Tag:College Football Rankings
Posted on: October 23, 2011 8:53 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 9:02 pm
 

BCS Standings Top 10 Reactions, Week 8


Posted by Eye On College Football


On Sunday night the new BCS standings were released. With Oklahoma and Wisconsin falling from the ranks of the unbeatens, the list of national championship contenders has already begun to dwindle.  

You can check out a rundown of the Top 10 below, with some thoughts from our College Football Bloggers. For a full breakdown of the Top 25 teams in the BCS formula, you can check out the comprehensive standings.


1. LSU : The Synthetic Three were not necessary for LSU to take care of business in the Battle of the Tigers on Saturday.  The easy 45-10 defeat of the defending champions highlighted LSU's depth, and Les Miles' ability to circle the wagons in the midst of controversy.  The suspended players are expected to return for THE GAME, which we now know will be under the lights. - Chip Patterson

2. AlabamaAfter crushing Tennessee with a 31-0 second-half run, the Tide are one win away from ascending to the top spot in the BCS rankings and becoming overwhelming favorites to play for their second national title in three seasons. Too bad for them that win has to come against LSU--even if it's so good for those of us who'll get to sit back and watch - Jerry Hinnen

3. Oklahoma StateYes, Oklahoma State was already ranked first by the computers last week, but now the Cowboys are the undisputed darlings of the Big 12 with Oklahoma going down to Texas Tech. If OSU can run the table (hardly a given, but hardly out of the question), with this ranking, it's got the inside track to a BCS Championship Berth. - Adam Jacobi

4. Boise StateThe bad news: Stanford and Clemson look more likely than ever to eventually leapfrog the Broncos. The good news: no one in Boise's all that worried at this point, not with two gigantic hurdles to the national title game cleared thanks to Texas Tech and Michigan State. And the Cardinal, Tigers, and Cowboys all have their toughest games still ahead of them. -JH

5. Clemson: The scariest thing about the Tigers' offense right now is the depth they highlighted in the 59-38 win over North Carolina. Twelve different skill position players got touches on Saturday, and Tajh Boyd delivered five touchdowns to five different players. But undefeated Clemson will need to survive an ACC title game (in addition to their remaining schedule) and get some help if they want to move into a position of national title contender. - CP

6. Stanford : Stanford finally got a game against a ranked opponent, and Andrew Luck and company blew Washington out of the water. The computers, not seeing the margin of victory in that game, remain unimpressed. But really, it's too early to accurately evaluate Stanford's BCS worthiness until after the Oregon game. That's the Cardinal's season, right there. - AJ

7. Oregon : The Ducks are getting healthy, and just at the right time too.  The toughest part of their Pac-12 slate lies in the coming weeks, and with their only blemish being the loss to LSU, there are plenty of opportunities for Oregon to state their case as the nation's best one-loss team.  Unfortunately there is likely no life after another loss for Chip Kelly's team, so every game is a must-win from here on out if they want to return to the title game. - CP

8. Kansas StateSay what you will about Kansas State's season so far, but KSU just keeps winning, and that's what pollsters and computers want to see most. A legion of difficult games remains on KSU's docket, but if Bill Snyder can guide his charges past both OSU and Oklahoma in the coming weeks, Kansas State is going to be rocketing up the list. - AJ

9. OklahomaMake no mistake for OU: while the Texas Tech loss was extremely damaging in a field full of undefeated teams, the dogfight has just begun. Games against Kansas State, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Oklahoma State all remain (as well as Iowa State, we suppose), and if the Sooners can run that table and get some help from the Upset Gods, they probably stand the best chance of anybody outside the SEC of being a one-loss title contender this year. - AJ

10. ArkansasThe Hogs a serious player in the national title chase and aren't likely to even make a BCS bowl this season with LSU and Alabama ahead of them in the SEC pecking order. But their visit to Baton Rouge on the final week of the regular season might represent the only serious threat to the SEC finishing the year without an undefeated team. - JH

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:23 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

6/6. Clemson

Head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters he made it very clear to his team at halftime (as they led North Carolina 24-17) that they needed to decide right there whether or not they wanted to be 8-0. The Tigers answered his query with a 35-point third quarter performance as they kickstarted the shootout in Death Valley to put the Tar Heels away. Tajh Boyd was able to rest for much of the fourth quarter, after throwing for 367 yards and five touchdowns to five different receivers.

