The ACC was pretty much dead and buried after a horrendous Week 1, but I am here to proclaim that the conference is back on its feet. A spiffy 6-0 record in non-conference games last week brought its season record to 23-8, with just one "bad" loss, or a defeat to an unranked non-BCS team. The Big East and Big 12 have two, while the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-10 also have one.
The ACC is far from a supreme league, but what happens in Week 1 sometimes shapes views for the season because there is so much attention on opening weekend. And we will not forget, the ACC opened with a thud. But the league is 10-1 in the last two weeks with a 5-1 record against BCS+ opponents. With no team ranked higher than No. 16 in the AP poll, there isn't much excitement around the nation, but the ACC might be tougher than you think. Cal, Mississippi State and East Carolina all found that out recently.
And one more note before we dive in -- Mountain Westers, I hear thee. I have included your beloved and deserving conference in this week's Conference Power Rankings after last week's outcry in the comments.
NOTE: The BCS+ notation reflects BCS conference teams, plus other teams ranked in the current AP Top 25.
1. SEC (25-4, 5-3 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 1
The Good: Vanderbilt became the sixth member of the league to reside in the Top 25 and the eighth to be ranked this season after winning at Ole Miss. Georgia represented itself well at Arizona State.
The Bad: Mississippi State, one week after losing 3-2 to Auburn, was blown away at Georgia Tech 38-7.
The Verdict: It's been said countless times, but the defensive speed in the SEC is flat out scary. Georgia, Auburn and Florida all made plays on defense Saturday that left me staring in disbelief.
2. ACC (23-8, 7-7 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 3
The Good: The best of a very good weekend was Georgia Tech's rout of Mississippi State. The Yellow Jackets shredded a good Bulldogs defense with their triple-option attack, running for 438 yards and four touchdowns. Miami's blowout of Texas A&M at Kyle Field was also impressive, with the Hurricanes building a 41-10 lead before a couple of late Aggies scores.
The Bad: There really was no bad, so I'll mention another 'good' that I didn't have room for above. NC State showed some poise, beating everyone's darling East Carolina with a clutch fourth quarter and overtime.
The Verdict: Ahead of the Big 12? For this week, yup. The Wake Forest-Florida State game was ugly, but for what this league lacks in star power, it is making up for in depth.
3. Big 12 (33-8, 6-6 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 2
The Good: The league has four teams in the top 10, which is four more than the ACC (I know I'm arguing against myself).
The Bad: The Big 12 went 1-3 in BCS matchups -- losing to Louisville (Kansas State), UConn (Baylor) and Miami (Texas A&M) -- plus Iowa State lost to UNLV. Bad week for a good league.
The Verdict: I'm all for the Big 12, but the scheduling is rather weak. No conference has a higher percentage of games against FCS opponents, and only the SEC has had a smaller percentage of non-BCS games (28 percent to 27 percent). The league appears top-heavy and is just 2-3 against the Big East.
4. Mountain West (18-6, 7-3 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: N/A
The Good: Three ranked teams (No. 11 BYU, No. 17 Utah and No. 24 TCU) a fourth team that should be getting some votes (UNLV) and a sparkling BCS+ record. League commissioner Craig Thompson could not have hoped for a better résumé.
The Bad: San Diego State has losses to Cal-Poly and San Jose State.
The Verdict: What's not to like? There have been some close calls to FCS teams, but the MWC has won all but one, and the winner of this league is almost surely headed for a BCS bowl.
5. Pac-10 (12-12, 5-9 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 4
The Good: Stanford (vs. San Jose State) and Washington State (vs. Portland St.) avoided upsets at home.
The Bad: Oregon's loss to Boise State dropped the league's record vs. Mountain West and WAC opponents to 0-6.
The Verdict: The Pac-10 has the guts to have the hardest non-conference slate of any BCS league, bar none. That is not paying off, however, with a 5-9 BCS+ record and one team ranked in the Top 25.
6. Big Ten (31-8, 6-7 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 5
The Good: Penn State continues to steamroll toward conference play with another rout. Ohio State looks like it found its stud quarterback. Michigan State pushed around Notre Dame.
The Bad: Iowa's loss to Pittsburgh was one the league should have picked up. And what is Indiana doing losing to Ball State by 22?
The Verdict: There are only five more non-conference Big Ten games the rest of the way, and they don't exactly stir the soul. Three involve MAC opponenets, one is an FCS opponent and the fifth is Notre Dame, which plays host to Purdue on Saturday. In other words, we won't learn much more about the Big Ten non-conference-wise until bowl season.
7. Big East (16-11, 5-9 vs. BCS+)
Last Rank: 6
The Good: Home wins over Kansas State (by Louisville), Baylor (UConn) and Iowa (Pittsburgh) highlighted the best week of the season for the Big East.
The Bad: West Virginia's fall from grace is a little too rapid for my taste. Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel is punching teammates after an 0-3 start.
The Verdict: South Florida, the league's only ranked team, needs a win at NC State on Saturday for the league to have its flag-bearer maintain some respect.