This has been a continuous debate throughout the past week or so, and the question is: Which Power Five Conference is the greatest? The five power conferences are the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big Twelve, and Pac-12. All are filled with loads of talent. The nation’s top programs are almost always in one of these conferences. Some schools are Alabama, Ohio State, Washington, Oklahoma, and Clemson.
To put the power conferences into perspective, twenty-four of the twenty-five AP Top 25 schools are in one of the Power Five conferences.
Several argue that the ACC is currently the greatest conference in D1 football. However, in the Top 25, five schools are representing the ACC, while the SEC has six schools included. The Big Ten and Pac 12 have four, and the Big 12 has five.
Let’s breakdown each conference. To start off, I will analyze the ACC. They have five schools in the AP Top 25. Those programs include Clemson, Louisville, Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. Every ACC squad in the Top 25 are capable to defeat any other team in the AP Top 25. However, Clemson no longer has DeShaun Watson, who was their team leader, emotional leader, and team captain. However, there is hope for the future of the ACC in Lamar Jackson, the quarterback of the Louisville University football program.
Next, the SEC. Some say the SEC doesn’t have nearly as much firepower as they used to. For the longest time, it was always the debate on which SEC school would win the title. Now, it’s mainly the question of whether or not any of the squads can knock off Alabama. I believe the SEC is still the toughest conference due to the number of powerhouses and championship contenders, and not too many key stars graduating. Each team has plenty of stars with an opportunity to defeat other AP Top 25 teams.
The Big Ten is supposedly going to be much better then they were last year. Jabril Peppers, who, in my opinion, was the face of the Big Ten. Their model team, Ohio State, did not lose many key players, if any, and are expected to be a championship contender, along with Penn State and Wisconsin. However, as I’m writing this, the Badgers are currently losing to Utah State 10-0. They could be the Michigan State of last year. They could be a disappointment this year, which, as a Badger fan is tough for me to say. Several dropped passes and little pocket awareness from quarterback Alex Hornibrook may cost the Badgers as the look to make a College Playoff push. The Nittany Lions of Penn State look very promising as their two star players are returning, and are coming off breakout seasons. Do I believe the Big Ten is the best? No. But, I do believe they are better than the Big Twelve and the Pac-12.
Moving on to the Pac-12, I believe this is one of the toughest conferences to predict. The Oregon Ducks are always up and down. Stanford is always a contender, but doesn’t always pull through in the end. However, I believe that the Pac-12 may be able to surpass the Big Ten. Will they? It is tough to predict. Utah may be a big surprise this year. The Trojans are always a contender. Oregon may have a breakout year and shock us all. Washington will most likely keep their lights out defense intact, despite the loss of star corner Kevin King. Arizona could also have a break-through season and surpass Washington. Is the Pac-12 the best? No. I do not believe that they have enough powerhouses to overpower the ACC and SEC. Their non-conference play does suggest that the Pac-12 is superior. They very well may be, but only time will tell.
And lastly, the Big Twelve. Oklahoma is easily the best team in the Big Twelve, but I believe the Cowboys of their in-state rival, Oklahoma State, may contest the Sooners for the Big Twelve ‘ship. The Big Twelve in general loses much power on offense with the loss of players Dede Westbrook, Patrick Mahomes, and Joe Mixon. However, their is still hope for the Big Twelve. Baker Mayfield is an elite quarterback who may lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. But, watch out for the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Don’t sleep on them or the Big Twelve!
Written by Parker W.