The SEC has won five straight BCS championships. Will their conferene reign over the rival BCS conferences continue in 2011 or will a new contender emerge?
Oklahoma may have been our clear number one team in college football this season but the joltleft.com college football round table, for the most part, is calling for the SEC to once again be the top conference in college football in 2011. Our small panel of experts discusses the new conference outlook ready to debut this fall.
There are a number of changes in college football this season with regard to conference alignment. Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado and Utah to the Pac 12, Boise State to the Mountain West Conference and BYU is going independent. Forget about the changes coming up next year (TCU to Big East, more additions in MWC, and possible Texas A&M to SEC). Given all of the changes that have already taken place, which conference is the strongest in 2011?
Sean Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes Examiner: Adding Nebraska to the Big Ten was the best move of the bunch. Their addition brings another top program to the conference. This will set up national showdowns annually against foes like Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Still, the SEC remains the strongest conference. The Big Ten made some strides in the right direction with Nebraska, but until they have more consistency among their middle/top teams, they are not on their nemesis’ level yet.
Schimri Yoyo, Big East Examiner: SEC is still the strongest conference in my opinion. The Big Ten, to me, is the second strongest conference. With the addition of Nebraska, the 12-team Big Ten has eight teams—Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Iowa, and Northwestern—that have received an AP preseason vote. I think that the BIG EAST will have six highly competitive teams that could but none of them—except maybe, West Virginia—could win the SEC or Big Ten or the National Championship. Not yet. I think the PAC-12 will be very competitive and might be the most entertaining conference of them all. I can’t wait to watch the high-powered offenses of Oregon, Stanford, USC and Arizona State.
Troy Hyde, Iowa Hawkeyes Examiner: Despite adding Nebraska, I still believe the SEC is the best football conference in America. The Big Ten is now second from top to bottom but not quite good enough to be No. 1. The SEC has two legitimate title contenders and I am not sure you can say that about any other league. Alabama to me is my favorite to win the title. And if LSU beats Oregon in the opener then of course it puts itself right in the mix as well. With six other teams ranked in the top 25 to start the season, it is clear to me that from top to bottom they are the best. I like South Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas as potential SEC title contenders as well.
Stephen Francis, Dallas Sports Examiner: At this point, it’s really hard to tell until some games are played but on paper and until other conferences prove otherwise, the SEC is king. Perusing the power rankings and early polls, there are eight of the 12 SEC teams listed somewhere on top 25 sheets. No other conferences even come close.
On top of that, the past five BCS National Champions have come from the SEC. Alabama is a favorite again this year with LSU and Arkansas nipping at their heels. Of course, the conference is so competitive that they could all beat each other up and none of them compete for the BCS title. But that won’t happen because the BCS loves the SEC.
Rich Kurtzman, Colorado State Rams Examiner: The Pac 10 was already a great conference, but the additions of Colorado and Utah makes the Pac 12 even stronger. Teams like Oregon, Stanford, USC, Utah and California have a chance to make noise in the BCS every year, and this year will be no different. The cream of the crop will rise in the Pac 12 through extremely tough competition and they look to be the strongest right now.
Kevin, National College Football Examiner: Yes, the additions made by the Big Ten and Pac-12 have resulted in the conference getting stronger for a variety of reasons, but the SEC will still reign supreme in 2011. The SEC probably has the best chance to win a BCS title once again but even if that streak comes to an end this season (five straight BCS titles), the overall talent in the SEC makes them the strongest conference. What really puts them over the edge is the coaching pedigree within the conference. Guys like Nick Saban, Les Miles, Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier and Houston Nutt along with upcoming coaches such as Dan Mullen and perhaps Will Muschamp make this conference one rich in players and coaches.
So go ahead Big Ten, Pac 12, and Big 12. Prove me wrong.
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