Clemson's offense hasn't shown the ability to be stopped for four quarters. Several teams have limited the Tigers from hitting a rhythm for a quarter or half, but no one has had an answer for their explosiveness over 60 minutes. One team that can control the pace of the game is Georgia Tech, who await the Tigers arrival in Atlanta on Saturday. The game will be under the lights, and the Yellow Jackets need a win after dropping two straight. It is arguably Clemson's toughest game left on the schedule, as the Tigers are now one of eight unbeaten teams remaining in FBS play.


15/15. Virginia Tech

After two impressive performances that launched them back up the polls, the Hokies sputtered in the first half against lowly Boston College. But after trailing 7-6 at half, Virginia Tech got rolling and outscored the Eagles 24-7 in the second half. David Wilson continued to be a workhorse out of the backfield, carrying 17 times for 134 yards. The second half rout is also a credit to the defense, which despite missing several playmakers due to injury was able to come up with two second half turnovers.

With Georgia Tech's second straight conference loss, the Hokies now sit alone on top of the ACC Coastal Division standings. But any repeated performances like the first half against Boston College might end up hurting their hopes of defending their ACC championship in Charlotte. The four remaining games on Virginia Tech's schedule are all division opponents, two Thursday night games, and three games on the road. Their resiliency on Saturday at home was commendable, but Hokie fans would prefer not needing to feel that nervous again.

Others receiving votes: Georgia Tech's name reappears in this category after falling from No. 12 over the last two weeks. Miami also saw some decent action from the voters, after defeating the previously-ranked Yellow Jackets for their second straight conference win. Wake Forest also received some votes in the Coaches Poll. No offense to Jim Grobe and the Demon Deacons, but I'd guess those Coaches/SIDs did not watch the 24-23 barn burner at Duke on Saturday.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Big East poll reactions, Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big East fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

24/23. Cincinnati

Cincinnati's early success has been discredited by many, either for a lack of competition or fresh memories for a mistake-laden 2010 campaign. But with Week Eight in the books, the Bearcats are the only team still unbeaten in conference play

The improvement from year one to year two under head coach Butch Jones has paid off, and it all starts with turnovers. In 2010 the Bearcats put up big offensive numbers, but sloppy execution and a young defense resulted in finishing the season 119th nationally in turnover margin. Now Cincinnati leads the Big East in the same category, and ranks 3rd nationally behind Oklahoma State and LSU. With West Virginia's loss the door is open for Cincinnati to try make a run for their third Big East title in four years.

25/24. West Virginia

West Virginia was embarrassed and exposed by Syracuse on Friday night, but one poor performance was not enough to completely erase the Mountaineers' body of work in the minds of the voters. Dana Holgorsen's next task as a first-year head coach will be refocusing this group as they make a push for the Big East title down the stretch. If the Mountaineers win out (including a victory over 2-0 Cincinnati on Nov. 12) they can guarantee at least a share of the league championship. But in order to do that they need to find a way to do a better job protecting Geno Smith, and the defense needs to recapture the aggressiveness that defined the unit in 2010.

Others receiving votes:Doug Marrone's Syracuse team got some predictable attention from the voters after the defeat of West Virginia. The Orange schemed well for the primetime showdown, and now the challenge will be turning their strong start into a big finish in Marrone's third year at the helm. Rutgers, despite an embarrassing loss to Louisville on Friday that featured three Gary Nova interceptions, also received votes in both the AP and Coaches poll.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:35 pm
 

CBSSports.com Conference Power Rankings (Oct. 18)



Posted by Chip Patterson


Some lackluster play during Week 6 in the SEC bumped them down a spot, allowing for the Big 12 to spend a week at the top of the power rankings. But the Big 12 leaders, despite solid victories on the road, looked a little flat in their Week 7 contests. When judged in comparison to Georgia-Vanderbilt showing improvement from both squads and the juggernauts taking care of business, the Big 12 takes a step back to the No. 2 spot.

