College Football Conference Power Rankings for Week 6 of the 2016 season see significant shakeup following a weekend flush with tight finishes.
After a thrilling weekend of football, the SEC has climbed in the Conference Power Rankings. Between Alabama, Tennessee and Texas A&M, the conference has three legitimate options to reach the College Football Playoff.
Elsewhere, Ohio State and Michigan continue to do the heavy lifting for the Big Ten as fellow East power Michigan State has stumbled. In the ACC, Louisville and FSU’s tightly-fought losses don’t so much as hamper the conference as they show just how competitive life at the top is.
Week 6 College Football Conference Power Rankings
5. Big 12
The Big 12 still has a pair of unbeaten members, Baylor and West Virginia, but it didn’t happen without a lot of heavy lifting and tense moments.
The Bears and the Mountaineers both had to rally in the fourth quarter to shake off Iowa State and K-State, respectively. Baylor’s problems in Ames were a particular concern, since the Bears are the league’s highest ranked team and the Cyclones aren’t very good in Matt Campbell’s first year. The Big 12’s Oklahoma schools, the Sooners and the Cowboys, served up impressive performances, though they came at the expense of TCU and Texas, which played horribly en route to suffering their second losses of the year.
The Pac-12 has a new frontman, and that’s a good thing for the league as a whole.
Washington is the team to beat in the conference title chase after slamming Stanford, 44-6, on Friday night. The Huskies are for real, but that shouldn’t suggest that the Cardinal is suddenly a doormat. On the contrary, Stanford remains formidable, which it must immediately prove to remain in the North Division race.
The Pac-12 flashed its depth in Week 5, as Cal and Wazzu picked up important wins, Colorado continued to play like a South Division contender and the L.A. schools won by three touchdowns in their best performances of the year.
3. Big Ten
The Big Ten might sport the best trio in the country, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin. But after the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Badgers, the league could be vulnerable to lagging behind the ACC and SEC.
Ohio State and Michigan impressed, while Wisconsin showed rather well in its loss in Ann Arbor. However, last year’s Big Ten Championship Game participants, Michigan State and Iowa, are in the throws of tailspins. The Spartans have dropped two straight, most recently to Indiana, while the Hawkeyes have lost two of the last three, including at home Saturday to Northwestern. The Big Ten was sound in non-conference play, but it’s in danger of becoming top-heavy unless Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan State can nudge back into the mix.
Clemson and Louisville put on a show for the nation on Saturday night, advertising two schools capable of making a push for playoff berths in the second half of the year.
The Tigers are the Tigers, and the Cards have essentially swapped places with Florida State, who has become the league’s biggest disappointment through the first five weeks. The Noles squandered a late rally against Carolina, which helped narrow the divide between the league’s Atlantic and Coastal divisions. The Tar Heels are emblematic of an improving Coastal that also has high hopes for Miami and Va Tech. If the division’s three most talented squads can keep surging north, it’ll help offset the weak underbelly consisting of BC, Duke, Virginia and Syracuse.
The SEC is home to the nation’s top-ranked team. Just how distant in the rear view mirror is Alabama’s competition will determine whether the league can hold this spot.
Texas A&M and Tennessee are still undefeated, the latter in miraculous fashion, and they face one another this weekend at Kyle Field. The SEC needs both the Aggies and the Vols to play well to enhance its case as a deep league with myriad viable threats to get to Atlanta on Dec. 3. The conference will also benefit if LSU can amass tailwind under Ed Orgeron, and Ole Miss and Auburn are able to build on their current two-game winning streaks and recent bout of improved play.