Ranking the Power 5 conferences after National Signing Day

It’s a question that gets brought up whenever media types discuss College Football Playoff rankings or examine bowl records.Which conference is the best in college football?

After the 2017 season, it’s easy to say the SEC, given the All-SEC national title game, along with Auburn beating both teams. The Big Ten has a case to make, as it went 7-1 in bowl games with the lone loss coming because of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. The ACC saw one its traditional powers falter, Florida State, and yet there were still two teams alive (Clemson and Miami) for the College Football Playoff in the final week of the regular season.

Related: Updated 2018 college football recruiting team and conference rankings

So with another major checkpoint, National Signing Day, reached in the college football off-season, it’s time to reexamine where each conference ranks in regards to each other. And while these might not mean much now, people will  hammer the strength of each conference when it comes time to debate whether or not a team belongs in the College Football Playoff.

1. Big Ten

The Big Ten got shut out of the College Football Playoff in 2017, but it was almost more because everyone beat everyone, rather than the conference lacking an elite team. And there’s an argument that the conference will be better in 2018. Ohio State and Penn State both secured top-5 recruiting classes, and Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State bring back a ton of returning talent. There’s a world in which the Big Ten has 5 of the top 10 teams in the first AP Poll come the fall. And while it’s hard to see them getting two teams into the playoff like the SEC, the top end of the conference is a clear-cut above that of the SEC.

2. SEC

As proven by the 2018 recruiting rankings, Alabama and Georgia are clearly a step above everyone else the conference. There’s a very good chance that both teams could get into the College Football Playoff once again, and 10 months out, the 2018 SEC Championship game certainly looks like a probable College Football Playoff play-in game. But the rest of the conference doesn’t quite stack up to the top cut of the Big Ten. Auburn loses a lot from last year’s team, and LSU might struggle given next year’s schedule and the questions about its offense. We don’t know how new Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead will look and Florida and Tennessee were total trainwrecks in 2017 and seem at least a year away. Given the instability that came as result of the many coaching changes, the SEC likely won’t be able to claim it is the top conference in college football next year.

3. ACC

Clemson is still going to be excellent in 2018 and will very likely make the College Football Playoff once again. Miami should still be a team that wins 10 games and if things break the right way, possibly contend for a playoff spot. Florida State can’t possibly be as bad as it was a season ago, when it went 7-6. While the top of the conference isn’t as good as the SEC and the Big Ten, it might be the best in terms of quality from top to bottom.

4. Big 12

Oklahoma is going to take a step back after losing a player as talented as Baker Mayfield, even if Kyler Murray proves to be a capable replacement. Texas won only seven games last year and still seems like a year away, despite bringing in the Big 12’s top recruiting class. West Virginia could be fun, but can we really take them seriously. TCU has to replace a lot on offense, as does Oklahoma State. The Big 12 certainly looks like a league that could possibly miss out on the playoff. Oklahoma is the only team from the conference to make the playoffs so far, and there’s a decent chance that is still true after the 2018 season.

5. Pac-12

Whether it be top-end talent, or possible playoff teams, the Pac-12 is clearly at the bottom. Washington is the conference’s only serious playoff contender. Stanford and USC both could make runs, but each school has to replace a lot production — Stanford on defense, USC on offense. UCLA and Arizona could be on the upswing given their coaching changes, but for 2018 ,the conference as a whole seems a step behind the other Power 5 conferences.

The post Ranking the Power 5 conferences after National Signing Day appeared first on SEC Country.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Poll names Votto friendliest player in baseball
Poll names Votto friendliest player in baseball

Joey Votto uses first base as a water cooler, starting conversation with almost every opponent who reaches base against the Cincinnati Reds. That’s one reason Votto was named the friendliest person to chat with at first base, in a poll of Major League Baseball players by The Athletic. He won 25 percent of the vote. On the MLB Network’s...
GCLC Central football: McNick voted favorite to extend title streak
GCLC Central football: McNick voted favorite to extend title streak

McNicholas High School’s goal is to close the door on the Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division with yet another football title. The Rockets have won six straight Central championships, and they’ve been voted preseason favorites by the GCLC coaches to do it again in 2018. “Just like any preseason or postseason award, we appreciate...
Former Centerville, Wright State golfer goes low; PGA Tour debut next
Former Centerville, Wright State golfer goes low; PGA Tour debut next

Former Wright State golfer Ryan Wenzler knew he was in good shape to earn a spot in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship this week after the front nine of the Monday qualifier. He distanced himself from the other 47 players vying for four berths in the field by carding a scorching 29. At the point, he just needed to avoid disaster on his way...
Michigan football sending local alumnus to Big Ten Football Media Days
Michigan football sending local alumnus to Big Ten Football Media Days

Looks like Michigan football will count a player from the Miami Valley to be among its senior leaders on defense for the second year in a row.  At least that’s one thing that can be gleaned from Tyree Kinnel being among the Wolverines’ representatives at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago next week.  Kinnel, a fourth-year player from...
NFL's helmet rule will leave players, refs, fans scratching their heads
NFL's helmet rule will leave players, refs, fans scratching their heads

On the screens rimming a Renaissance ballroom Friday, Ezekiel Elliott hits the line, veers right and is loose. Twenty yards later, Patrick Peterson finally catches up. A moment before the Cowboy and Cardinal grapple and tumble to the turf, Elliott greets Peterson in his customary manner, helmet to helmet. Blink, and you miss it. So Al Riveron shows...
More Stories