Here's how they stack up after the results of Week 7. How will they look after Week 8? That's why we watch.

1. SEC (LW: 2)- With Georgia starting to put the pieces together and the Gamecocks showing they can win with Shaw at the helm, the SEC East had some positive things to show on the field in Week 7. I was most impressed by Vanderbilt, who simply refused to roll over to the Dawgs even well after the clock hit 0:00. James Franklin stands firm behind the new unintimidated Commodores, and the school that was once a doormat for the division is starting to put together the pieces to be a threat. SEC West? Destructive as always. Still counting down the days until SEC Armageddon Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa.

2. Big 12 (LW: 1) - With Baylor's stock falling and Oklahoma with an uninspiring first half effort against Kansas, the top of the conference did not really "wow" anyone in Week 7. Kansas State continues to be this conference's biggest surprise, where it's clear Bill Snyder doesn't care about any statistical columns other than "win." But how far can Kansas State's fast start carry them by season's end. After taking on Kansas this Saturday, the Wildcats have to face Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas in consecutive weeks. There are few conference schedules in the Big 12 that are tougher than that, so we should have a pretty accurate view of Kansas State by Thanksgiving.

3. Pac-12 (LW: 3) - Stanford was methodical as ever in the 44-14 win against Washington State, but the computers proved not be big tree-huggers when the BCS standings were released Sunday evening. While USC and a banged-up Oregon team delivered in primetime showdowns over the weekend, the star of the conference might have been Washington. The schedule has played to the Huskies advantage, giving Keith Price plenty of wiggle room as he settles in to the starting quarterback role. Price's four touchdowns in the 52-24 rout of Colorado kept Washington unbeaten in conference play with a 5-1 overall record heading into Stanford next week. Unfortunately for the Huskies, division play could be brutal with the Cardinal and Oregon ahead in the coming weeks. But there has been enough improvement to think Washington is moving in the right direction.

4. Big Ten (LW: T-3) - The naysayers of the Big Ten got to spend last Saturday saying "I told you so" as unbeaten Michigan and Illinois suffered their first setbacks of the season. The Fighting Illini turned the ball over and had no answer for the Buckeyes rushing attack when they needed stops down the stretch. Michigan's loss to Michigan State is more respectable, but the Wolverines inability to get anything started on offense in the windy conditions did not display the prominence of a Top 15 team. While Wisconsin chalked up another big win, Northwestern suffered their third conference loss and I've officially given up on the Wildcats.

5. ACC (LW: 5) - The ACC was close to losing two unbeaten teams in the same day, but Sammy Watkins' record-breaking performance helped prevent the Tigers from losing to Maryland in a 56-45 shootout. Georgia Tech entered the Virginia game dealing with injuries, while the Cavaliers came in fresh off a bye week filled with preparation. The result was the Yellow Jackets getting manhandled in the trenches on both sides of the ball and Virginia improving to 4-2 with a 24-21 win. Wake Forest lived up to their upset special hype for one quarter against Virginia Tech by jumping out to a 14-0 lead. However, Logan Thomas' maturation continued and another impressive offensive day for the sophomore led to a 38-17 Hokies win. No non-conference match ups in Week 7, everything stayed pretty status quo in the ACC.

6. Big East (LW: 6) - Rutgers' surprise 5-1 start has been one of the biggest storylines of the Big East's first half. On Saturday, the Scarlet Knights picked up a non-conference win thanks to an impressive comeback against Navy. Greg Schiano has certainly made an early case for Coach of the Year, while some of his less-experienced counterparts are struggling in new gigs. Todd Graham's "high-octane" offense did not produce a single score in the non-conference loss to Utah on Saturday, and Skip Holtz's USF team looked nothing like it did earlier in the season while losing 16-10 to Connecticut. West Virginia remains the conference's lone representative on the national stage, and the Mountaineers were off in Week 7.

