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NCAA Football

Power Ranking The Top College Football Conferences Heading Into Week 15

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Power Ranking The Top College Football Conferences Heading Into Week 15

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RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are. Conference championship week is upon us in the NCAA, and the power conferences are in a fight for supremacy. Not only that, but it finally looks as though the SEC will be knocked from its perch thanks to the unreal ending in the Iron Bowl that left everyone dazed, confused and slack-jawed.

Really, doing the rankings for this was pretty easy as there are only five real power conferences left. Will all due respect to the American Athletic Conference (always and forever the Big East), no one really respects Louisville, Cincinnati or Central Florida at this point. Or ever, really.

Ditto to the MAC. Though we all love a little hot #MACtion in our lives, no one believes the Mid-American Conference can hang with the big boys from top to bottom on a regular basis. No disrespect, Northern Illinois, Ball State or Bowling Green. Actually, all the disrespect to all of you. Being the best in the minor leagues doesn’t mean you can run in the majors.

So with the SEC soon to be knocked off its pedestal as the national champion for the billionth year in a row, what do the power rankings look like when considering the top conferences in college football?

Thankfully, yours truly is here to hash it out. And no, as a Michigan fan, I didn’t punish Ohio State and the Big Ten any more than anyone else would, as much as I would have loved to see the reaction to that.

Let’s get to it and let the debate (and name-calling, mudslinging, etc) begin.

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5. ACC

ACC
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Like the Big Ten, the ACC is buoyed by two teams (Clemson and Florida State), and it’s easy to wonder how FSU would’ve done with a tougher conference slate in front of them.

Miami finished 9-3, but needed comeback wins over weaker opponents and started to fall from a cliff after their destruction at the hands of Florida State. Virginia Tech managed eight wins, but never looked strong in any of those. And as much as everyone is happy to see Duke finally have a successful season, it seems like smoke and mirrors at this point.

With such question marks throughout the conference, it takes a little away from the ACC even with Florida State likely to take home the national title.

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4. Big Ten

Big Ten
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

So how does one of the conferences likely to produce a national championship game participant end up fourth on this list? When the conference is as top-heavy as the Big Ten is.

Get past Michigan State and Ohio State, and there are a ton of question marks throughout the conference. Michigan finished just 7-5 and struggled throughout the year, and Nebraska seems to be a week away from firing Bo Pelini each and every week. That’s the better half of the conference.

Even Wisconsin, who finished 9-3, was greatly flawed and lacking in star power. The bottom half of the conference was historically bad: Purdue was close to setting conference records for futility for most of the season. Minnesota had itself a nice little season, but would that have happened outside of this conference?

Yes, Ohio State is unbeaten and, yes, they are likely to make the national championship game, but it’s hard to take anyone in this conference really seriously based on how weak the bulk of it is.

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3. Big 12

Big 12
Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been awhile since the Big 12 has been at the top of the heap in terms of power conferences in college football, but they have a solid core that could break back into the national elite (Oklahoma, Texas) or take a spot there soon (Baylor, Oklahoma State).

Baylor recently fell from the ranks of the unbeaten thanks to the Cowboys, but both teams still have double-digit wins and will find themselves in a nice little bowl.

Oklahoma is basically an automatic nine wins per year and did that again in its sleep. They have elite talent and, if they could just stop tripping over their feet, could find themselves back in the national title picture in no time.

Texas rebounded from an awful start that threatened Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas to go 8-3. It’s easy to forget that they recruit some of the top talent in the nation year after year and are capable of hanging with anyone based on talent. Perhaps Brown’s departure is the best thing that could happen to them?

The conference is hurt by its lack of a title game, but there are four good teams still left over right now in the Big 12.

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2. Pac-12

Pac-12
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

What’s this? Another conference not playing for the national championship? You betcha, because the Pac-12 is surprisingly deep even with USC still somewhat on the downswing.

Oregon and Stanford always seem to get in one another’s way, but the fact is that both are elite programs and eventual national championship contenders. It will probably only take Oregon two or three dozen more uniform changes before that happens.

Arizona State is the forgotten step-child, waving for your attention and shouting “hey, we’re 10-2!” as loudly as they, can even though we’ll never notice. Silly ASU.

Getting past those teams, you have nine-win outfits like UCLA and USC who are attracting the finest talent on the west coast and have brought some meaning back to that rivalry, though USC hopes its upswing won’t end now that Ed Orgeron is leaving town.

Though they don’t get the same notoriety, the Pac-12 is starting to boast SEC-like depth and could find themselves with enough national powers in the near future to compete with the big boys in the south.

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1. SEC

SEC
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

So even though they aren’t likely to repeat as national champions without a loss from Florida State or Ohio State, the SEC is still the power conference to top all power conferences.

Sure, they have their bad teams, and there’s no ignoring that Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and Arkansas were terrible this season. But, there are still four teams with double-digit wins (Missouri, South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama) with a fifth (LSU) right on the door step. Even 8-4 Texas A&M spent most of the year ranked in the top-10.

Most of these teams could hang in other conferences with no problems, and your record is going to take a ding when you and the rest of the best are busy beating up on each other.

Besides, if it weren’t for the flukiest, most exciting ending to a game that I’ve ever seen, we’d likely be seeing dictator Saban’s third national championship in a row.