College Football Rankings 2012: Big 12 Will End Season with More Teams Than SEC

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2012

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 2: Nick Florence #11 of the Baylor University Bears calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the SMU Mustangs on September 2, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The SEC dominates the AP, Coaches and every other poll out there during most of the college season.

It's regarded as the supreme conference in college football, but this season the final rankings will reflect that the Big 12, with only 10 teams to the SEC's 14, has more teams in the top 25.

Here's the current breakdown of conference representation heading into Week 3 of the college football season:

SEC (6)

Big 12 (5)

Pac 12 (5)

ACC (3)

Big 10 (3)

Independent (2)

Big East (1)

The SEC will always have the leg up on putting ranked teams on paper. They have 16 teams in the conference, far and away the highest number of any of the six major BCS-recognized groups.

Texas A&M and Missouri, two schools that were perennially ranked as a part of the Big 12, joined the SEC this year and Nebraska left before the 2011 season. That leaves only 10 teams in the Big 12, with the additions of West Virginia and TCU. 

Looking forward in the SEC, Alabama and LSU will be ranked all season. The same goes for Georgia and South Carolina, who figure to be top-15 teams most of the way if they can play close/win on the road and win at home each week.

But the other candidates to finish the season aren't so strong.

Arkansas is out of the rankings and likely has two more losses coming to Alabama and LSU. Texas A&M isn't a guaranteed win, either. Tennessee and Florida, two teams entering the week ranked and opposing each other, will knock the loser out of the picture.

Creeping is Mississippi State after a dismantling of Auburn at home, and Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Missouri all look like they are going to take their lumps.

The conference is now so strong that even though an 8-4 Florida team would likely over-match an 9-3 Baylor team in the Big 12, the rankings might not reflect that.

The Big 12 has a chance to finish the year with six teams in the rankings, maybe more if you are a believer in Oklahoma State's offense. It figures to be another year where OU and Texas shape the conference in the Red River Shootout, but that's not the only storyline at play.

West Virginia, behind Heisman candidate Geno Smith, is here to crash the party. Kansas State, TCU and Baylor all have something to prove in the conference. Even Iowa State has played well and knocked off ranked teams from week-to-week.

The bottom line is, it might not be dominance, and it won't reflect the overall state of college football. The SEC is still the king of the hill when it comes to the sport, and likely will be until the "super conference" era hits full stride.

But with so many teams struggling to keep their head above water, I think you'll see more 7-5 than 9-3 this year in the SEC, while the Big 12 has a chance to pump out the opposite.