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College Football Conference Power Rankings; Where does Athlon Rank the SEC?

Is the SEC still on top?

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that always seems to fire up the masses are conference power rankings. For years this wasn’t even a question — the SEC reigned supreme. Then Nick Saban happened. His dominance has watered down those around him as they try to knock him off. The rise of Clemson, Penn State, Michigan, Washington and USC has muddied the waters a bit, however.

Athlon Sports took a stab at ranking the conferences here. They did have the SEC number one overall for 2017. Here’s a snippet of why.

Moving forward, the league should reclaim its spot as the unquestioned king of the sport, thanks to the continued dominance of Alabama and the expected re-emergence of Auburn and LSU in 2017. It’s still too early to anoint any team from the SEC East as a legitimate threat to crack the national elite, but Georgia is recruiting at an Alabama-like level, Florida has won 19 games in two seasons under Jim McElwain, and Tennessee still has a roster stacked with talent.

To me, that’s a lot of ifs. You’re assuming Jarrett Stidham can be the difference maker for Auburn. You’re assuming LSU won’t skip a beat transitioning to Ed Orgeron and Matt Canada. You’re assuming all that talent at Georgia develops this year. You know what they say about assuming things.

Right now — and it pains me to say this — the Big Ten is the best conference. Ohio State is right up there with Clemson and Alabama. Michigan and Penn State are right there too a step behind. Michigan State likely isn’t going to be down for long and Wisconsin just keeps winning games no matter what. They might not have the depth of the SEC, but they’ve got more talent at the top.

Athlon had the Big Ten third due to the bottom half of the conference. They have the ACC in the two slot, but I’d have them at third. Clemson is a runaway freight train and Florida State is a top five team. Louisville has Lamar Jackson and Bobby Petrino for at least one more year. Miami and Virginia Tech could very easily take the next steps forward this year — but after that, there isn’t a whole lot there.

I’d rank the power five conferences like this. Remember, this is for 2017 only.

  1. Big Ten
  2. SEC
  3. ACC
  4. Pac 12
  5. Big 12

What would y’all change? Let us know.