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I think your conference is actually bad: Week 9 college football power rankings

In the SEC, Will Muschamp strikes. Overall, the Pac-12 wins the day.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

How’s your conference pride feeling today? The Playoff committee’s gonna meet this week, and that means we’re going to have some good conversations about schedule strength. But how can they determine schedule strength without a conversation about conference strength? Let’s rank us some conferences, shall we?

No. 1: Pac-12 (Last week, 2)

Washington continues to look like the league’s best team, and the Huskies beat Utah, 31-24. The massive punt return that catapulted Washington to victory was kinda iffy, but we explain why it was probably fine.

Real recognized real when Utah DB Chase Hansen hit Washington QB Jake Browning up with a bro hug and a little encouragement as Browning adds another impressive performance. This warms my cold, dark heart.

Maybe you were sleeping Thursday night (I was) if you missed USC beating Cal, 45-24. The Trojans have won four straight, and it’s magical what can happen when you get the quarterback situation figured out on a roster brimming with talent at the skill positions.

As much as I talked about conference camaraderie above, Cal coach Sonny Dykes is super mad that the league gave him two straight weekday games on a short week. There’s a weird situation going on to figure out who messed this up.

Other scores this week: Stanford beat Arizona, 34-10 (nice of you to join us, Christian McCaffrey). Washington State beat Oregon State, 35-31 (Cougs remain weird). Oregon beat Arizona State, 54-35 (Justin Herbert absolutely looks like the future).

No. 2 ACC (LW, 1)

Shoutout to Florida State and Clemson for giving us an absolute banger of a game. The Tigers prevailed, 37-34, but the game was not without controversy. This play was flagged as an illegal block below the waist:

I think it was correctly called, according to the rule. After the game, Jimbo Fisher was really mad about it and the sideline penalty administered immediately following it.

Clemson’s still undefeated, though, so Dabo gets the last laugh/awkward dance move.

Louisville beat Virginia, 32-25, which is a particularly surprising result given the fact that Virginia is bad. But the nature of Louisville’s game preserved a dank meme, so there is literally nothing Lamar Jackson can’t do.

Jackson also checked off the dumb unofficial Heisman requirement. I guess it’s his Heisman moment, but I’m not a lazy Heisman voter who doesn’t watch him play and needs such things to drive a narrative, so I wouldn’t know.

Other scores this week: Virginia Tech beat Pitt, 39-36 (but this Pitt player is super fashion forward so it evens out). Georgia Tech beat Duke, 38-35 (so maybe the hot seat is less hot on Paul Johnson?). Army beat Wake Forest, 21-13 (life coming at the Deacs awfully fast after the hot start). Boston College beat NC State, 21-14 (holy crap, BC won a conference game). Notre Dame beat Miami, 30-27 (Despite their best efforts, Notre Dame is not 2-6).

No. 3 Big Ten

They remain at No. 3 this week because I gotta figure out what the hell is going on with Ohio State and Penn State.

Let’s get Michigan out of the way first, though. The Wolverines pounded little brother Michigan State, 32-23. Pay no attention to the final score; if you watched this game, you know Michigan State did not pose a solitary threat to win, beyond a bone-crunching opening TD drive. Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis was pretty sure it could have been much worse.

Mark Dantonio also did a weird thing mathematically at the end of the game after a garbage time score (which Jabrill Peppers made him pay for).

Ohio State beat Northwestern, 24-20, in a game the Buckeyes entered as nearly a 30-point home favorite. Earlier in the day, Penn State unloaded the clip on Purdue, 62-24, after the Boilermakers ran a horrendous trick play. Besides last week’s upset serving as the catalyst to a Freaky Friday body swap, I’m not quite sure what happened to the Lions and the Bucks. Stay tuned.

Other scores this week: Wisconsin beat Nebraska, 23-17 (some truly reprehensible stuff happened in the stands). Indiana beat Maryland, 42-36 (I guess now I can make more fun of the 800 Maryland grads we have on staff). Minnesota beat Illinois, 40-17 (I have absolutely no emotions toward this result).

No. 4: SEC (LW, 4)

Florida beat Georgia, 24-10. The only offensive highlight was this:

It’s no longer just conceivable the Gators will be in the SEC Championship, I’d argue it’s more likely than not. Florida has to win two out of its three remaining conference games against Arkansas, LSU, and South Carolina.

They’re in this position in part because Tennessee threw up all over itself, losing 24-21 to South Carolina. This was supposedly the steady descent to Atlanta for the Vols. Now they’re 2-3 in conference play and behind KEN-TUCK-Y in the standings. Also, let’s remember two important things about that game.

Other scores this week: Texas A&M beat New Mexico State, 52-10 (until writing these words I was unaware this game actually took place). Auburn beat Ole Miss, 40-29 (Yeah, Auburn’s good). Kentucky beat Mizzou, 35-21 (lmao the Cats are second place in the East). Mississippi State beat Samford, 56-41 (CLANGA struggled for a half, then put the other Bulldogs away).

No. 5: Big 12

If you keep jerking me around about what you’re gonna do with your conference, I’m going to keep slotting you down here.

Off the field, you’re again a mess after not listening to your coaches and adding a conference title game you probably don’t need.

On the field, you don’t have any undefeated teams anymore. Texas beat Baylor, 35-34. Charlie Strong goes back to not immediately getting fired, but the week is still young.

West Virginia also got worked by Oklahoma State, 37-20. No more undefeated soup for you!

Other scores this week: Oklahoma beat Kansas, 56-3 (the game looked super fun). Texas Tech beat TCU, 27-24 (in the most off-brand game possible, but we still got some #collegekickers though). Kansas State beat Iowa State, 31-26 (Bill Snyder, etc.).

Best of the rest: Mountain West

A safety late in the game bounced Boise State from the ranks of the undefeateds as the Broncos lose to Wyoming, 30-28, and don’t you think for a second that’s gonna go unnoticed.

Other scores this week: San Diego State beat Utah State, 40-13 (y’all forget about Donnel Pumphrey?). Air Force beat Fresno State, 31-21 (not a great start for the Bulldogs’ interim coach). New Mexico beat Hawai’i, 28-21 (this game kicked off at midnight on Sunday morning. It happens often and it’s still baffling to me. Play earlier pls). San Jose State beat UNLV, 30-24.

PSA: Don’t @ me, but feel free to yell at me/each other in the comments.