College Football Conference Power Rankings for Week 10 of the 2016 season. The Big 12 sinks deeper into the cellar after Baylor and West Virginia lose for the first time.
Which Power Five conference boasts the best collection of programs in the country, and which are lagging behind? It’s a fluid process, even as the month of November begins.
Sizing up the league pecking order is bigger than the triviality of regional bragging rights. It’ll directly impact the selections of the College Football Playoff committee, which will be tasked with deciding which league champion winds up on the outside looking in when the four bids are released Dec. 6.
Week 10 College Football Conference Power Rankings
5. Big 12
A bad season in the Big 12 reached a new level of despair in Week 9.
The league began the weekend with two undefeated members, Baylor and West Virginia. By Saturday evening, it was down to zero. That means, barring a series of well-placed collapses around the country, the Big 12 won’t be sending a team to the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years. The identity that showed signs of emerging a week ago has been replaced by a fog of confusion. The league will likely tie its brand in November to the Oklahoma schools. Both are currently 6-2, and the Sooners are raging while` the Cowboys just knocked off the Mountaineers.
The Pac-12 still has its undefeated bell cow, Washington, to go along with a solid and improving contingency of programs lining up behind it.
The Huskies outlasted Utah on a Dante Pettis punt return to remain unbeaten. That’s good news for the league as a whole. Also good news are the signs of life coming from traditional powers, such as USC, Stanford and Oregon, each of whom won in Week 9 to help complement the emergences of Colorado and Washington State. Even one of the Pac-12’s worst programs, Oregon State, is exhibiting moral victory progress under second-year coach Gary Andersen.
Clemson and Louisville survived. All is well in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC’s two premier teams this fall, the Tigers and the Cards, held on for wins over Florida State and Virginia, respectively, ensuring that the league still has a pair of playoff contenders entering Week 10. Plus, the Noles, even in losing for the third time, showed why they remain among the most talented and dangerous teams in the country. All 14 member schools are mathematically alive for the postseason, though time could run out on the ‘Hoos this weekend. In other Coastal news, Miami fell to Notre Dame, while 6-2 Va Tech seized control of the division with a Thursday night win at Pitt.
2. Big Ten
There were no surprises, and that’s a good thing in Big Ten Land.
Michigan won. Ohio State rebounded, albeit not impressively. And Wisconsin held off unbeaten Nebraska, though the Huskers still control their own destiny in the West Division. Obviously, the East is the home of the powerbrokers, particularly as Penn State keeps ascending. Still, the Big Ten is showcasing better divisional balance this season. Besides the Badgers and Huskers, who are both among the top dozen national programs, Northwestern gave the Buckeyes all it can handle and 6-2 Minnesota gets a chance to measure itself against the division’s top three teams this month.
Alabama and LSU rested in anticipation of their showdown this week in Tuscaloosa. Meanwhile, Auburn continued to show that it’s really, really good, and possibly the next best thing to the Tide in the conference.
Few teams in the country are playing better than Auburn, which needed the month of September to get cranking in 2016. And it would be shortsighted to forget Texas A&M, which defeated the Tigers at Jordan-Hare in Week 3 and had a brief second-half lead on the unbeaten Tide two weeks ago. As has often been the case in recent years, the SEC leads the pack in spite of its Eastern half. Tennessee is drooping, Georgia isn’t very good and one-dimensional Florida has a chance to wrap the division up in the next week or two.