College Football season is still two and a half months away, but that doesn't stop the endless amount of rankings and prognostications from bombarding you each season.
Today, let's look at which of the top college football conferences are the best heading into the 2012 season:
1. SEC - There is no question about this one for this season. The SEC has 14 teams now, could feature half of the pre-season top 10, and it will have the probable AP pre-season #1 in LSU. The question I'm asking (and everyone else) is does a team make it through the SEC without a loss or two with all that power concentrated up top?
2. Big 12 - The Big 12 is anchored by Oklahoma. However, the conference will have 6 likely Top 25 teams in OU, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma State. Beyond that, Baylor will be respectable as will Texas Tech. Iowa State and Kansas are weaker than the rest, but the former did go to a bowl last season.
3. Big Ten - And only by a hair behind the Big 12, if not completely tied. I just can't discern much of a difference in the Big Ten or Big 12 this year in terms of power. The Big Ten will also feature a bevy of likely pre-season Top 25 teams in Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State. The conferences' bottom of Indiana, Minnesota, and Northwestern will still be not so bad.
4. ACC - Florida State figures to be a contender this season, as Phil Steele even rated the Seminoles #1 overall. Clemson will be a pre-season Top 25 team, as will Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech is solid, but the conference really begins dropping off after team 5 or 6. The bottom of the conference is quite bad compared to the three conferences above.
5. Pac 12 - USC and Oregon will anchor a very top heavy league. After those two, Stanford has promise and the rest of the field is going to have problems keeping up. In all honesty, if the MWC hadn't lost it's top teams over the past few years the Pac-12 would be behind that conference in overall football prowess. As it stands, someone's got to step up outside of USC, UO, and Stanford.
6. Mountain West - The loss of TCU hurts this league, the future loss of Boise State will do the same. As it stands right now, the MWC is a solid league with a powerhouse on top (Boise State) and with a bunch of minions below. Boise won't be as strong as years past, but there may not be a clear challenger below them to unseat the Broncs.
7. Big East - There likely won't be a pre-season top 25 team within the Big East. For a conference which at one time was respectable, it has clearly fallen to a second or third tier status at this point. Louisville and Cincinnati were at the top of the standings last year, but this league is a crapshoot. I could see South Florida making a run to the top of the conference, among many other contenders.
What do you think? Is anyone going to be able to unseat the SEC in the coming years as the top conference in the land? Will the SEC's tight hold over the NCG end this season?