The Southeastern Conference can stake its claim as the nation’s premier college football conference, but the East and West divisions in the SEC have never done what the Big 12 South has done.
In mid-October last season, four Big 12 South teams ranked in the top eight of The Associated Press poll. That’s never happened in the SEC East or SEC West, or any other conference that is split into divisions. Nor has it happened in the Big Ten, Pacific 10, Big East, Mountain West, Western Athletic or any other league that remains undivided. The SEC East and West have had three teams simultaneously shine from each division, but never four at a time. No division in college football can match what the Big 12 South achieved last season and what it might achieve this year. The Big 12’s top three teams in 2009 are expected to come from the South in Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It could extend to the top four or five teams, depending how well Texas Tech and Baylor do and how poorly Big 12 North teams perform. Here’s our look at the top conferences and divisions in college football history. Just to be sporting, we also included our takes on the top conference and division performers in college basketball, the NBA, NFL and major league baseball.