7. Mountain West Conference (LW: 8) - Boise State issued the predictable beatdown they were looking for in Week 7, one last chance to pad any momentum heading into the first week of the BCS standings. With the numbers out, it looks like a weakened MWC will not give the Broncos much help in getting a national championship bid. Wyoming continues to impress, while New Mexico dropped the league's only non-conference showdown against Nevada. Air Force fell to San Diego State in the biggest conference game of the weekend. The Falcons fell to 0-2 in MWC play, and this week travel to Boise to face the Broncos on the Smurf Turf.

8. Conference USA (LW: 7) - Southern Miss had Week 7 off, so we still aren't unsure of the recent surge by the Golden Eagles. SMU, however, continued their upward swing with a thorough 38-17 win over UCF. Possibly a future Big East conference matchup? Who knows. East Carolina avoided disaster by defeating Memphis after trailing early, and Tulane's loss to UTEP has moved head coach Bob Toledo from the hot seat to the skillet in New Orleans. UAB continues to look dreadful, strengthening the argument that the league is polarized with good and very, very bad teams. Very few middle of the road teams right now in Conference USA.

9. WAC (LW: 9) - San Jose State and Hawaii took advantage of their national television spotlight by displaying some of the sloppiest football of the weekend. Hawaii stormed back from a 20-7 halftime deficit, but it was San Jose State that emerged victorious in a 12-turnover festival on Friday. Nevada picked up an out-of-conference victory over MWC-foe New Mexico, while New Mexico State and Fresno State pulled out expected conference victories.

9. MAC (LW: 10) - Most of the trends continued in a week full of conference match ups in the MAC. Toledo continued to roll on league opponents, and Temple got back on track with a decisive win against Buffalo. Northern Illinois got their patented ground game going again, and Miami needed an unconventional nine points (one touchdown, one safety) to pull out the 9-3 victory over Kent State. Pretty ho-hum week for MACtion, who benefit in the power rankings more from the sloppy WAC than their own success.

11. Sun Belt (LW: 9) - The poor Sun Belt conference gets ranked statistically even behind I-AA conferences in some conference analysis models. With no Troy or FIU leading the way, Louisiana-Lafayette is this season's "surprise" of the conference. A Week 7 filled with conference matchups left little room for improvement, and nothing notable occurred to suggest this conference has improved rapidly since the prior week. Florida Atlantic finally played a home game, starting the season with five straight road tests while their new stadium was being completed, but they filed to score a point in the 20-0 shutout at the hands of Western Kentucky.

Check back in to the Eye On College Football next week for the updated edition of the Conference Power Rankings.


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Posted on: October 17, 2011 9:46 am
 

Big East poll reactions, Week 7

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big East fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

11/14. West Virginia

Not a bad week for West Virginia, who saw a rise in both polls despite having the week off. As teams begin to stumble in conference play, the Mountaineers will continue to rise as one of the most impressive 1-loss teams. If they continue to ride the gas pedal against the rest of the Big East conference slate, the Mountaineers could continue to rise and break into the top ten.

However, Dana Holgorsen's squad really does not have much to gain from the pollsters from here on out. The best possible finish for the Mountaineers in 2011 is likely a Big East title and BCS bowl win. Their focus has shifted from the national scene to the six conference match ups left on the schedule. Keep winning and West Virginia will have an opportunity to achieve all of their goals. Any slip ups along the way, and things could get interesting.


Others receiving votes:Cincinnati and Rutgers, both 5-1 overall and undefeated in conference play, saw some attention from the Coaches and Associated Press voters.  The Scarlet Knights put together an impressive comeback against Navy this past weekend, while the Bearcats outlasted the youthful (and sloppy) Louisville Cardinals.  Rutgers is probably the surprise of the conference this season, with freshman quarterback Gary Nova taking over for Chas Dodd.  They will face a tough challenge on Friday, visiting that angry Louisville team looking for redemption. 

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:18 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 12:01 pm
 

BCS Standings Top 10 Reactions, Week 7



Posted by Eye On College Football


On Sunday night the first BCS standings of the season were released. While the Coaches Poll and AP remain divided on the order of the top three, the most important rankings have LSU with a slight numerical advantage over Alabama for the No. 1 spot. The Bedlam rivals hold down 3 and 4, while Boise State is holding down the familiar position of the outside looking in.

