Conference Power Rankings: Big Ten Opens on Top After Week 1

Art VandelayCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2010

Conference Power Rankings: Big Ten Opens on Top After Week 1

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    Because everyone else comes out with power rankings for everything, I've figured it's time I do so as well. 

    The SEC has dominated our recent history in college football, but this year their crown is least after what I saw from Week 1 (and unfortunately part of Week 2 because I did watch the Mississippi State-Auburn game last night).

    *Note: I've only ranked the conferences I feel are substantial.

8. Big East

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    Week 1 Record: 4-4

    Season Record (as of 09/05/2010): 4-4

    It's been a tough start for the already-struggling Big East.  Three of the conference favorites lost their opening game.

    Who Impressed: There wasn't a whole lot, but I was actually impressed that Louisville played Kentucky as tough as they did.  I was also impressed that the Big East schools were willing to travel across the country to play dangerous non-BCS foes (Cincinnati@Fresno St, Pitt@Utah).  Unfortunately for them, the football gods (or god for you football monotheists) did not smile upon them for their efforts.

    Who Unimpressed: UCONN was substantially unimpressive.  I understand that Michigan matched up very well with UCONN, but the Huskies were sloppy.  Their quarterback put way too much air under passes and under-threw receivers all day.  They had their chances, but in the end, against a very mediocre defense (at best), they only came up with 10 points.

    Pitt was outgained by almost 140 yards.  It's really hard to win on the road if your defense can't get any stops.

    Cincinnati only racked up 15 rushing yards against Fresno State.  It's no wonder they lost by two touchdowns.

7. Western Athletic Conference

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    Week 1 Record: 5-3

    Season Record: 5-3

    The WAC had a very impressive showing in week 1.  Boise got the high profile win, but just about every other team did at least what it was supposed to, or exceeded expectations.

    Who Impressed: Boise State is the obvious choice for traveling across the country to essentially play on the road, and get a tough win against a top 20 BCS team.  They had the fire to jump out on top of the Hokies, and the poise to finish them off.

    Hawaii had their way with the USC defense in the loss.  USC might not be as talented or well-coached as they were 3 or 4 years ago, but they are still easily one of the 10 or 15 most talented teams in the country.

    Utah State, generally a bottom feeder really took it to Oklahoma, giving the Sooners all they could handle.

    Fresno St beat up a solid Cincinnati, giving the WAC more credence.

    Who Unimpressed: No one underperformed significantly, although Nevada gave up way too much against Eastern Washington, and Louisiana Tech looked pretty terrible against Grambling State, but that wasn't terribly unexpected anyways.

6. Mountain West

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    Week 1 Record: 6-3

    Season Record: 6-3

    It appears as though the Mountain West is once again, going to be very top heavy.  The three favorites got big wins in Week 1, but the bottom feeders looked really bad. 

    They had better perform better, or else the WAC might just pass them, as it seemed like every team performed better than expected out West.

    Who Impressed: Utah coming up with a tough win at home against a talented Pitt.

    BYU really impressed by taking out extremely talented Washington, and in doing so, maybe the best quarterback in the nation.

    TCU looked good beating a BCS foe in Oregon State, who boasts a couple of the most electrifying players in the country.

    Who Unimpressed: New Mexico lost unacceptably badly.  59-0 at halftime?  Come on.  I know Oregon's good, but 72-zip? And that's only because they went EASY on you in the second half.

    Wyoming only winning by eight against FCS Southern Utah doesn't bode well for them in this tough conference.

    Colorado State looked pathetic against a weak Colorado team.

    UNLV got spanked at home.  I know Wisconsin's very good, but getting beaten at home to a team that had to travel over 1,500 miles to get there is not going to look good for the program.

5. ACC

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    Week 1 Record: 10-2

    Season Record: 10-2

    The ACC did rack up a lot of wins, but it lost its only two nationally televised games. 

    Week 2 is going to be an extremely important week for the conference, who has a reputation for not being able to win games on the big stage.

    Who Impressed: Miami and Florida State look like they could be the two potential players to restore respect for this struggling BCS conference. 

    While neither of their wins were particularly impressive or more than expected, they did what they were supposed to do.  This could finally be the year Miami and Florida State play in the conference championship game.

    UNC played admirably with so much of their team suspended.  They were one horrendous no-call pass-interference away from upsetting the overrated, but talented Tigers of Louisiana State.

    Maryland did the unbelievable and beat a quality team in Navy, who plays everyone tough.

4. Pac 10

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    Week 1 Record: 6-4

    Season Record: 6-4

    The Pac 10 has a lot of talented teams, but had better quit pulling an ACC, and win some big games. 

