A ranking of the conferences

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Ah, ranking the conferences. What fun.

The SEC is No. 1, no question. Though, of course, SEC adherents typically overstate their superiority (see a losing record last regular season versus other BCS conferences).

After that you might as well as toss the BCS conferences into a hat -- other than the struggling Big East -- and just do a random draw.

Making preseason distinctions is hardly an exact science.

I think, much like the Pac-10, the ACC is underrated. But I underrated the conference anyway at No. 5. Let's see if Virginia Tech can beat Alabama and give the ACC an elite team this fall.

I rank the Big Ten slightly below the Pac-10 because I'd pick the Pac-10 to win more games if the conferences matched up top-to-bottom. My guess is you could make a pretty good argument stating the opposite. So let's see how USC-Ohio State, California-Minnesota, Arizona-Iowa and Oregon-Purdue go (though the Pac-10 is on the road in the first three).

Few will pause over ranking the Big 12 No. 2 over the Pac-10, which I rank third.

But look at the top-four in each conference: Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Nebraska versus USC, California, Oregon and Oregon State.

Hard to say. Slight edge to the Big 12. All eight are ranked in the preseason coaches' poll.

Also, the Big 12's depth from a year ago -- Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas -- appears down this year.

Still, the Pac-10 middle has more to prove than the Big 12's. As they say in Missouri, you've got to show me.

1. SEC
2. Big 12
3. Pac-10
4. Big Ten
5. ACC
6. MWC
7. Big East
8. WAC