears that every time Conference USA takes a step forward in football that they are dealt a blow that sets them three steps back. They have lost Louisville, UCF, South Florida, Houston and Memphis to the American Athletic Conference and TCU to the Big 12 within the last 10 years. To say that each of the inclusion of these teams would launch them up this list would be an understatement, but unfortunately past teams mean nothing for the current conference. ECU, Tulane, Rice and Marshall currently sit at the helm of the league, but the chances of any of these teams joining the top 25 is as likely as my chances of becoming the Pope, slim to none. The result is that their conference invariably does not to serve at the big boys table, although they will certainly send teams to this table.
8.Mountain West Conference
In recent years, the Mountain West Conference would have been higher on this list solely for the play of Boise State, but unfortunately they have stumbled to a 4-2 record this season. In their place has come Fresno State at 5-0, but they seem to inclined to find themselves in close games to make it feasible to finish the regular season at 12-0 and bust into the BCS Bowls. This inability to boast a top notch team in 2013 season pushed the Mountain West Conference down this list a little bit, although they could easily jump to sixth place if Fresno State can complete a perfect regular season.
7. Mid-American Conference
In recent years, the Mid-American Conference has seen a profile boost, largely as the result of having Northern Illinois initiate the conference into BCS Bowl play in 2012. Northern Illinois again looks primed for a run to a BCS Bowl in 2013 as their perfect 6-0 record means they will only need to win out the rest of the way to return to face the big boys for a second straight year. Doing so would truly put the Mid-American Conference on the map, although they still need a couple more teams to step up before jumping into the top six conferences.
6.American Athletic Conference
In recent years, the American Athletic Conference has teetered on the edge of falling out of the big six football conferences, although they always seem to have a great team that saves them from this drop. In 2013 this team is eighth ranked Louisville, who are undefeated after six games and appear to be in a class above their conference mates. Louisville is also flanked in 2013 by an undefeated Houston team, and these two teams narrowly combine keep the American Athletic Conference as one of the so-called Big Six conferences.
5. Big 10
In recent years the Big 10 has seemed to lose a bit of respect from the national media, largely as the result of losing a compiling an underwhelming 4-5 record in BCS Bowl games over the last five years. In these games teams from the Big 10 have looked to generally lack the pace and organization that the other leagues bring to the table. The result of this is that voters have given the league less respect in the polls in 2013, as signified by the fact that only Ohio State and Wisconsin currently sit in the top 25 of the AP poll. Big 10 supporters will be hoping that Ohio State can save the leagues face this year, as the undefeated Buckeyes appear on track to win the league title and possibly compete in the BCS Title game. If they do not show up with their game faces on the league will take another hit, which will affect the views of the media and recruits throughout the country.
4. Big 12
Despite a little bit of reshuffling in recent years the Big 12 has remained remarkably consistent, largely on the backs of the strong reputation of Oklahoma and Texas. These teams have not ruled the conference though in recent seasons, as Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State have all proven to be top teams that can compete for the league title. This competition has been good for the league, but they have been held back from entering the top three college football conferences as a result of not having a true national championship contender, which again rings true in 2013.
3. Atlantic Coast Conference
After years of turmoil, the Atlantic Coast Conference has had an outbreak season in 2013. Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech all sit within the top 10 in the latest AP Poll, which matches the output of the SEC. The only thing holding the league back at this point is great top to bottom depth, which puts them below the Pac-12 and SEC on this list.
2. Pacific-12 Conference
In recent years, the Pacific-12 Conference has established a reputation for a brand of fast paced, exciting football which has made them the undisputed number two conference in football. Every year it seems as if multiple teams within the league have a chance to compete for the national championship, which has invariably brougth the standard of the league up. Both Oregon and UCLA have a great opportunity to win the BCS National Championship in 2013, and a victory would put the Pac-12 on the brink of truly challenging the SEC for the best conference in the nation.
1. Southeastern Conference
Over the last 10 years, the Southeastern Conference has developed into the undisputed best conference in the land, as their seven consecutive national championships would imply. The conference has a number of teams who could take that total to eight this season, which would only further show that the SEC is the best conference in football. With eight teams in the latest national ranking one would think that this would be a unanimous decision already, but hey its never bad to put your foot down to show the rest of the world you can.