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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Ranking College Football's Power 5 Conferences

Alex Yeoman |
September 24, 2014 | 4:48 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Heading into the fifth week of the regular season, the college football rankings have begun to settle out. Not surprisingly, little motion has been seen at the top with Florida State, Oregon, Alabama, Oklahoma and Auburn rounding out the top 5 in the AP Top 25 poll. With a stall among the top teams, it is the perfect time for the first of ranking of the power conferences of the year.

5. Big Ten

Can they do anything right this season? All we have to do is look at the Michigan-Utah game for our answer to that question. 

Michigan began the afternoon looking to continue its success for a second week in a row, but the game went south fast, the Wolverines got caught in a torrential downpour and lost by double-digits to the Pac-12 opponent.

Isn’t that the story of the Big Ten this year? 

Ohio State was primed to have a good season until Braxton Miller went down for the season with a shoulder injury. 

Michigan State is still ranked in the top ten, but in its first major test of the season against Oregon they were decimated. 

With virtually no wins against top programs outside their division, the Big Ten is sitting dead last among the power conferences. They are so bad this year that the NCAA felt the need to lift Penn State’s post-season ban in order to add more competition. 

If there is any hope for the flailing Big Ten, it lies in the undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers.

4. ACC

Florida State sits atop the entire football sphere right now, but who else is there to talk about in the ACC? 

Clemson could have solidified its case to be considered among the top teams in the nation, but after the Tigers’ loss to the Winston-less Seminoles and a 1-2 record overall, it is safe to say that there isn’t much special about this year’s Clemson Tigers.

Duke, Georgia Tech and NC State are all undefeated against virtually no competition. So the ACC has some potential.

But as for right now, they barely make it ahead of the Big Ten.

SEE MORE: USC's Defense: How Has It Stacked Up To Last Year's Unit?

3. Big XII

Oklahoma is leading the charge in the Big XII this year with an undefeated record and are sitting at the fourth spot in the nation. The Sooners have had demoralizing wins in all of their games this year and show no signs of slowing down. 

Adding to the credentials of the Big XII are the seventh-ranked Baylor Bears. With an undefeated record of lopsided wins, the Bears have justified their high rankings early on. 

TCU, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State all have the potential to become title contenders in the Big XII, though they each have a tough schedule in front of them.

Last off, we can’t forget about Charlie Strong’s rebuilding Texas Longhorns. Although it has not been been the start that Strong would have hoped for, the young Longhorns have shown a good deal of potential, almost knocking off a top-25 school in UCLA a few weeks back. Look for the Longhorns to make a late season push if not sooner. 

USC and Stanford lead a rising Pac-12 conference. (Neon Tommy)
USC and Stanford lead a rising Pac-12 conference. (Neon Tommy)
2. Pac-12

With an all-star group of quarterbacks leading the conference this year, it is no surprise that the Pac-12 is sitting at number two among the power five conferences. 

With quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Cody Kessler (USC) and Kevin Hogan (Stanford) leading a group of highly ranked teams, the success in the Pac-12 could be high this season. 

Most obviously, Oregon has started extremely strong this season, defeating an experienced Michigan State team in the second week of the season. Although they were pressed by the Washington State Cougars in Pullman last week, the skill and consistency that Mariota showed in the win not only reaffirmed that the Ducks are one of the best teams in the nation, but also pushed Mariota into the lead of the Heisman race. 

USC also appears to be a dark horse in the Pac-12 despite losing to Boston College. The Trojans’ young squad was underrated to start the season but moved up to the ninth spot after their victory against Stanford. 

UCLA, Utah, Stanford and Arizona State are also legitimate power houses who have the ability to beat any team in the nation.

1. SEC

I hate myself for putting them here because they are given way too much credit as far as the strength of their conference is concerned, but the SEC is once again the best this year. 

With eight teams in the AP Top 25, the SEC has a legitimate shot at the national championship once again. Five of seven teams in the SEC West are still undefeated. Look for Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M to lead the SEC this year, but don’t forget about Ole Miss and Mississippi State; both teams could provide a stiff competition to these traditional powerhouses. 

The SEC has provided so much competition amongst themselves in recent history that, although it pains me to say, they have justified their place atop the NCAA conferences for the foreseeable future.

Reach Staff Reporter Alex Yeoman via e-mail here.



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