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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Which is the best football conference?

The ACC has added some serious power to their football programs with the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech. On the other side of the country, the PAC10 remains pitiful, notwithstanding the fact that they have USC. In the mid-country we have the BigXII and the Big 10, er Big 11. Both conferences tend to have one or two good teams in a given year, sometimes even a national champion. I won't even mention the Conference-USA and Big East in football, nor the Mountain West, the Mid-America, and the Sunbelt.

Nope, the premier conference in college football, from top to bottom is the Southeastern Conference. My alma mater, Georgia, has resumed its rightful place near the very top of the football pyramid (although we had a long string of top twenty finishes before Coach Richt came to Athens). At the beginning of each football season the same old argument ensues, which conference is the best.

Beyond certain bowl games and inter-conference rivalries we would never have a head-to-head matchup from top to bottom, but it is tempting to fantasize. The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram printed their in-house rankings this past Sunday (Top 25 and the also-rans). Here's a breakdown of the aforementioned conferences.

SEC rank Big XII rank ACC rank
LSU 2 OKLAHOMA 3 MIAMI 5
GEORGIA 4 TEXAS 7 FSU 6
FLORIDA 11 KAN ST. 13 VIRGINIA 15
AUBURN 12 MISSOURI 19 CLEMSON 18
TENNESSEE 16 NEBRASKA 32 MARYLAND 21
ALABAMA 24 OK STATE 36 NCSU 23
SOUTH CAR 42 TX TECH 40 GA TECH 35
MISSISSIPPI 45 TAMU 51 VA TECH 38
ARKANSAS 55 COLORADO 57 WAKE 60
KENTUCKY 73 KANSAS 72 UNC 79
VANDERBILT 74 IOWA ST. 81 DUKE 89
MISS. ST. 86 BAYLOR 94

Big 10 rank PAC 10 rank
MICHIGAN 8 USC 1
OHIO ST 9 CAL 14
IOWA 20 OREGON 29
PURDUE 22 ORE ST 33
MINNESOTA 26 WASH ST 44
WISCONSIN 27 ARIZ ST 47
PENN ST 34 UCLA 49
MICH ST 48 WASHINGTON 52
NORTHWSTRN 65 ARIZONA 68
ILLINOIS 80 STANFORD 78

MATCHUP WIN LOSS PICKEM
SEC VS. BIGXII 7 0 5
SEC VS. ACC 7 2 2
SEC VS. BIG10 10 1 0
SEC VS. PAC10 9 0 1
TOTAL 33 3 8

A little self-serving, but I give a win to the team ranked three or more spots higher, and a pickem if the two teams are within two rankings. Probably a bit narrow in scope - on any given Saturday anything can happen. But even with a more strict determination of winning, the SEC comes out looking pretty good. The SEC brings home the bacon with the bottom of the conference being stronger than the others. Vanderbilt is ranked higher than Iowa State, Baylor, UNC, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, and Stanford, and a bunch of other schools? I didn't think Vanderbilt knew which end of the football to hold.

There is controversy, however. Here is at least one couterpoint.

How sweet it is! Bring on the pigskin and GO DAWGS!! SIC 'EM!! If anyone has extra Tennessee-Georgia tickets, let me know.

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