The SEC still has college football’s best team, but the title of best conference finally belongs to someone else after an exhilarating Week 1.
Alabama is the best team in the country, and it’s not even close after thrashing USC on Saturday. The rest of the conference, however, had a less than stellar weekend, paving the way for the Big Ten to momentarily take over the No. 1 spot.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how the conferences rank after Week 1.
1. Big Ten
The Big 10 already was closing in on the SEC before the season started thanks to Ohio State and Michigan, but now it finally gets to wear the crown, thanks in large part to Wisconsin’s stunning win over LSU. Michigan State didn’t exactly look impressive against Furman, but it still is a title contender and potential top-10 team. The conference did suffer one surprising loss with Western Michigan’s win over Northwestern, but it still went 12-2 overall (Rutgers also lost to Washington).
It’s only fair that we put the ACC ahead of the SEC thanks to head-to-head matchups. The ACC was 2-1 against the SEC after wins by Florida State and Clemson, while North Carolina’s loss to Georgia was the conference’s only blemish. The rest of the ACC mostly did its part, too, minus Virginia’s ugly loss to FCS Richmond. Most importantly, the conference still has two playoff contenders in the Tigers and Seminoles.
The good news for the SEC is it still has the best team in the nation, but just having Alabama isn’t enough to keep the SEC at No. 1. LSU’s offense looked abysmal in a 16-14 loss to Wisconsin, Ole Miss blew a huge lead against Florida State, Mississippi State lost to South Alabama while Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas all barely survived against inferior competition. That’s what we call a bad week, folks, even with Georgia and Texas A&M picking up nice non-conference wins.
Stanford and Washington both beat Power Five teams in convincing fashion in Week 1, but it still wasn’t a very good week for the Pac-12. USC got obliterated against Alabama, and UCLA staged a furious comeback against Texas A&M only to later lose in overtime. Oh, and Washington State’s inevitable loss to an FCS team happened again. Sigh.
5. Big 12
The good news for the Big 12 is Texas might finally be back after its incredible double-overtime win over Notre Dame, but its other high-profile non-conference game didn’t go as well. Oklahoma could be that team that goes from title contender to bust pretty quickly after its loss to Houston and a showdown with Ohio State looming in two weeks. Plus, TCU had to come from behind to beat South Dakota State, and Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa.
And then the best of the rest…
The title of best Group of Five conference still belongs to the American Athletic Conference. Houston now is a playoff contender thanks to its win over Oklahoma, and the conference only lost two games in Week 1.
7. Mountain West
The Mountain West didn’t pull off any big upsets like other Group of Five conferences in Week 1, but it didn’t do any damage to itself either.
Toledo and Western Michigan showed why they both are teams to watch out for. The Rockets blew out Arkansas State, while the Broncos earned a big win for MACtion against Northwestern.
9. Conference USA
C-USA was so close to having two upsets over the SEC, but it had to settle for one with Southern Miss’ comeback victory over Kentucky.
10. Sun Belt
The Sun Belt also almost won two games against the SEC. South Alabama earned the victory against Mississippi State, but Appalachian State lost in overtime to Tennessee.
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