College Football: Conference Power Rankings - BCS Conferences

Michael ShibleySenior Analyst IJuly 12, 2008

With the season fast approaching, here is my look at how the conferences rank at the start of the season:

1. SEC: The numbers can do the talking for the SEC.  The league has won three of the last five national championships, and in hindsight should have had another shot when Auburn was shut out of the BCS title game in 2004.  Plus, the SEC has won all four of its BCS games the past two seasons by a combined score of 161-62.

There is no shift in power going into this season as Florida and Georgia are on the short list of National Title contenders.  LSU, Auburn, and Tennessee all have a good chance to win the conference as well.  Top to bottom, it has the best coaches and is the deepest in terms of talent.  No conference game in the SEC will be an easy out this year.

2. Big XII: The best quarterbacks are here this year.  Five quarterbacks in the conference have a chance to be All-America: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Colt McCoy, Todd Ressing, and Graham Harrell.  Cody Hawkins and Zac Robinson aren't too bad either.

A funny thing happened while Oklahoma and Texas were waiting for Nebraska and Texas A&M to get better.  Missouri and Kansas surprised everyone last year and will make noise this year as well.  Also, keep an eye on Texas Tech and Oklahoma State as both have the offense to make some noise.

3. Pac-10: For years, USC has been king of the mountain with everyone else looking up.  However, last year Stanford and Oregon gave them a good shove but could not knock them down as the Trojans were back in the Rose Bowl beating up on another Big Ten team.

This year Arizona State, with Rudy Carpenter at QB are the biggest threat to the Trojan throne and can make some noise on the national scene if they can knock of the Georgia Bulldogs on September 20.  Oregon should have the best defense in the conference outside of USC and will be solid again, UCLA will only get better under Rick Neuheisel, and California and Oregon State are tough outs.

4. Big Ten: This year it is Ohio State and then everyone else.  The Buckeyes are loaded and have another great chance of making it to another BCS title game.  They can cement their position by taking out Southern Cal on September 13.

Wisconsin is the next best team if they can find a suitable replacement at quarterback.  Illinois will get better with QB Juice Williams and Ron Zook's recruiting.  Penn State has some exciting playmakers and could be a contender if they can survive a tough road slate.  Michigan will be fine under Rich Rodriguez, but won't challenge for the title this year.

5. ACC: Looks like they are still experiencing some growing pains after expansion.  Miami and Florida State are still staggering in mediocrity and the league was 2-6 in bowl games last year.

Clemson is the only real contender on the national scene this year, let's hope they don't squander it this year.  Wake Forest, FSU, and Virginia Tech are the only other teams that are top 25 teams.

6. Big East: The competitiveness of this league is what makes it fun to watch.  Only Syracuse should be an easy win, while the rest of the league will be a dogfight.  Unfortunately on the national scene only West Virginia and South Florida are top 25 teams.  Still with many of their big games on Thursday nights on ESPN the conference race should be exciting.

So there you have it.  These rankings are sure to change during the season so look back at the end of each month for new conference power rankings.