College Football Conference Rankings July 2010

SEC Football Auburn Vs AlabamaOne of the great things about college football betting is that we can never really know how good teams are, and how strong their conferences are, until the season starts. The turnover of players every year means that young players always play key roles, and we can’t know how they will handle them until they are tested in the heat of battle. Until the first couple of games are history everything we think about the sport is pure speculation. Luckily, speculation is a whole lot of fun. As we sit well under two months form the start of the season here’s how I rank the six major conferences based on their perceived strength:

1. SEC – I’ll be totally honest up front – I hate the SEC. It’s a painfully arrogant conference that gets far too much hype. If I hear one more word about their speed I’ll throw up. That being said, I can’t deny that they come into the season as the strongest conference. They have won the last four national championships, and Alabama has as good a chance as any team of winning it this year and repeating as champs. Alabama has to replace most of their defense, but the offense should be very good. Florida will be dangerous yet again if John Brantley can fill in capably for Tim Tebow – and there is no reason to think he can’t. Auburn could have a great year if Cameron Newton lives up to the hype. Arkansas could also surprise if Ryan Mallett is healthy. Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina could threaten as well. This is a deep conference.

2. Big Ten – I love the Big Ten even more than I hate the SEC. Ohio State is ready to be a major factor in the national picture as long as Terrelle Pryor continues to take steps forward. Wisconsin has a chance to be special as well anchored by a surprisingly good offense. The Badgers host the Buckeyes in a game that could be the de facto conference championship. Iowa has national potential if everything falls their way as well, and Penn State can cause more than their share of headaches. That’s four very solid teams. I’m also holding out hope that some kind of miracle happens and my beloved Wolverines can look like an actual football team for the first time in far too long – though I am braced to be disappointed on that front.

3. Big 12 – This league goes through a major overhaul this year with the departure of major stars like Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, and lesser lights like Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson of Oklahoma State. If the replacements step up, though, then this league can still make some noise. At the top of the heap is Texas. Garrett Gilbert is a very capable QB who got a head start on his career in the national championship game last year. He will be leading his team into a schedule that is laughably soft out of the conference, and can certainly be handled in the conference. If Gilbert plays well he could potentially reach his second national championship game despite only starting one season. Oklahoma is going to face a rougher road this year, but is still going to be dangerous. Nebraska keeps getting better, and will be looking to say goodbye to the Big 12 in grand style. Texas A&M could be a pleasant surprise as well, and I am excited to see what Turner Gill can do at Kansas.

4. Pac-10 – I wasn’t that optimistic about this conference in the first place, but two bouts of bad luck for teams has made things even worse – USC is not bowl eligible thanks to NCAA sanctions, and Oregon has lost Heisman caliber QB Jeremiah Masoli after he got caught bending the law. Still, USC has lots of talent and is always dangerous, and Oregon has QB Nate Costa ready to take over from Masoli, so they should both be huge factors. Andrew Luck is one of the players I am most excited to see in his second year at Stanford, and the Cardinal could be conference contenders under his leadership. Oregon State should be good as well – particularly on offense.

5. ACC – There are some interesting teams in the ACC, but all face real challenges before they can prove themselves in my eyes. Virginia Tech is probably the best of the lot, but they open the season against Boise State, and I’m not at all sure that they can win that. Georgia Tech is pesky, but lost their best players to the draft. Miami is a team I really like – especially QB Jacory Harris – but they have a tough schedule to overcome. Florida State is going through a coaching change and I really doubt their defense. Clemson is short of explosiveness and never seems to meet expectations. The ACC could be better than I think it is, but I doubt it.

6. Big East – This is just not a good conference. Five or six teams could win the conference, but none of them will scare the team they meet up with in the lesser BCS bowl they end up in. Pittsburgh is probably the best thanks to Dion Lewis, but they still have far more holes than a team should after so long under one good coach. Cincinnati loses their offense centerpieces and their brilliant coach. West Virginia has absolutely horrible coaching. Rutgers lacks depth. UConn does to. I’m not impressed.

We will continue to rank the BCS conferences throughout the college football season.  Conference strenght is a big factor when making college football predictions in non conference football games so knowing where each conference rates should be on your mind this college football season.

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  1. Wow, that’s some in depth analysis of the Big East there Lou…

    That no depth UConn sure did seem to lay a pretty good whipping on SEC “threat” South Carolina in their bowl game… but oh yeah it was kinda cold in Alabama that day so that doesn’t count.

  2. Seriously??? UConn is deep at every position save corner and safety…just ask the ESPN Big East blogger, who had no problems berating both Pitt and WVU for a lack of depth. UConn returns as many starters as South Carolina, and the gamecocks lose two of their best players in Norwood and Geathers. They will get waxed by Clemson as usual and are not a top 40 team this year.

