Why watch the football season when you have all the answers right here? Based purely on random articles I’ve read on the internet and my own bias, here’s my predicted order of finish for the power conferences. Plus, I give division and conference winners in the smaller ones and answer what independents will go bowling.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
- Florida State
- North Carolina State
- Boston College
- Wake Forest
- Miami (FL)
- Virginia Tech
- North Carolina
- Georgia Tech
It’s a more wide open race in the Coastal than the Atlantic. A 1-2-3 finish of FSU, Clemson, and Louisville is expected by most, but there are probably five teams in it to compete with FSU in the ACC championship game. Duke will have a slight drop off from a great season last year.
BIG TEN CONFERENCE
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
This is a really top-heavy conference. I had the benefit of knowing Ohio State’s quarterback Braxton Miller is gone for the year, so picking MSU was easy. Still, the Buckeyes won’t fall much because they have great talent around the team and their division is worthless. Same for the West; outside of the top three, there’s nothing.
The division title could end up between Nebraska and Iowa at the end of the year, and I can’t pick the Hawkeyes because obligations.
BIG 12 CONFERENCE
- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
- Iowa State
- West Virginia
- Texas Tech
I fully expect Baylor to repeat in a conference that should be much better than a year ago. There’s a good argument that this could have been the weakest power conference in 2013. Every team has the potential to improve (OSU probably the only one that doesn’t) and it should be a tight race until the end.
Because teams could beat each other up, it may be tough for this conference have a team to represent them in the playoffs.
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Arizona State
It’s pretty straightforward in this conference — it’s Oregon and UCLA’s conference to lose until they meet up in the championship. Obviously, the Ducks’ history against Stanford always presents a problem and Washington has been highly touted. USC is probably the only threat to de-throne the Bruins in the South.
- South Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
- Texas A&M
Whatever — you don’t come here for SEC talk, and I wouldn’t bore myself writing it.
Other conference winners
- AAC: UCF (Biggest contenders: Cincinnati, Houston)
- Conference USA East: Marshall (Biggest contenders: Probably no one)
- Conference USA West: UTSA (Biggest contenders: Rice, North Texas)
- MAC East: Bowling Green (Biggest contenders: Ohio, Buffalo)
- MAC West: Toledo (Biggest contenders: NIU)
- MWC Mountain: Boise State (Biggest contenders: Utah State)
- MWC West: Fresno State (Biggest contenders: Nevada, San Diego State)
- Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette (Biggest contenders: Probably everyone)
Independents going bowling: Notre Dame, BYU