You can check out a rundown of the Top 10 below, with some thoughts from our College Football Bloggers. For a full breakdown of the Top 25 teams in the BCS formula, you can check out the comprehensive standings.


1. LSU : Les Miles' team is in the drivers seat, so it's pretty simple. Keep winning and the Tigers are playing for a national title. Though with games against Alabama, Arkansas and the SEC title game left, it won't be easy. - Tom Fornelli 

2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide have faced three ranked opponents, played four SEC conference games, and still are only allowing 7.0 points per game. The methodical beatdowns of Alabama's opponents have set up the armageddon match against LSU on Nov. 5. If the Tide win that game and continue their high level of play, they will find themselves competing for Nick Saban's third championship in New Orleans come January. - Chip Patterson 

3. Oklahoma: The Sooners find themselves behind both LSU and Alabama, which means that Oklahoma wouldn't be playing for a national title if the season ended now. The good news for Oklahoma is that LSU and Alabama still have to play each other, so if the Sooners win out, they'll likely finish in the top two. - TF
 

4. Oklahoma State : The computers love the Cowboys, but that's not enough to get them into the top two spots. Good news for them, though, is they still control their own destiny as they get to play Oklahoma and LSU will play Alabama. - TF

5. Boise StateThe Broncos' best chance for a late quality win was assumed to be their one-time MWC showdown with TCU. With the Horned Frogs suffering a significant drop-off from 2010, Boise could easily finish the season undefeated and find themselves outside the top 2 (or 4) in the polls and BCS rankings. Boise State's best chance to make their first appearance in a title game is to get a lot of upset help from the Big 12 and SEC - CP

6. WisconsinWhile it's certainly disappointing to see a team of Wisconsin's caliber rated this low in the BCS, it's not exactly surprising; Wisconsin's first half of the season has been one blowout after another, and in a rating system that's not allowed to consider margin of victory, the only thing that matters is the teams you play. At the very least, Wisconsin is set to face some tougher competition in the coming weeks, so don't expect to see the Badgers ranked at 10th or lower in as many polls by the time November rolls around. - Adam Jacobi

7. Clemson: While the nation waits for Clemson's suspected collapse, Dabo Swinney's squad continues to grind out victories and hang out just inside the Top 10. Tajh Boyd's development and Sammy Watkins' arrival have come at the perfect time for the Tigers, who are four victories away from running the table in the ACC. - CP

8. Stanford:The Cardinal find themselves eighth in the initial BCS standings this year, an improvement from the 13th spot they debuted at last season. While some expected Andrew Luck and company to be slightly higher, their schedule has hurt them in the computer rankings because they have not played a ranked team yet. Stanford still controls their own destiny for the Rose Bowl but have a remote national title shot unless they get some help. - Bryan Fischer

9. Arkansas:The highest ranked one-loss team in the initial BCS standings, the Razorbacks could wind up in a BCS bowl again this year. They also have the chance to play spoiler for top ranked LSU and Alabama and cause some serious chaos in the national title race.- BF


10. Oregon: Fresh off a victory over probably Pac-12 South division winner Arizona State, the Ducks are in a good spot in the top 10 of the initial standings. They are the second highest one-loss team, right behind Arkansas, and their only loss is to top-ranked LSU. The computers send a mixed message about Oregon but as long as they keep winning, they have nowhere to go but up. - BF 

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 6:25 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 7

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

8/8. Clemson

 Those who have been claiming this could be a special year for Clemson football received some great support from the Tigers' come-from-behind performance.  Entering as a touchdown favorite over their division rivals at Maryland, Clemson sputtered and found themselves facing an 18-point deficit.  Only one other time in program history (1992 against Virginia) has a Clemson team come back from an 18+ point deficit to win.  Saturday's game was the perfect example of the type of loss that has frustrated Clemson fans for the last two decades.  A talented roster with conference title hopes shows up flat and gets stunned in a game they should win.  That script was shredded by Sammy Watkins' school-record 345 all-purpose yards, keeping this new group of young Tigers undefeated and in the Top 10. 


