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Conference Power Rankings, Week 1

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
With Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina in the AP Top 10; the SEC stands on top. (US Presswire)

While teams win championships, conferences are always competing against each other. Visit any conference's media day or football kickoff, and you will hear all 8-14 coaches giving their "rah rah" speech about the strength of the conference. Throughout the first couple weeks of the season, we will be giving our own opinion on conference strength in the Conference Power Rankings.

Football is played differently all over the country, and there is no "right" answer for best conference in the land on a single given week. What we will do is lay out the facts as best we can, and provide a place for banter among you (the fans) to stand up for your conference of preference.

The SEC opens the season on top of the power rankings not because of the last six national championships, but due to the count of elite teams and their performance against ranked competition. Feel free to let us know what you agree - and disagree - with in the rankings in the comment section below.


Conference Power Rankings
1

SEC
Top 25 Teams: 6
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 1-1
Non-conference record (Total): 9-1
Best Week 1 Win: Alabama 41-14 over Michigan
Worst Week 1 Loss: Auburn's 26-19 loss to Clemson
Looking Ahead: Florida is holding on to the edge of the Top 25, but need to fear an improved Tennessee and Vanderbilt if they want to hold on to the edge of East Division elite.
SEC Power Rankings
2

Big 12
Top 25 Teams: 6
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-0
Non-conference record (Total): 9-0
Best Week 1 Win: West Virginia over Marshall 69-34
Worst Week 1 Loss: None
Looking Ahead: From Oklahoma's scare against UTEP to Oklahoma State's chase for the century mark, there were all kinds of wins in the Big 12's undefeated opening weekend. West Virginia gets the best win nod, due to an athletic Marshall roster and near perfect performance from Geno Smith.
Big 12 Power Rankings
3

Pac-12
Top 25 Teams: 3
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 1-1
Non-conference record (Total): 8-3
Best Week 1 Win: Oregon 57, Arkanas State 34
Worst Week 1 Loss: California's 31-24 loss to Nevada at home.
Looking Ahead: Washington and Stanford failed to raise any eyebrows with their opening weekend wins, and both Colorado and California were favored to win contests they lost. Oregon and USC are deserving of their Top 5 status, but the rest of conference has plenty left to prove.
Pac-12 Power Rankings
4

Big Ten
Top 25 Teams: 5
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 1-1
Non-conference record (Total): 10-2
Best Week 1 Win: Michigan State 17, Boise State 13
Worst Week 1 Loss: Ohio 24, Penn State 14
Looking Ahead: Week 2 brings big non-conference opportunities for most of the Big Ten. Penn State - Virginia, Ohio State-UCF, Purdue-Notre Dame, Michigan-Air Force, Iowa-Iowa State, Wisconsin-Oregon State, Nebraska-UCLA, Northwestern-Vanderbilt, and finally Illinois-Arizona State. Yeah, it's a B1G week.
Big Ten Power Rankings
5

ACC
Top 25 Teams: 3
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-0
Non-conference record (Total): 7-1
Best Week 1 Win: Clemson 26, Auburn 19
Worst Week 1 Loss: Tennessee 35, NC State 21
Looking Ahead: After falling in every previous Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic game, walking away with a split was a win for the ACC. The week ahead provides a big stage for Virginia against Penn State, Miami travels to Manhattan to face Kansas State, and both NC State and Maryland have battles against Big East foes.
ACC Power Rankings
6

Big East
Top 25 Teams: 1
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-0
Non-conference record (Total): 5-2
Best Week 1 Win: Louisville 32, Kentucky 14
Worst Week 1 Loss: Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17
Looking Ahead: The sleeper non-conference game in the Big East is South Florida at Nevada. The Bulls will be tested against a good Wolf Pack team fresh off defeating Cal at Memorial Stadium.
Big East Power Rankings
7

MAC
Top 25 Teams: 0
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-3
Non-conference record (Total): 2-2
Best Week 1 Win: Ohio 24, Penn State 14
Worst Week 1 Loss: Connecticut 37, Massachusetts 0
Looking Ahead: While Ohio did pull off the victory against a BCS AQ opponent, several others fell just short. Toledo, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, and - at least for a bit - Buffalo kept games more interesting than they were expected. We can always count on MACtion for that, now who will be the next Penn State to fall?
8

Mountain West
Top 25 Teams: 0
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-2
Non-conference record (Total): 5-5
Best Week 1 Win: Nevada 31, California 24
Worst Week 1 Loss: Washington 21, San Diego State 12
Looking Ahead: Boise State's loss to Michigan State lost the league's presence in the Top 25, but San Diego State could have beaten Washington the way the Huskies played. Unfortunately, the Aztecs matched their level of play and it was an ugly game for both sidelines.
9

Sun Belt
Top 25 Teams: 0
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-2
Non-conference record (Total): 4-5
Best Week 1 Win: Troy 39, UAB 29
Worst Week 1 Loss: McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21
Looking Ahead: Sun Belt gets picked on by a lot of heavyweights, particularly early in the season. After facing Oregon and LSU in Week 1, Arkansas and Alabama lie ahead in Week 2. FIU (vs. Akron) and Arkansas State (vs. Memphis) have winnable non-conference opportunities to bounce back.
10

C-USA
Top 25 Teams: 0
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 0-3
Non-conference record (Total): 2-10
Best Week 1 Win: UCF 56, Akron 14
Worst Week 1 Loss: Texas State 30, Houston 13
Looking Ahead: Conference losses to Texas State, Tenn-Martin, and Troy are the lowlights in a rough Week 1, while UTEP's miscues late against Oklahoma kept the league from a signature win. Look for the Miners to give Ole Miss a scare - and possibly steal a win - against Ole Miss on Saturday.
11

WAC
Top 25 Teams: 0
Non-conference record (Vs. Top 25): 1-1
Non-conference record (Total): 9-1
Best Week 1 Win: Texas State 30, Houston 13
Worst Week 1 Loss: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3
Looking Ahead: San Jose State nearly delivered an upset at Stanford, and unfortunately Louisiana Tech never got their opening night shot at Texas A&M due to Hurricane Isaac. But the Bulldogs will have the opportunity to be the second WAC team to knock off Houston on Saturday night.



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