Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 Preseason Conference Rankings

New year, new name, same great disclaimer.

Before you begin reading and criticizing my prose, I make the following claims:

  • I am an admitted Iowa State Cyclone homer. 
  • I am not an analyst, expert or even skilled interpreter of stats, match-ups or personalities. 
  • I do not watch ESPN (nor their various scripted and sponsored arguments)

What I am is a fan who is passionate about the game of football as interpreted by the college athlete, and the Big XII conference specifically. I write, sometimes poorly, from a fan’s perspective, with the understanding that I also lack the free time, or desire, to completely immerse myself into the college football world. I do not miss televised Cyclone games, and will passively watch other intriguing match-ups throughout the season, but it is not my life. All this is to say I should not be viewed as an expert, or in most cases even informed, on my weekly picks.

However,  I do hope you will read my articles and find them entertaining and fun. That is my sole intention.

Now that two thirds of you have clicked on, let’s get on with my 2012 preseason conference rankings.

#12 – WAC

Not sure why these schools are not part of the FCS pool. Perhaps some of the bigger conferences are subsidizing their football programs so they can pad their early season schedules with a D-1 patsy. Worthless All-Around Conference, in my opinion.

#11 – Sun Belt

This conference gets a slight advantage because they have North Texas. North Texas is coached by Dan McCarney. Dan McCarney used to coach the Cyclones. So, there’s that.

#10 – MAC

It has certainly gone downhill since Big Ben resided in Miami (OH). It’s not a bad conference, but it’s really a "I-A and a half" type league.

#9 – Mountain West

The Mountain West had such promise. It had its own network. It had Boise State, Utah, BYU and TCU in its ranks, if only briefly and on paper. But the television contract is gone. Utah, BYU and TCU are gone. It still has Boise State and, um, Air Force (?) to solidify its ranks. It could have been a contender.

#8 – Big East

The Big East is a shameful example of the stubbornness of the BCS. In fact, I have changed my mind, and the Big East has been demoted to #10 on this list. Please adjust your rankings accordingly. Thank you.

#7 – Conference USA

With the emergence of Houston last year, and Tulsa, SMU and Southern Miss all making progress, this is not a horrible conference. Not great either, however. Which is why I have it in the middle of the pack at #7.

#6 – IA Independents

Even though its not a conference, 50 percent of its unaffiliated members are pretty decent. That's more than you can say about most of the field, and if it were an actual conference, it would be ranked much higher. Well, maybe not much higher. I guess it would be at #5. Yeah, that’s not much higher at all.

#5 – ACC

Yes, Florida State is making a rebound and most fans will be unnecessarily excited to be let down again this year, but the rest of the league is forgettable. Less forgettable than the institutional members of conferences 6-10 (Except for those in #6 because, as we discussed, they would be here if they were members of a conference. But, I digress.). Whenever you are lauded for your basketball programs, you’re probably not going to be great on the gridiron. Its science.

#4 – PAC-12

It kills me not to have the Big Ten here, cause I hate the Big Ten. But I also hate the Pac-12. So, I guess, I just hate the Pac-12 more than the Big Ten and that justifies their position in my conference rankings. Yes, they have the preseason #1, USC Trojans, but I hate those bastards, too.

#3 – Big Ten

Boring, worthless league populated by blowhards and egotists mimicked closely by their fan base. I wish I could put them lower, but I really hate the Pac-12.

#2 – Big XII

Top to bottom, this is the best league in the country. With the exception of Kansas (see my comments about basketball programs above), there is not a push over to be found in this 10-team conference. Sixty percent of its teams are in the preseason top 25 (best among any conference) and all but two teams made it to bowl games last year. The addition of TCU and West Virginia actually made us stronger, when you compare them to the teams that defected to the SEC. However, I am a fair person and the SEC has won, like, the last 20 BCS championship games in a row. Most against a Big XII opponent. Until this trend changes (hopefully soon)…

#1 – SEC

…the SEC remains the best conference in the country. They are certainly top heavy, with the addition of bottom dwelling programs like Missouri and Texas AM bringing down their overall respectability. There is hope, however. The NCAA cannot bury its head forever and now that they are done neutering two of the top programs of the Big Ten (thank you), they can begin investigating the improper dealings of SEC members. I’m looking at you, Auburn and Gene Chizik.

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