September 21, 2012
View from the SEC: Which conference is the deepest?
Which major college football conference is the deepest in terms of quality depth from top to bottom?
After three weeks, the top three conferences have emerged: the Pac-12, Big 12 and SEC.
What happened to the Big Ten? The Midwest's representative in major college football has fallen on hard times. How bad is it? The last two undefeated bowl eligible teams in the Big Ten are Northwestern and Minnesota. Ouch.
Wisconsin has been a major disappointment and could easily be 0-3 right now. Michigan State was overpowered at home by Notre Dame. Iowa lost at home to intrastate rival Iowa State in an ultra-ugly game that even had the child actors in 'Children of the Corn' cursing the football gods. Michigan was whipped by Alabama on opening weekend. Penn State has issues, as we all know. Ohio State is banned from a bowl. On and on it goes.
Sadly, the self-proclaimed college football juggernaut has morphed into a jugger not.
Big 12: Oklahoma, West Virginia;
Pac-12: Oregon, Southern Cal, Stanford;
SEC: Alabama, LSU.
Stanford is Exhibit A for the theory that overanalyzing Week 1 games is not really a good idea. After barely slipping past San Jose State on Sept. 1, the Cardinal have in the past two weeks trounced Duke and, in one of the most impressive displays of the season by any team, dominated Southern Cal along both lines of scrimmage, harassing Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley into one of the worst games of his career and potentially ruining his Heisman Trophy chances.
What do we know about Oregon? Very little. As always, the Ducks possess an abundance of team speed and have looked sharp on offense behind redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota. However, their three wins have come against Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech. Hardly Murderer's Row. But an intriguing matchup with Arizona is on tap for this weekend and November collisions with Southern Cal (Nov. 3) and Stanford (Nov. 17) loom on the horizon. We'll have a decent idea of how good or bad the Fightin' Phil Knights are when kickoff time for the Civil War arrives on Nov. 24.
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