Conference Power Rankings (Oct. 9)

By Chip Patterson | College Writer

With non-conference play slowing down, you will see much less change week-to-week in the Conference Power Rankings. Unfortunately, we only get a small window of cross-conference action to try and get an idea of the pecking order in 2012. Complain as some will may, our best tools for sizing up the 11 FBS conferences down the stretch of the season will be the voters and computer rankings that reflect strength of schedule.

In other words, the BCS.

Considering we aren't a huge fan of that process either, we understand your criticisms. However, as flawed as the voting process can be; the results still hold plenty of weight in college football. Coaches get contract bonuses based on Top 25 finishes, television schedule makers decide kick times based on ranking, and a conference's performance is judged by how many Top 25 teams are in the final rankings.

Conference Power Rankings

(previous: 1)
Top 25 Teams: 7 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 21-8
Nonconference record (Total): 29-8
Cumulative ATS record: 36-40-1
Recently: The SEC has seven teams in the Top 25, accounting for more than 25% of the ranked teams in college football. The conference has three of the top four teams in the nation, while no other league has more than four teams in the Top 25. With domination at the top and throughout the polls this week, the suddenly deep SEC is a clear cut No. 1.
SEC Power Rankings

Big 12
(previous: 2)
Top 25 Teams: AP: 4, Coaches: 6
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 17-3
Nonconference record (Total): 26-3
Cumulative ATS record: 26-21
Recently: Losses by TCU and Texas Tech hurt the Big 12's standing in the polls, though they still are one of the best conferences in the land in terms of depth. West Virginia's suddenly balanced offensive attack gives the conference a Top 5 team with quality wins, and the 9 game conference schedule helps the strength of schedule ratings.
Big 12 Power Rankings

(previous: 3)
Top 25 Teams: 4 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 16-8
Nonconference record (Total): 23-9
Cumulative ATS record: 28-35-1
Recently: With Oregon State now up into the Top 10, the Pac-12 is restocking their power in the North Division. Washington is one or two wins from being back in the Top 25 as well, but UCLA appears to be heading in the exact opposite direction. Stanford surviving an overtime test from Arizona was good for the conference, keeping a fourth Pac-12 team in the rankings.
Pac-12 Power Rankings

Big East
(previous: 5)
Top 25 Teams: 3 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 13-9
Nonconference record (Total): 20-10
Cumulative ATS record: 18-21-1
Recently: For the first time since the final polls of 2009, the Big East has three teams in the Top 25. When we speak of depth and number of ranked teams, it is important to note that the league only has eight members. Louisville, Rutgers, and Cincinnati all still have plenty to prove as the season progresses, but having three of your eight teams in the Top 25 is a very good look for a conference that has taken a lot of criticism over the past couple seasons.
Big East Power Rankings

Big Ten
(previous: 4)
Top 25 Teams: AP: 2, Coaches: 0
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 26-13
Nonconference record (Total): 34-13
Cumulative ATS record:32-36
Recently: The Big Ten is riding the momentum of Ohio State right now - a team ineligible for the postseason. Arguably their second best team (Penn State) is also ineligible for the postseason. Because the Buckeyes are not eligible for the Coaches Poll, there was no B1G team this week for the first time since USA Today began conducting the poll.
Big Ten Power Rankings

(previous: 6)
Top 25 Teams: 2 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 13-14
Nonconference record (Total): 26-14
Cumulative ATS record:30-38-2
Recently: The pride of the ACC is flying the flag at half staff after Florida State's second half collapse at NC State dashed their national championship hopes. The league now has no undefeated teams, only two in the Top 25, and the only other schools to even receive votes from the pollsters were N.C. State and Duke.
ACC Power Rankings

(previous: 8)
Top 25 Teams: 1 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS):12-13
Nonconference record (Total): 19-14
Cumulative ATS record: 24-12
Recently:Louisiana Tech finally broke through into the Top 25, claiming a spot that many have felt they deserved for a few weeks. Unfortunately, they face their greatest test of the season in Week 7 with Texas A&M coming to visit Shreveport. Another interesting WAC nugget? Utah State is one of two teams with a 6-0-0 record against the spread.

Mountain West
(previous: 7)
Top 25 Teams: 1 (both polls)
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 11-20
Nonconference record (Total): 17-23
Cumulative ATS record: 30-26
Recently: UNLV losing to now-ranked Louisiana Tech came as no surprise. But Air Force's overtime loss to Navy was expected, even in that series. The Falcons were not the cream of the conference, but Navy had not been able to to score more than 10 points against FBS competition.

Sun Belt
(previous: 9)
Top 25 Teams: 0
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 10-18
Nonconference record (Total): 16-19
Cumulative ATS record: 30-18
Recently: I was curious to see how Middle Tennessee - fresh off the beatdown they handed to Georgia Tech - performed against the SBC upset king Louisiana-Monroe. Running back Benny Cunningham scored five touchdowns last week against the Yellow Jackets, but did not get many opportunities thanks to ULM holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes while racking up 500 yards of total offense.

(previous: 10)
Top 25 Teams: 0
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 11-22
Nonconference record (Total): 21-23
Cumulative ATS record: 37-37
Recently: Most of the conference was in league play, and since 6-0 Ohio escaped with a 38-31 win over Buffalo there was no major impact on the conference's standing. If anything, the league missed an opportunity to steal a big non-conference win with Miami (OH) in their rivalry game against Cincinnati.

(previous: 11)
Top 25 Teams: 0
Nonconference record (vs. FBS): 6-33
Nonconference record (Total): 11-34
Cumulative ATS record: 28-35-2
Recently: They did a split with the Sun Belt in Week 6 thanks to Houston's victory over North Texas, but the conference's poor performance across the board is a lot for a few wins to overcome. Tulsa's recent surge has been a highlight for C-USA fans, and the Golden Hurricanes even got some Top 25 votes this week.

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