Conference Power Rankings (Nov. 20): Bowl bids on the line

Conference Power Rankings

(previous: 1) 
Top 25 Teams: 6 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 8/14
Recently: SEC won Week 12, and not because most of its teams took care of business vs. FCS teams. Kansas State and Oregon losses put the SEC back in the national title picture. Now if Alabama and Georgia both win this week, the winner of the SEC Championship Game should be in position to finish in the top two of the BCS standings. Congrats if you bought the SEC low last week, because the stock is back up heading into Week 13. 
SEC Power Rankings

(previous: 3) 
Top 25 Teams: 4 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 8/12
Recently: The Ducks will need a lot of help, but Stanford's victory over Oregon -- as great a game as that was -- actually might have hurt the Pac-12 as a whole when it comes to the way the final rankings and standings sort out. The Ducks face an uphill battle that will require a win over Oregon State and a UCLA win over Stanford to realistically be back in contention. Of course, Stanford cares none for Conference Power Rankings. It is focused on getting its first Rose Bowl win in over a decade, not boosting the Pac-12 in some non-essential power rankings. 
Pac-12 Power Rankings

Big 12
(previous: T-1) 
Top 25 Teams: 4 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 7/10
Recently: The Big 12, like the Pac-12, took a bit of dip in its stock over the weekend by losing its national championship contender. We went from possibly seeing both high-level conferences playing for the BCS title to neither, with Oregon being the only team that could realistically climb back into the race.  
Big 12 Power Rankings

Big Ten
(previous: 4) 
Top 25 Teams: AP: 3, Coaches: 2
Bowl Eligible Teams: 5/12
Recently: The Big Ten has had a down year, and its bowl representation will be a little light with undefeated Ohio State and Penn State (7-4, 5-2 Big Ten) ineligible for the postseason, but the stock is up as the season comes to a close. The conference will likely finish with six or seven teams with seven or more wins, and as many as three 10-win teams.
Big Ten Power Rankings

(previous: T-5) 
Top 25 Teams: 2 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 6/13
Recently: We are heading into the last week of the season, and the MAC has as many nationally ranked teams as the ACC and the Big East, and it currently has more bowl eligible teams than both conferences as well.  Northern Illinois and Kent State will make for phenomenal football in the MAC championship game, arguably better competition and viewing than some other conferences.

Big East
(previous: T-5) 
Top 25 Teams: 2 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 4/8
Recently: The best thing for the Big East is to have Rutgers and Louisville both convincingly win their next-to-last conference games on Saturday. It would set up a primetime, nationally televised showdown on Thursday night for a "Big East Championship Game" feel. An Orange Bowl bid will be on the line, but the league -- struggling a bit on the PR front at the moment -- could use some good football on the big stage to boost confidence in the on-field product.
Big East Power Rankings

(previous: T-5) 
Top 25 Teams: 2 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 5/12
Recently: The ACC and Big East both had their week interrupted by the unfortunate news that their families were likely going to be getting a little smaller, with the news of Maryland and Rutgers in serious discussions with the Big Ten. The conference gained bowl-eligible teams with wins for Miami and Georgia Tech, only to immediately drop one with the Hurricanes' self-imposed sanction for the second straight year. The fear of not filling bowl bids is a reality for the ACC, with only five teams currently eligible for 7/8 spots.
ACC Power Rankings

(previous: 8) 
Top 25 Teams: AP: 1, Coaches: 0 
Bowl Eligible Teams: 4/7
Recently: Keeping the WAC below the ACC and Big East, but in a tie with the Mountain West is more about the conference sliding down a bit in these final weeks. With the dissolution of the conference imminent, the national spotlight has drifted away from this league of growing programs. Utah State-Louisiana Tech was one of best games on an already exciting day of football, yet it was missed entirely by many college football fans. I wish the WAC was getting more attention, but that's just not the way it has been over the last 3-4 weeks.

Mountain West
(previous: T-9) 
Top 25 Teams: AP: 0, Coaches: 1
Bowl Eligible Teams: 5/10
Recently: Unfortunately the Mountain West has been relatively underwhelming on the national scene over the last few week. While the race between Fresno State, San Diego State, and Boise State heats up down the stretch for shares of the conference title, the lack of a contender or a few nationally-ranked teams has kept the MW below the fold. The competition with the new members has been great, but it has not provided the national flavor many expected heading into the season.

Sun Belt
(previous: T-9) 
Top 25 Teams: 0 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 5/10
Recently: It has been a banner year for the Sun Belt, getting five teams eligible for the postseason. Also, since Middle Tennessee blew out Georgia Tech on the road, and the Yellow Jackets are playing for the ACC title, the Blue Raiders could possibly have a win over an Orange Bowl participant on their resume. If you ask me, we should have given coach Rick Stockstill a shot at his alma mater in the title game.

(previous: 11) 
Top 25 Teams: 0 (both polls)
Bowl Eligible Teams: 3/12
Recently: At least Conference USA has Tulsa (9-2, 7-0 Conference USA) carrying the banner proudly, as many of the other contenders in the conference have been broken when tested in conference play. The Golden Hurricanes beat UCF on Saturday 23-21, setting up what could be a pretty good conference title game in Week 14.

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