16/14. Virginia Tech

After turning the corner against Miami, the Hokies continued to improve their offensive execution against a relentless Wake Forest defense.  After falling behind 14-0 early, Logan Thomas battled Virginia Tech back into the game and pulled away late with a 38-17 victory.  Thomas and star running back David Wilson combined for 524 all-purpose yards of offense, gashing an undersized Demon Deacons squad and controlling the pace of the game deep into the final quarter.  As usual, Frank Beamers squad has bounced back from an early loss and is playing some of their best ball in the conference season.  With Georgia Tech's loss, the Hokies are back in the race to defend their ACC Coastal Division crown.

20/19. Georgia Tech

Last week the Yellow Jackets got their first scare, and failure to improve on the offensive mistakes led to their first loss a week later.  Georgia Tech has slowly regressed as the season has progressed, and now Paul Johnson needs to find a way to re-focus this team.  Injuries on defense left Georgia Tech vulnerable to a physical Virginia rushing attack, and the Cavaliers exposed a uncharacterstic lack of physicality along the Tech offensive line.  Georgia Tech's fast start will give them one more chace in the eyes of the voters, but another performance like Saturday's loss to Virginia could drop them from their brief stay in the polls.

Others receiving votes: Wake Forest continues to collect some momentum from voters, even in their losing effort to Virginia Tech.  Despite suffering a loss at the hands of Miami, North Carolina still saw some action from the coaching poll voters.  The coaches/SIDs also showed some respect to Mike London and Virginia, who received a few votes in their poll.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 9:41 am
 

CBSSports.com Conference Power Rankings (Oct. 11)



Posted by Chip Patterson


An SEC team has won the last five national championships. You don't need me to tell you that though, the conference does a fine job of letting you know with their 2011 media guide. But despite their claims as the best conference in the land, they do not get to permanently sit atop the CBSSports.com Conference Power Rankings without backing it up on the field.

The SEC would still hold on to the top spot this week if the entire league was just the SEC West. But ranking these conferences involves taking the entire membership into consideration, and the East is not doing their part to uphold SEC supremacy. Florida can't keep a quarterback healthy, South Carolina can't keep a quarterback on the team, and Georgia still seems to a be team figuring itself out.

The good news for a fan of one of these teams is that you have a great chance to make the trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game. The bad news is the West division likely will occupy both BCS berths and likely the top 1-2 affiliated bowl games after that. The SEC's imbalance knocks them down to No. 2 in the power rankings making way for a new league at the top spot: the Big 12.

Oklahoma's Red River Beatdown of Texas only strengthened the league's resume, with the Sooners justifying their place as one of the three national frontrunners. In the same weekend, Oklahoma State continued to show they don't need no stinkin' Dana to hang close to triple digits on a conference opponent. Kansas State is tired of being underrated, and Baylor's loss to the Wildcats suddenly looks more respectable. Throw in the other Texas schools and you've got more than half of the conference receiving national recognition of some sort.

As demonstrated by the Sooners on Saturday, there is definitely a pecking order. But as you work your way down that pecking order you will find teams playing at a high level, working to put together their best possible product. The same can't be said for the SEC right now, and that's why the Big 12 has taken over the top spot in the CBSSports.com Conference Power Rankings.

Here's the rest of the rundown, let us know how much you disagree with the rankings in the comments below or yell at me on Twitter.

1. Big 12 (LW: 2)- As mentioned above, the conference just seems to be playing to their potential more than any league in the game right now. Kansas' struggles seem appropriate and Missouri is still to young to be counted on for any kind of consistency. The Big 12 has not jumped SEC in any kind of "big picture" sense, but for this week during this season: they are No. 1.

2. SEC (LW: 1) - The curious tale of South Carolina is currently the headline in the SEC East. On one hand, Conner Shaw had a great outing on Saturday and the Gamecocks are still 5-1 and the frontrunner to win the division. On the other, it was against lowly Kentucky and before Stephen Garcia received the official boot from the team. Georgia has things moving in the right direction, Florida may be on the edge of a free-fall, and anyone expecting consistency out of the Mississippi schools in 2011 is asking the wrong questions. All that said, still arguably the best conference in football.

