Four weeks into the college football season and one thing that is confirmed: the era of Southeastern Conference (SEC) domination is over. Last year’s national championship game between Ohio State and University of Oregon was an indicator of this, as it was the first time in eight years that the game did not have a team from the SEC and the second straight year that the champion was not from the SEC.
For the past decade, there was a clear difference between top teams in the SEC and everybody else. College football fans should be ecstatic, because now the ideal system of conference championships making a difference in the national playoff picture is coming. With this in mind, here is what the picture is looking like this season.
The defending champion Ohio State is clearly the team to beat. They return with (?) a lot of talent and are stacked at the quarterback position when many other contending teams hope to find just one consistent player. They showed some vulnerability against Northern Illinois by winning by only one possession, but I do not think this will have a lasting effect. The concern for them is whether they will become complacent, as it will be six weeks until they face a team talented enough to keep up with them, Michigan State. Michigan State has been a solid program for years, but has not been able to take that next step to become championship contender. Many say this could be the year where they claim Big 10 supremacy when they take on Ohio State on Nov. 21 in Columbus, Ohio.
While the SEC may not be the dominant force it once was, it still remains the deepest conference in college football. And while Alabama may have just lost at home to Ole Miss, I think it is dangerous to count them out. They still have very good teams on their schedule to prove themselves and I am still not convinced by others in the conference such as University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Georgia, and Louisiana State University (LSU). We will see where this Alabama team stands after their game this weekend against Georgia, but I still think that they are the best team in the conference.
The champions of those two conferences are all but guaranteed places in the playoffs at the end of the year. After that, it is pretty scattered, but I am going to throw my support behind Utah and Baylor. I do not think Baylor will compete in the playoffs, but they have a pretty favorable schedule and the offensive firepower to beat Texas Christian University. As for Utah, it is tough not to support them after their annihilation of Oregon.