College football conference power rankings, Week 1: SEC stranglehold, Big 12 in shambles

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns. (Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports)
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns. (Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Oklahoma Sooners
Running back Jaden Knowles #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Conference power rankings entering Week 1 of the college football season. The SEC stays the king but is the Big Ten or ACC the No. 2 conference?

The college football landscape changed during the offseason. Oklahoma and Texas officially put in the paperwork to leave the Big 12 Conference to bolster the SEC. It will make the SEC an even bigger powerhouse than it already is, but that doesn’t take effect until the 2026 season. For now, we watch the chaos erupt between the conferences as they deal with students getting sponsorship deals for the first time and possibly one of the last years with a four-team playoff.

The conferences are going through a transition period, but right now a lot of the biggest teams are still trying to figure out what comes next. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Texas, Florida and many others are going through quarterback changes. The AP Preseason Top 25 has all the normal contenders at the top. However, the rest of the Top 25 could change on a dime.

When it comes to the best conferences in the country, the rankings seem obvious at first, but when looking closely, everything is just so fragile right now. A few powerhouses like Texas and LSU are coming off down years. Is it a guarantee they will bounce back? That could impact how the conferences are ranked. The Big 12 is in flux right now, but a big season from Oklahoma and then Iowa State jumping into the conversation could make things interesting. If Alabama struggles with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator, it could open the door for the Big Ten.

Conference power rankings, Week 1: The king stays the king

5. Pac-12

Nothing against the Pac 12, but they have an equal amount of flux at the top of the conference without having the same depth as the other conferences. The highest-ranked team in the conference is the Oregon Ducks who sit at No. 11. Every other Power Five conference has a team in the top five, and the other conferences have at least two teams in the top 12. The USC Trojans slip into the top 15, and there are three other teams in the preseason Top 25. The Washington Huskies are the last Pac-12 team to make the College Football Playoff in 2016, and it doesn’t look like that streak is ending this season.

This conference seemed to have as much trouble as anyone getting off the ground last season, but it’s hard to really hold that against them. Oregon won the conference with a 3-2 record. Hopefully, with a full season, the Pac-12 can once again find its groove.

4. Big 12

Oklahoma is a legitimate title contender. With Lincoln Riley on the headset and Spencer Rattler under center, they could dominate the Big 12 on its way to the College Football Playoff. Behind Oklahoma is a clear No. 2 in Iowa State. They bring back most of an impressive offense led by Brock Purdy and Breece Hall who is a legit Heisman contender.

After those two is where the questions start. Steve Sarkisian takes over at Texas with first-year starting quarterback Hudson Card. West Virginia has some good pieces, but it’s hard to find stars on the roster. Oklahoma State is looking at life after Chuba Hubbard, although it feels like he was only partially there last season. TCU might be the best team outside the top two of Oklahoma and Iowa State.