Well, it’s that time. Conference rankings, based solely on inter-conference games. As usual, the best college football right now is being played in the Deep South. Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi State have some embarrassing results, but no one else does. Save Mississippi’s last-second defeat to ACC #1 Wake Forest and the top 9 SEC teams don’t even have a single non-conference loss. The SEC has had 5 teams ranked in the top 10 this year and 9 teams in the top 25.
The second best conference is clearly the Big XII. Texas A&M is struggling, as is Baylor, but the Big XII looks extremely strong in the middle and especially at the top, with 4 top 10 teams. No one except the SEC can make an argument here.
Despite taking a beating in the media for a handful of bad results in Week 1, the ACC currently leads a pack of three conferences that includes the Pac-10 and the Big 10. The ACC won’t get too much love as long as Wake Forest is their standard bearer but the strength of the ACC lies in the middle of the conference. While teams like Clemson and Florida State have been disappointing, teams like North Carolina and Georgia Tech have been looking strong in the nonconference.
The next two conferences are currently tied at 4th. Big things were expected out of the Pac-10 this year, but 7 nonconference losses in Week 3 were enough to dispell any hopes of making a run this year. The Big Ten still hasn’t beaten anyone in a nonconference game who isn’t in the bottom half of their conference save the MAC, and even then several Big Ten teams have really struggled in putting away MAC teams.
Last–and least–is the Big East. Now, fortunately for the Big Ten and the Pac 10, non-major conferences are not included in this ranking. Otherwise I would be tempted to place the Mountain West conference right there with them. If those two are fortunate, the Big East should be thanking their lucky stars because I’m not sure they would be in the top 10. South Florida is probably a legit top 25 team, but no one else in the Big East has escaped at least one embarrassing nonconference result. This conference is just awful and South Florida may be the beneficiary. Thankfully the Big East isn’t as overhyped as the Big Ten, so I don’t think we have to worry about USF pulling an Ohio State this year.