By Ray Hamill
The rest of the college football world may not want to hear it, but the SEC appears to be getting even better, while the ACC is a conference on the rise.
Winners of the last seven national championships, the SEC set a record this week with eight teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25, more than half of the 14 conference teams.
About the only good news for those tired of the SEC dominance is that the conference is not as top heavy as it has been in recent years, with just (just?) three teams currently in the top-10, down from the five it finished with last season and the four it had in 2011. (The SEC has not had less than two teams finish in the top-10 in the past decade.)
From top to bottom, however, the SEC is clearly the best conference in football right now, and features two legitimate national championship contenders (No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 LSU).
The ACC, meanwhile, is definitely a conference on the rise, with three top-10 teams this week, including No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Florida State, who will meet in the showdown of the weekend on Saturday.
The ACC has not been this strong in some time, with just one team finishing in the top-10 over the past three seasons combined, and the winner of Saturday’s big game will be in prime position to challenge the SEC’s recent national title dominance.
Two conferences that have fallen off in recent times, however, are the Big Ten and Big 12.
The Big Ten currently has just one top-10 team, and has not had more than one school finish the season in the top-10 since 2008. To make matters worse, the Big Ten began the season with six top-25 teams and now features just two (No. 4 Ohio State and No. 25 Wisconsin).
The Big 12 is just as bad, with no current top-10 squad, and not since Oklahoma State closed out No. 8 in 2011 has the conference finished the season with a top-10 team.