    Even so, this conference is like the ACC in the fact that it's extremely competitive, but there's no clear power that will contend for national championships year-in and year-our now that USC's under sanctions. 

    Their Week 1 performance wasn't terrible, but they lost all the games they should have and didn't do a whole lot of impressing.  The teams who should have won, won, and the teams who should have lost, lost.

    Who Impressed: Oregon completely and ridiculously obliterating New Mexico quickly is making fans forget about that Masoli guy who got kicked off the team.  Who was he again, and why was he so important?

    Who Unimpressed: Washington State looks like they might be as bad as any team in the country.  It's amazing to think that it wasn't that long ago that they were a Top 5 team.

3. Big 12

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    Week 1 Record: 11-1

    Season Record: 11-1

    Week 1 was a successful one for the Big 12 in the win-loss column, but the favorites to win the conference looked sloppy to start the season. 

    It should be noted that three Big 12 teams squared off against other BCS conference teams, and they came out 3-0.

    Who Impressed: Kansas State beat a very good UCLA at home in a game that most expected them to lose.

    Oklahoma State pulled an Oregon-New Mexico on Washington State, just demoralizing another Pac 10 team.

    Who Unimpressed: Oklahoma's secondary. Utah State should NEVER have been within four touchdowns of the Sooners after halftime.

    Texas looked very sloppy on both sides of the ball and certainly didn't look like a Top 5 team.

    Kansas . . . just embarrassing.  It's one thing to lose to a(n) FCS team, but to lose 6-3, that's shameful, especially for being the conference's lone blemish.

2. SouthEastern Conference

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    Week 1 Record: 10-2

    Season Record (as of 09/05/2010): 10-2

    Unfortunately I watched Mississippi State play Auburn on Thursday, so fair or unfair, I also have factored that game into my analysis. 

    The SEC looked very sloppy to open the season.  They finished well in the win loss column, and definitely still have a power in Alabama, but everyone else is very questionable.  Still, most of the teams did what they were supposed to.

    Who Impressed: Vanderbilt was the lone impressive team by not getting beaten badly by Northwestern at home. 

    Northwestern looked great against Auburn less than a year ago, and looked terrible against the Commodores in a match-up between two private academic powerhouses.

    Who Unimpressed: Florida obviously was a surprise.  John Brantley never looked good, and it didn't help that he couldn't get into any kind of rhythm because of all the missed snaps. 

    More than that, though, Miami (OH) controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game, and the Gators will certainly need to clean things up before they play host to South Florida.

    Auburn Defense; they gave up almost 400 yards to Arkansas State to start things off, and let the Red Wolves stay in the game for over a half. 

    Against Mississippi State, they didn't get consistent pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary looked every bit as bad as early last season. 

    If it wasn't for horrific quarterback play and several untimely drops by Bulldog players, then Mississippi State would already have the SEC's first upset. 

    Auburn had better get things figured out before Arkansas comes to town, because Ryan Mallett will have a field day.

    Ole Miss is the obvious choice for disappointment.  It's not on the same level as Appalachian State-Michigan, but it's still pretty bad.  Things are not looking bright for the Rebels' chances in the SEC this year.

1. Big Ten

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    Conference Record: 9-2

    Season Record: 9-2

    You may think I'm being a bit of a homer, but in the word's of 'The Dude', "that's just, like, your opinion, man!" 

    The Big Ten appears to have 4 national championship contenders this year in Iowa, Ohio State, a dark horse in Wisconsin, and Nebraska. 

    Okay, I get it.  Nebraska doesn't count, but still, 3 legitimate contenders who are all top 10 teams in my opinion.

    The Big Ten also has depth this year, with Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State all sporting quality teams.

    Who Impressed: Michigan was the biggest pleasant surprise for the conference, and Denard Robinson looks like the real deal.

    Illinois performed better than expected against a veteran Missouri squad, and they held a very explosive offense in check in the loss.

    Wisconsin: not a lot of BCS teams have the moxie to schedule dangerous OOC games against teams across the country that would completely embarrass you if it's close, yet Wisconsin did just that, and beat UNLV handily.

    Who Unimpressed: Michigan State looked sloppy on offense.  Luckily they'll have one more week to clean things up before the Irish come knocking.

    Penn State looked very sloppy, and couldn't run the ball against FCS Youngstown State.  What happened to their offensive line from last year? 

    They finished the season so strongly once they gelled toward the end of the season, and they look so mediocre.  They're making me look bad with my prediction that they'd upset Alabama.

    Indiana: all I'm going to say is their defense is BAD.

    Northwestern: despite going on the road to play an SEC school, Northwestern was expected to be better than they played against Vandy.  That kind of play won't fly in the Big Ten.