    Can you name 5 players on our roster?

  3. SEC homer Maddux? What don’t some of teams down south make the trip up past the Mason Dixon line and put some money were there mouth is. It obvious you don’t may attention. Every year all I hear about is how great the SEC is and that because they spew how great they are and tough their conference is top to bottom. Well… The Big East has few teams that can win it this year and that makes them all weak. Give me a break… Come up North of once and the Northeast will put on a show. I wonder if anyone would come to “The Birthplace”?!?!?! Too cold??? lol….

  4. Jess this is UCONN, yes they return 16 starters but Andreas was pointing out the quality of players behind the starters. The difference between SEC talent and Big East talent isn’t even debatable. 31 more SEC players were drafted by NFL teams compared to the Big East. Yes they have more teams but picks per team it still isn’t close.

  5. Marosy I am not a fan of any school or conference, as a gambler I offer a perspective purely from a betting stand point. I wish the Big East did have more talent, it would be great for college football, problem is they dont. As for someone in the Big East winning it all, you can get some nice prices on all the Big East schools in the future odds so fire away. Hard for me to agree when we dont have 1 Big East school in our top 30 power ratings and anyone that actually wins betting college football would more than likely agree.

  6. The Big East isn’t close to the SEC and never will be and for what its worth I hate the SEC.

  7. I got a big kick out of your College Football Conference Rankings July 2010 article

    I am glad that the author prefaced his analysis with his honest personal views about both the SEC and the Big-10. Having grown up in the northeast, I know that is the myopic view of that area of the country. I wonder how mindsets such as the certainty that Michigan and Ohio State were obviously the best teams in college football in 2006 keeps working for folks up there.

    I have learned over the years that perception IS NOT reality. Having gone to UF and being a huge Gator fan, I have watched with amusement the ranting of Big-10 lovers for many years.

    The SEC is arrogant? What I keep seeing is the arrogance of Big-10 fans who refuse to admit that their conference is, and almost always has been, a two team conference.

    What I keep seeing is the arrogance of Big-10 fans who refuse to admit that Ohio State’s all-time record against SEC teams has anything to do with the quality of football in the two conferences.

    What I keep seeing is the arrogance of Big-10 fans who refuse to acknowledge statistics, showing conference strength, such as those found on the College Football Data Warehouse site.

    What I witnessed first hand (and what was witnessed by every Gator fan who I talked with) was the arrogance of Big-10 fans at the 2006 Fiesta Bowl who were outrageously rude to Gator fans. Their attitude was that Florida had no business playing against the great teams of the Big-10. Everyone I talked with said the same thing: Ohio State fans were arrogant and rude.

    I contrast that with my observations at the 1996 Fiesta Bowl when Nebraska kicked our butts. Every Gator fan I talked with said how friendly and courteous the Nebraska fans were.

    Every year I read hateful bile such as this post I found on your site:

    Every year all I hear about is how great the SEC is and that because they spew how great they are and tough their conference is top to bottom.

    In my observation the majority of SEC fans merely quote statistics and facts such as the fact that over the past 20 years Tennessee, LSU (2 times), Florida (3 times), and Alabama (2 times) have won National Championships. Is there any other conference that can boast four DIFFERENT teams winning the National Championship over that time span?

    These are merely facts.

    I have found SEC fans to be among the most knowledgeable college football fans in the country. We love the tradition, rivalries, and different teams throughout college football. SEC attendance records speak to that passion. Saying the SEC is the best conference in the country because the SEC has won the past four national championships, and because the statistics support that view, is not arrogance. It is fact.

    Arrogance comes from people who angrily spew nonsensical bile towards successful people and programs in order to feel good about themselves and their programs.

  8. Arctech the SEC is arrogant, and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. People love to hate greatness and with what the SEC has accomplished the last 4 years they deserve to be arrogant.

  9. It depends on how you define arrogant.

    In my (and many other people) experience, I have found the Big-10 not only to be arrogant but over-hyped by the large media markets of the north.

    By consensus, Ohio State fans were the most arrogant fans we have ever encountered.

    But then some people might say that many successful athletes are arrogant. Undoubtedly some are. Undoubtedly many are not arrogant but confident. Having a realistic appraisal of ability is confidence.

    Arrogance is an unrealistic appraisal of competence. Arrogance is rubbing someone’s face in their own inferiority. Arrogance is putting someone down in order to build up self-image. From my observations those traits better describe the typical Big-10 fan. However, I did enjoy my bowl experience the last time we lost to Michigan. The Michigan fans I met were all very nice both before and after the game. Same goes for Iowa fans.

    We can all look forward to a great season this year. I wholeheartedly agree that we cannot make accurate predictions until we see how the kids perform and how good is the team chemistry. As a bettor myself, that’s been my experience.

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