College Football Rankings 2012: Predicting Major Conference Winners After Week 8

Ethan GrantAnalyst IOctober 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jawan Jamison #23 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights out runs Hershey Walton #72 of the Temple Owls during the third quarter in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 20, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rutgers defeated temple 35-10. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The BCS Rankings have been announced for Week 9, and each major conference in college football has been represented on the board in various places. Among them, favorites are starting to emerge for conference supremacy.

The SEC, Big 12, Big 10, ACC, Big East and Pac-12 are considered the six major conferences in the country. Those are the "automatic qualifiers" for BCS games, although that system is poised to be scrapped upon the installation of a playoff system. 

Until then, we'll see all six conference winners in the BCS bowl game schedule, whether they deserve to be there or not.

Here's a projection of the conference winners after Week 8, as these teams have crucial conferences games in the next few weeks to determine their BCS outlook.


ACC: Florida State

Still behind North Carolina State in the rankings after a head-to-head loss, the Seminoles took care of Miami in Coral Gables behind a huge defensive effort on Saturday night.

While NC State might have the early edge towards the conference championship game, they still have tough games against Wake Forest and North Carolina in front, while having to travel to Clemson late in the season.

Clemson will also have a shot, and they're playing great football right now. But the speed on defense of this Florida State team will carry them to an ACC championship game bid to likely face the Duke Blue Devils, who are going bowling for the first time in 18 years. While a great story, no one would project Duke to take down Florida State.


Big 12: Kansas State

Can anyone slow down Optimus Klein and this rushing attack? After dropping 55 on previous title hopeful West Virginia in Morgantown, this Kansas State team boasts the nation's top Heisman candidate and a legitimate shot at a BCS title bid.

This week they'll get Texas Tech in a game that will likely make things clearer for the Big 12 picture. Since the Wildcats hold the tiebreaker over OU and the Sooners demolished Tech, a win would all but wrap up the Big 12 without the threat of a conference championship game.


Big 10: Penn State

They've still got Nebraska and Wisconsin to contend with, but with Ohio State out of the picture after their sanctions, this team has a real shot to emerge from the Leaders division. Their only road block will be Wisconsin, and with a head-to-head win that would take care of the worry.

Across the way, Michigan leads the Legends division, but Nebraska also only has one conference loss. Penn State has hit their stride after early upsets to Ohio and Virginia, and have ripped off five straight wins with QB Matt McGloin leading the way.

The defense is coming around, and Bill O'Brien's talented youngsters have really stepped up for the Nittany Lions, including Allen Robinson, who has eight touchdown receptions on the season.


Big East: Rutgers

The final showdown with Louisville will determine this conference. Cincinnati bowed out of the race after losing in Week 8, but Louisville and Rutgers managed to make it out of respective games unscathed.

The Scarlet Knights are one of college football's biggest surprise teams, and have a solid running game led by Jawan Jamison. Without a conference championship game and the final game against Louisville at home, Rutgers will finish out this season with an undefeated mark, all the while claiming a spot in a BCS game.


SEC: Florida

Call me crazy, but this Florida team has faced the gauntlet this season. I love their body of work, including road wins against Texas A&M and Tennessee, both of which were ranked at the time of the meeting.

Alabama still holds supremacy in college football, but with an impending matchup with Georgia to see who represents the East in the SEC title game, Florida will then have three huge road wins on their resume heading into the game against Alabama.

Alabama's running game is no joke, and Florida will have a hard time slowing down Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. However, only allowing 12 points per game, this stingy defense helps feed life to Jeff Driskel and the passing attack. I like Florida to emerge from the SEC.


Pac-12: Oregon

Oregon looks unbeatable right now, but that will change against USC, Stanford and Oregon State, three teams the Ducks will have to beat during the final weeks of the season.

They'll also have to beat USC or Stanford twice, depending on the winner of that side of the conference.

The road is rough, but the Ducks still have the nation's most prolific offense and some of the fastest skill players in the country. The atmosphere against USC will be something special, but I like Oregon to take care of business and return to the conversation for national title aspirations.