There are still a few more games to go before we can officially close the books on Week 1 of the college football season, but it is never too early to begin looking at conference bragging rights, right?
The SEC will be proud to remind you the conference went 12-1 in Week 1, highlighted by No. 1 Alabama dominating Louisville in Orlando and Ole Miss picking up a fun neutral site victory against Texas Tech in Houston. But half of those wins came against FCS competition, which conferences use to stack the win column (hopefully). But going 3-1 against power conference competition this weekend is what helps strengthen the SEC’s argument to having the most successful Week 1 among their power conference peers. Tennessee took the lone blemish in the loss column for the SEC against power conference opponents, losing in Charlotte against West Virginia.
So with the SEC going 1-1 against the Big 12, how exactly did the Big 12 fare? Well, not particularly great.
Oklahoma left no doubt against FAU, and West Virginia easily took care of business against the Vols. But the Big 12 saw Kansas lose to an FCS program and Kansas State avoided suffering a similar fate. The Big 12 went 6-3 in Week 1 but just 2-2 against FBS competition and 1-2 against power conference opposition with a split against the SEC and Texas taking a loss against the Big Ten’s Maryland. So, aside from Oklahoma and West Virginia, the Big 12 has left some room for improvement.
The Big Ten can make a claim to having the most successful Week 1. Throwing aside a conference matchup between Northwestern and Purdue, which turned out to be very entertaining on Thursday night, the Big Ten went 10-1 this weekend. The only loss was taken by Michigan on the road against Notre Dame on Saturday night, although there were some close calls. Penn State avoided losing at home to Appalachian State and Michigan State managed to avoid an upset at home against Utah State on Friday night. Illinois took a while to get going against a woeful Kent State program, but a win’s a win. Of note, the Big Ten was the only conference to play all of their game against FBS opponents in Week 1, but the Big Ten played just three of those games against another power conference opponent (not including the Big Ten game between Northwestern and Purdue).
The ACC’s 9-2 record looks solid, but the conference went 0-2 against power conference opponents. Louisville drawing Alabama in Orlando was an expected loss though, even if Lamar Jackson stuck around for another year, and North Carolina making a cross-country flight to play California was a possible loss waiting to happen as well. There were some good showings from the ACC though, including Boston College smashing UMass, Syracuse showing off their offense against Western Michigan and Georgia Tech rolling at home against Alcorn State. The ACC can close out a big Week 1 on a high note with Miami taking on LSU Sunday night in Arlington and with Virginia Tech and Florida State playing a good game in ACC play on Monday night.
Lastly, there is the Pac-12. Overall, it wasn’t a horrible weekend for the Pac-12, but Washington losing to Auburn is a tough blow. The Pac-12 was 1-2 against power conference opponents, with one loss being by Oregon State losing on the road against Ohio State (a very tough task for the Beavers). The Pac-12 was 8-4 this weekend, with a 7-3 mark against FBS opponents. It was a rough weekend for the conference’s top Heisman hopefuls and lacked a signature win in non-conference play.
So, which power conference had the best Week 1? Or will Sunday night’s result between Miami and LSU be the game that decides who should have the top bragging rights in non-conference play this early in the season?