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No contest, SEC clearly the best

8/7/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Ranking the best conferences in college football is a lot like ranking the best golfers in the world.

There's Tiger Woods and everybody else.

There's the SEC and everybody else.

The only debate is whether anybody is even in the same zip code.

Four times in the last six years, an SEC team has walked away with the BCS national championship. If you want to include the entire BCS era, going back to 1998, the league has five national titles.

That's not even counting the 2004 Auburn team that went 13-0 and never got a chance to play for the title.

And this season ... what doesn't the SEC have?

It has the best player in college football (Tim Tebow), two of the best coaches in college football (Urban Meyer and Nick Saban) and the kind of bone-jarring defenses that win championships. A year ago, eight SEC teams finished in the top 30 nationally in total defense.

Florida is clearly the class of the league and will try to join college football immortality this season by winning its third national championship in four years.

But the perennial cellar-dwellers have also gotten better. There are no gimmes in this league anymore. Vanderbilt won four SEC games last season and beat Boston College in the Music City Bowl. Kentucky has won three straight bowl games.

Four of the Top 10 teams in the recently released preseason coaches' poll reside in the SEC -- No. 1 Florida, No. 5 Alabama, No. 9 LSU and No. 10 Ole Miss.

Yep, it's not even close.

Here's my ranking of the top eight conferences:

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