When your top teams continue winning, it helps the conference out tremendously. When all teams in your conference took care of business in the non-conference slate, even those bottomfeeders can provide strength to your conference. Kansas beat Texas in Austin. This helps the Big 12 in the sense that Texas has lost five straight because the Big 12 is simply just better than Texas. Meanwhile, because Texas is a weak team, it doesn’t look so hot on Arkansas’ resume anymore. On the contrary, Stanford beat Oregon. Kansas State beat Stanford. A mid-tier Big 12 team beat a Pac-12 bottomfeeder who took down the conference’s No.1 team. That helps the Big 12. Every time Iowa State and West Virginia win, it plays into the hands of the Big Ten Conference because that strengthens the resume of Iowa and Maryland, two mid-tier teams in the Big Ten Conference.
Alas, the rankings are below.
1. Big Ten Conference (33-9, 7-0 vs. FCS)
The top three teams win. That’s what the Big Ten needs. When the top teams keeps winning, so does the conference. Victories by Wisconsin, Iowa and Rutgers certainly helped this conference’s profile too. No.7 Michigan State at No.5 Ohio State is this weekend. Someone’s going down, and whoever goes down is going to have a tought time getting into the College Football Playoff. Notice I said “tough time”. When it comes to Ohio State, anything can happen.
While that is a big game, the most important game for this conference is No.8 Michigan at Maryland. The Michigan State-Ohio State game doesn’t matter. The winner will be in the top four for the College Football Playoff. However, Michigan provides the Big Ten Conference some breathing room. A Michigan win strengthens the conference’s profile.
2. Big 12 Conference (24-6, 9-0 vs. FCS)
All of a sudden, Arkansas doesn’t look so good any more. The Razorbacks could only beat one of the worst teams in the Big 12 Conference. Texas has five straight losses for the first time since before Darrell K. Royal became coach. Kansas beats Texas in overtime. Wow! This pretty much negates the SEC’s lone victory over the Big 12 Conference. It would be like Iowa State beating Vanderbilt: a mid-tier team takes down another conference’s worst team. Kansas winning over Texas actually boosts the Big 12 Conference up. On the other hand, the conference hurts in the sense that it no longer has an undefeated team. Yes, Baylor and Oklahoma State are solid teams. However, the College Football Playoffs committee isn’t going to let them in. As Gill Alexander said on a Number’s Game Wednesday, “College football is not a meritocracy. It’s all about the economy.” Hence, the explanation why a very undeserving Oregon Ducks team is at No.3 while Oklahoma State and Baylor are No.9 and No.11 in the College Football Playoffs rankings. Hence, why I use the AP Poll rankings. Hey, I’m not about to sacrifice my reputation and credibility so Mickey Mouse can get a payday. The most important game this week is No.11 Baylor at Kansas State. If you ask me, Kansas State should be No.3 in the College Football Playoff rankings. After all, they beat Stanford….unlike those lame Ducks. Okay, I digress. Kansas State seriously should be in all top 25 polls. They’re the most disrespected team in the entire nation. Even more disrespected than the AAC teams. Even more disrespected than Baylor and Oklahoma State (which is quite disrespected). Kansas State is a top 25 team, even if they lose this weekend. While Kansas State should be a top 25 team, the Big 12 hopes they do not enter this week. For the Big 12’s sake, the conference wants Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma to win this weekend. If all three teams win, all three teams should move up. Hate Mickey Mouse all you want to, but the goal for the conference is to get at least one team into the College Football Playoffs. And if you are a Big 12 fan, you’re rooting for the Utah Utes to embarrass Oregon.
3. American Athletic Conference (22-19, 9-1 vs. FCS)
Cincinnati wins. Check! SMU wins. Check! Houston wins. Check!
In case you didn’t already know, the most important game this week is SMU at No.3 Cincinnati. This game has lost a lot of its luster because of losses suffered by SMU. That is all the more reason Cincinnati should take their frustrations out on the Mustangs. The Mustangs losing those two games hurt the Bearcats tremendously. Cincinnati has not played up to expectations recently, and they really need to thrash SMU.