3. Pac-12 (LW: 3) - Have to give the conference some credit for being the first one to start up the "coaching carousel" talk. An 0-4 start to conference play was all Arizona was prepared to see before showing Mike Stoops the door. Oregon continued their lethal ground attack while Andrew Luck remained practically (there was an INT against the Buffs) perfect. Even UCLA-Wazzu provided entertainment with the Bruins charging back from eight down in the fourth quarter to knock off the Cougars.

3. Big Ten (LW: 4) - Gave the Big Ten a boost here for the sole reason that Nebraska avoided a monumental collapse to Ohio State at home. The Wolverines and Illini taking care of business helped cement their ranked status for the moment, and Penn State is entering the heart of conference play undefeated with only a non-conference loss to Alabama on their resume. Not ready to buy the Nittany Lions after a pair of ugly wins with their two-quarterback system, but Happy Valley could be a trap for either Illinois or Nebraska heading into the down the stretch of conference play.

5. ACC (LW: 5) - With three straight losses, Florida State is searching for health and a reboot on the season. With four straight wins, Wake Forest is ready to challenge Clemson in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Virginia Tech avoided two straight conference losses thanks to Logan Thomas' best performance of the season, and Georgia Tech survived a late push from Maryland's backup quarterback to match last season's win total. As long as the conference leaders continue to win and the league gets more wins from 4-1 Wake Forest and 5-1 North Carolina, the league will hold strong just outside the Big Four.

6. Big East (LW: 6) - Pittsburgh follows up their impressive showing on national television by dropping a dud against Rutgers. Sounds about right for the Big East. Rutgers is now the flavor of the month in the conference, with the Scarlet Knights' defense getting praise for forcing four turnovers against the Panthers and holding them to 2-14 on third down. Louisville had a chance to knock off a flat North Carolina squad for the league, but two missed field goals and an impotent offense could only produce one score against the Tar Heels. Unfortunately by the time the Cardinals did cross the goal line in Chapel Hill, there was less than a minute on the clock and they trailed by two scores. The league has five teams with 4+ victories, but no teams (including West Virginia) have had consistent performances at this point in the season.

7. Conference USA (LW: 8) - Conference USA continues their rise up the conference power rankings thanks to some impressive performances by Houston, SMU, and Southern Miss. I realize this seems hypocritical after boasting about conference depth in the SEC/Big 12 discussion, but having three teams in the national spotlight is more than any of the conferences below can say heading into Week 7.

8. Mountain West Conference (LW: 7) - Wyoming suffered a brutal 63-19 defeat at Utah State, after having a week to recover from their loss to Nebraska. Boise State continues to lead the way for the conference, and TCU was able to bounce back with an impressive defensive showing at San Diego State. Air Force and Colorado State are the big question marks in the league, and continued victories could boost the overall status of the Mountain West in weeks to come.

9. WAC (LW: 10) - Fresno State once again did little to stand in the way of Boise State, as the Broncos trounced their former conference rivals in Bulldog Stadium on Friday night. However, Utah State's beatdown of Mountain West foe Wyoming was able to even the score between the two leagues on the weekend.

10. MAC (LW: 9) - Miami put together a surprising late-game rally to knock off Army for their first win of the season. The Redhawks have struggled to get going in 2011, and if Zac Dysert can continue performances like his four second half touchdowns on Saturday things could be looking up. Toledo and Temple issued predictably impressive blowouts against Ball State and Eastern Michigan, and Central Michigan hung with N.C. State until the Wolfpack pulled away in the second half.

11. Sun Belt (LW: 9) - Now with wins over Florida International and Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette has put themselves in a position to steal the Sun Belt conference from the preseason league favorites. Outside of that storyline, there is very little notable that has been buzzing in this conference since FIU's back-to-back wins over Louisville and UCF.

Check back in to the Eye On College Football next week for the updated edition of the Conference Power Rankings.


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