What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. There is a rule in the blogosphere that says if you tag more than three posts with “college football,” you are required to do a pre-season ranking. Failure to do so will get your nose flayed and your genitals set on fire.
With that…teams are rated within their conference, and the conferences are ranked in order of overall strength.
Plus, since here at Dubsism we are believers in the yin and yang of things, we felt it necessary not only to do the obligatory Top 25 list, but a comprehensive list as well. Why? Because for every team that should be admired for its prowess, there is one that should be pitied for its ineptitude.
* – denotes bowl ineligible teams (as of this writing)
Frankly, nobody in this group will likely matter in terms of a Top 25, Navy and Notre Dame are the best shots to make bowl games, and even Army has a contactually-obligated shot if they make eligibility. Notre Dame has a brtual schedule, and what talent they do have is being suspended at an alarming pace.
This year, this conference might as well be the “Leftovers Conference.” By this time next year, the WAC will officially no longer exist. Two years ago, the WAC had a marquee program in Boise State which bolted for the Mountain West Conference, and after last year year, consistent bowl programs Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii, made the same move. The bottom line is this conference is really irrelevant. This conference will put a couple of teams into a couple low-end bowl games; unless you are a hard-core college football junkie, there’s no real reason to pay attention to this league.
10) Sun Belt Conference
In the world that is conference realignment, the Sun Belt had remained untouched until Conference USA began raiding its ranks for members to replace the teams it will be losing to the Big East in 2013.
The Sun Belt adds South Alabama from the FCS this season, and next year will add Georgia State and first-year WAC member Texas State. This is to offset the losses FIU and North Texas to Conference USA to help that league with its losses of Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the Big East. In other words, this is still an FBS conference in its fetal stages.
9) Conference USA
This conference reminds me of an NBA All-Star game. Everybody can score and nobody plays defense. Naturally, it can be said that a conference with such offensive output would have some seriously weak defenses…and it would be correct to say that. Most of the defenses in this league “couldn’t stop a nosebleed” and are perfectly represented by East Carolina. The Pirates were at the bottom in nearly every defensive statistic and were joined by three other C-USA members in the bottom 20.
In other words, expect a lot of 50-45, four-and-a-half hour conference games, and don’t expect anybody below Southern Methodist to be on your radar in November.
8 ) MAC
How many other College Football Previews will give you a Charles Nelson Reilly reference?
This season, the MAC might as well be renamed “meh.” Their will be its usual creative play-calling, but don’t expect any teams from this league to make a miracle run to the top 25.
7) Mountain West
The Mountain West Conference is another league which had been hurt by the rash of realignment. Not long ago, the MWC was on the verge of gaining acceptance as the “7th BCS conference,” now it is essentially becoming what the dying WAC was three years ago.
The MWC is now much more akin to other small conferences like the MAC rather than even the weakest BCS auto qualifying conference like the Big East. Just look at how this conference did in bowl games last season. TCU (now gone) downed Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl and Boise State (now gone) trashed Arizona State 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. The three losses are far more telling; Wyoming lost to Temple (then in the MAC), Air Force lost to Toledo (MAC) and San Diego State lost to Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt).
As alluded to, the conference loses TCU to the Big 12 , adding to the defections of BYU and Utah a season ago. Worse yet, it is scheduled to lose Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East next year. Cementing the transition to being the new WAC is the fact that former WAC members Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada joined the league for 2012, and next year, the Mountain West is scheduled to add two more WAC teams in San Jose State and Utah State.
6) Big East
Here’s another conference in transition. This year, West Virginia left and Temple re-joined. Next year, Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF will join. 2014 will see the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and 2015 will see the addition of Navy. But for 2012, you can expect one bit of consistency…This conference hasn’t produced a team with fewer than 3 losses in three of the last four seasons. Even when Cincinnati emerged with a 12-1 record in 2009, the Bearcats were routed by Florida in the Sugar Bowl after head coach Brian Kelly had already left for Notre Dame. In other words, nobody in this conference will legitimately be in the Top 20 in December.
Ironically, it is the weakness of this conference which will make it appear to be so strong. USC, Oregon, Utah, and Stanford could all finish the regular season 11-1, thanks to the lack of depth in this league. This is also the reason why USC will be under-rated, despite that if healthy, they likely will be the best team in the country, and certainly the team not in the SEC.
In what proves to be a tradition, the ACC is incredibly over-rated. There are a lot of people out there who think Florida State, Clemson, and/or Virginia Tech are BCS Championship quality teams. They aren’t. While all three of these teams are legitimate big-bowl contenders, they are not championship teams. The ACC is one of the big reasons why there is a perception of “East Coast Bias” in the sports media; every year we get told one of these teams will win it all, and they never do.
3) Big 12
The Big 12 has six legitimate football teams, a wildcard in Texas, and three schools who pad everybody else’s schedules. The Big 12 will once again operate as 10-team league as it continues to explore options to expand back to 12 teams. This means the league will play a round-robin regular season schedule, which will make this league interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is its own strength.
The strength of this conference is a far cry from where it appeared the Big 12 would be just two years ago. It wasn’t that long ago that this league looked ready for extinction in the uncertainty after the defections of Nebraska and Colorado in 2010. Now, even after losing Texas A&M and Missouri, the Big 12 traded up by getting TCU and West Virginia; both of those schools are among the six that figure to compete for the conference title.
2) Big Ten
For the real story in the Big Ten, just look toward Columbus. The dawn of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State may just do the same for the leviathan known at the Big Ten as it did for the SEC. In other words, perhaps Meyer’ball will turn Big Ten offenses into something watchable rather than the plodding leviathans of the Paterno era.
The Post-Urban Meyer SEC is the best conference in college football. From the day Pope Urban I landed in Gainsville, the SEC transformed into a juggernaut which has won the last six BCS titles. Everything changed when Urban Meyer took his coaching talents to Gainesville.
It’s almost heresy now in college football to point out the days when nobody, and I mean NOBODY thought the spread offense would thrive in the SEC. But it didn’t take long for Pope Urban I to win a host of apostles. Within a couple of years, the SEC was no longer a league of jurassic, knuckle-walker offenses and defenses which came with their own coroner.
In 2006, only one team in the league averaged more than 30 points per game. Four years later, that number had increased to seven, and ten averaged 29 or better. It happened because those teams all used some sort of spread offense. Even the cro-magnon leather helmets in Tuscaloosa dabbled in something other than a tailback-based attack.
This is the bottom line. The SEC has more talent and more good coaches. It’s that combination that makes this league a serious contender to win a seventh BCS title.