4. Southeastern Conference (40-7, 10-1 vs. FCS)
Florida gave up 52 points to FCS squad Samford. Vanderbilt lost to FCS team ETSU by 20 points earlier this season. South Carolina beat Vanderbilt by one point. Missouri gave up 28 points to a Southeast Misssouri State squad that is currently 3-7.
But the SEC has the best defenses, right? Maybe the SEC West can make that point. However, the SEC East is a skidmark on the FBS. These teams are struggling to beat the Southern Conference. 52 POINTS Florida gave up to a Southern Conference team with a 4-6 record. Florida trailed 42-35 at halftime. Yes, you saw that correctly. Samford put up 42 on the Gators in “The Swamp” in the first half. Oh, but you know, SEC defense!
The most important game of the week is Charleston Southern at No.1 Georgia. Wouldn’t want to lose that No.1 ranking now, would we? Look, this game should be over by the first quarter. But Georgia is No.1 and God forbid they lose this game.
5. Conference USA (24-32, 14-0 vs. FCS)
UTSA got a bit of a scare last week against one-win Southern Miss. The Roadrunners prevailed, keeping the perfect season alive. This week will be much tougher. UAB at No.15 UTSA is the most important game of the week. It is also the unofficial Conference USA West Division Championship. A victory will clinch the West for UTSA. If UAB wins, the two teams are tied with UAB holding the head-to-head tally. If the Blazers pull off the upset, this Conference will likely drop down to No.8 as UTSA is currently Atlas with the world on its shoulder.
6. Atlantic Coast Conference (31-16, 11-1 vs. FCS)
Notre Dame once again beats an ACC team. Luckily for the ACC, Clemson scheduled UConn, so the ACC is still 15 games over .500. Wake Forest defeated North Carolina State. That helps as Wake Forest still has this longshot bid to crash the College Football Playoffs. Will it happen? I’d give it a one percent chance. But hey, they’ve got better odds than the Mountain West and the Sun Belt. And please, Oregon at No.3? Spare me. The most important game of the week is No.13 Wake Forest at Clemson for obvious reasons.
7. Sun Belt Conference (20-16, 8-1 vs. FCS)
Coastal Carolina is all but out of the running for the Conference Championship. Georgia State took out the Chanticleers on the road. Appalachian State is in the driver’s seat for the East Division. The most important game this week is No.22 Louisiana-Lafayette at Liberty. A victory gives the Ragin’ Cajuns 10 wins on the season. It also likely pushes them into the top 20 in the AP Poll. Not only this, but it would also help the Sun Belt Conference avoid a .500 record after this week. Georgia Southern hosts No.14 BYU. South Alabama travels to Tennessee. UL Monroe visits LSU. One reason this conference is in the No.7 spot is because it has ranked teams and a winning non-conference record. The Mountain West is gaining ground.
8. Mountain West Conference (30-19, 9-2 vs. FCS)
UNLV is all of a sudden on a two-game winning streak. That’s not good for the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels victory over Hawai’i knocked the Rainbow Warriors out of bowl eligibility. Every other favorite took care of business. The most important game of the week is Wyoming at Utah State. If Wyoming wins, they will be bowl eligible. If Utah State wins, there is a chance the Aggies will be ranked in the AP Top 25. Utah State is currently receiving votes. Having a second team in that poll would be a great look for the conference.
9. Pac 12 (16-19, 7-2 vs. FCS)
Three is a magic number. Oregon is No.3 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They have a loss to 3-win team Stanford. The Ducks’ next opponent is a 3-loss Utah team. Apparently, that’s some sort of “big game”. USC and Cal got postponed to Dec. 3 thanks to a COVID-19 breakout. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone noticed. Are people still paying attention to the Pac-12? The most important game is obviously No.4 Oregon at No.24 Utah. ESPN’s worst nightmare is a Utah victory.
10. MAC (21-27, 11-1 vs. FCS)
Well, at least one game is being played this weekend: Kent State at Akron.