College Football Conference Power Rankings for Week 11 of the 2016 season. The SEC has been dethroned as the nation’s premier league.
Which Power Five conference boasts the best collection of programs in the country, and which are lagging behind? It’s a fluid, though slightly more viscous, process as the month of November enters its second weekend.
Sizing up the league pecking order is bigger than the trifle of regional bragging rights. It’ll directly impact the selections and rankings of the College Football Playoff committee, which will be tasked with deciding which league champion—or two—winds up on the outside looking in when the four bids are released a month from now.
Week 11 College Football Conference Power Rankings
5. Big 12
It could come down to Bedlam, though West Virginia will have something to say about who carries the Big 12 banner into the postseason.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are playing really well, with their showdown in Norman looming in another month. And the Mountaineers bounced back from their lone loss of the year to race past Kansas in Week 10. But not one of the trio was even ranked in the College Football Playoff top 10 last week, and the fourth ranked member, Baylor, was embarrassed at home by TCU, 62-22. Plus, an utter lack of defense is killing the conference’s reputation across the country. In fact, not a single Big 12 team ranks in the top 50 nationally in total D.
Washington inched closer to the top four with a rout of Cal and a Texas A&M loss. But the Pac-12 is beginning to get support out of more than just Seattle.
The Huskies continue to be the face of the league. Still, the troops are solidifying behind them, spearheaded by USC, which last lost on Sept. 23. The Pac-12 finally has a little more divisional balance, ironically just as Troy and U-Dub get set to meet this weekend. The conference is also being helped by Colorado and Washington State, both 7-2 and streaking, as well as Stanford, which still has a shot at a 10-win season. However, the bottom half is really floundering, led by the disappointing seasons of Oregon and UCLA.
After surviving nail-biters in Week 9, Clemson and Louisville rolled virtually unopposed this past Saturday.
The Tigers ransacked Syracuse, and the Cards Lamarred Boston College to keep both schools’ playoff hopes alive. After those two, though, the ACC is still trying to figure out what comes next. Florida State barely survived NC State, so a Big Three has not materialized as planned. The Coastal elite had a good weekend, as frontrunner Va Tech held off Duke and Carolina remained in contention with a blowout of Georgia Tech. Even Miami got back on track—finally—by defeating Pitt. The ACC already has six bowl-eligible programs, including Wake Forest, with three others on the lip of the postseason cup.
The SEC still stakes claim to the nation’s top team and heavy favorite to win another national title. But outside of Tuscaloosa, the landscape has become overcast.
Alabama defeated LSU in an old-school slugfest that should have been filmed in sepia. It was the quintessence of SEC football. Otherwise? A really dour weekend in the conference. Yeah, the West is loaded, but Auburn had its hands full with Vandy, and Texas A&M was inexcusably shoved around by Mississippi State. The fallout of the Aggie loss? Unless Auburn wins out, the SEC lost its shot of sending two teams to the playoffs. Even worse is the state of the East, a Division so hapless right now that Florida could legitimately be 6-5 and still appear opposite the Tide or Tigers in the conference title game on Dec. 3.
1. Big Ten
After a long hiatus, the Big Ten is back on top, a collaboration of its on-field success and the recent struggles in the SEC.
Michigan and Ohio State impressed in Week 10, ensuring that the Big Ten has the premier one-two punch in the country. The Buckeyes’ 62-3 annihilation of Nebraska, while sucking some air out of the West Division, really helped to elevate the Big Ten banner. What’s also propping up the Big Ten is the arc of the undercard, namely Penn State and new West frontrunner Wisconsin. After navigating a tricky stop at Northwestern, the Badgers are now in the HOV lane to Lucas Oil Stadium. Meanwhile, the Lions backed up their No. 12 ranking by running circles around fading Iowa, 41-14.