With two consecutive national champions and several teams that could make it three in a row this season, the Southeastern Conference can proudly boast that it's the best conference in college football. Not that the fans down South needed anybody to tell them that.
1) SEC - Florida and LSU, the last two national champions, are contenders again, and Georgia is probably the best team in the league coming into the season. Tennessee and Auburn can play with the top teams, South Carolina is primed to take another step forward and same goes for Alabama. Did we mention Mississippi should be better? Looks like another year of joyous carnage in the SEC.
2) Big 12 - Loaded with star quarterbacks from Graham Harrell at Texas Tech to Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, it's become the best offensive conference in the country. And the North is no longer dragging the league down. Missouri could contend for a national title again. Kansas should have another good year, Colorado is on the way back and Nebraska won't be a joke anymore.
3) Big Ten - The Big Ten has taken a beating in the past couple of years, probably more than it deserves, especially its best teams. Ohio State is the clear favorite this year, and with Michigan in a rebuilding year, the league is a little short on heavyweights. Wisconsin is capable of filling in for the Wolverines in that role this year and the middle of the conference with Michigan State, Illinois and Penn State is tough.
4) Big East - Over the Pac-10? Over the ACC? Yes, and here's why: West Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh and subsequent beat down of Oklahoma said a lot about the good things brewing at Pitt. South Florida will be very good again and challenge the Mountaineers. Rutgers is solid. Louisville should be better. UConn brings back most of last year's surprising team. Cincinnati is likely to slip back, but only Syracuse qualifies as a pushover.
5) Pac-10 - The Pac-10 traditionally tends to be underrated (East Coast bias, its fans claim), but this year the low ranking is deserved. USC is a potential beast again, but if Arizona State, the outfit that appeared to have no right being on the same field with the Trojans and Texas at the end of last season, is the league's second-best team, the conference is in a down year. California and Oregon have the potential to change that perspective, but they have much to prove.
6) ACC - Just too many teams in transition. Clemson is very good and could contend for a national title. Or it could just be Clemson. Best way to sum up the ACC this year: Virginia Tech lost most of its defense to the NFL and is still favored to win whichever division the Hokies are in (who can keep track?), Wake Forest should contend again and nobody outside Florida knows (or particularly cares) when the Hurricanes and Seminoles play.
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The rest:
7) Mountain West Conference - Strong up top with BYU and Utah and more balanced than the WAC.
8) Western Athletic Conference - Top heavy with Fresno State and Boise State, but sharp drop off from there.
9) C-USA - This year's BCS buster? How about Tulsa?
10) MAC - Have to respect a league that gives college football fans something to watch on Tuesday night.
11) Sun Belt - The Sun Belters have been saying it for years, but now with Troy and Florida Atlantic it's true: They are closing the gap.

NCAAF Headlines

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