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Grading the college football conferences

Matt Murshel | College Football 365

12:05 PM PDT, September 11, 2012

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The second week of the college football season presented some huge opportunities and some severe disappointments for several conferences. Starting this week, we will break down and grade how each league did the previous week.

ACC

Week 2 record: 9-3

Overall record: 18-6

Buzz: Four teams played teams from the Football Championship Series with only Duke and Miami playing teams ranked in the Football Bowl Subdivision and both of those were losses. Virginia’s win over Penn State in the final minutes and Maryland’s surprise upset of Temple gave the conference a big push in the right direction.

Grade: B-

BIG 12

Week 2 record: 6-2

Overall record: 15-2

Buzz: Sure, the Big 12 won six games Saturday but it was the games that the league didn’t win that left many people scratching their heads. While Kansas is in the middle of a rebuilding effort, no one in Lawrence would have thought the Jayhawks would fall to Rice. After opening with an 85-0 win over Savannah State, Oklahoma State suffered a major letdown against Arizona. Iowa State was the most impressive, pulling off a 9-6 win over arch-rival Iowa on the road.   

Grade: B

BIG EAST

Week 2 record: 4-4

Overall record: 9-6

Buzz: It was a rough second week in the Big East. Most of the four victories over the weekend were against FCS opponents minus Cincinnati’s win over Pittsburgh and USF’s nail-bitter against Nevada. Syracuse held strong against No. 2 USC for most of the game but faltered late. Meanwhile, new addition Temple fell flat against a very bad Maryland team while Connecticut stumbled against N.C. State.

Grade: C-

BIG TEN

Week 2 record: 6-6

Overall record: 16-8

Buzz: After opening the first week of the season with a 10-2 record, the Big Ten watched as the floor fell out from under them. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue all suffered big time losses in the second week. Five of those losses were by an average of three points or less. Only the Illini were blown out in their game against Arizona State.  

Grade: C

CONFERENCE USA

Week 2 record: 4-6

Overall record: 6-16

Buzz: It’s been a miserable start for Conference USA. The league opened with a horrific 2-10 start to the season only to follow it up with just a slightly better four wins this weekend. SMU, Rice, Tulsa and Marshall were the saving graces with Rice pulling off a big upset over Kansas in Lawrence.

Grade: D

INDEPENDENT

Week 2 record: 2-1

Overall record: 4-2

Buzz: Early on, it appears that BYU and Notre Dame are the cream of the crop of the independent schools. The Fighting Irish pulled out a last-second win over Purdue to remain undefeated while BYU rolled past FCS opponent Weber State. Navy had the week off while Army opened its season with a loss to San Diego State.

Grade: C

MAC

Week 2 record: 7-6

Overall record: 11-15

Buzz: The Mid-American Conference made strong strides from the first week of the season to the second week record-wise however the quality of those wins weren’t overwhelming. Four of the victories came at the expense of FCS opponents while the other three wins were against teams that had a total record of 1-5. In fact, MAC teams went 3-5 versus FBS opponents and 4-1 against FCS opponents.

Grade: C+

MOUNTAIN WEST

Week 2 record: 1-7

Overall record: 6-12

Buzz: It was a disastrous weekend for the Mountain West Conference. San Diego State was the lone conference member to garner a victory. Everyone else stumbled giving the league an abysmal 33 percent winning percentage for the first two weeks of the season.

Grade: F

PAC-12

Week 2 record: 9-3

Overall record: 17-6

Buzz: The former members of the Pac-10 Conference had an amazing weekend while the two newest members, not so much. Utah dropped its rivalry game with Utah State Friday and Colorado suffered an embarrassing defeat to FCS opponent Sacramento State. Meanwhile, several schools made big statements with wins over ranked teams including UCLA, Oregon State and Arizona.  

Grade: A-

SEC

Week 2 record: 9-5

Overall record: 19-8

Buzz: It was business as usual for the Southeastern Conference. While most of the teams finished with wins, Texas A&M and Missouri dropped their first SEC games at home. Mississippi State dropped Auburn and Vandy struggled in a loss to Northwestern. The biggest shock was Arkansas losing to Louisiana-Monroe, 34-31 in overtime.

Grade: B+

SUN BELT

Week 2 record: 7-3

Overall record: 11-8

Buzz: Louisiana-Monroe’s upset win over No. 8 Arkansas was the highlight of the year so far for the Sun Belt Conference. The league was 2-2 in conference games while schools like Arkansas State and Florida International secured victories over FBS opponents.

Grade: B-

WAC

Week 2 record: 4-3

Overall record: 8-5

Buzz: Things were looking up for the WAC this weekend after Utah State opened up the week’s action with a 27-20 overtime win over Utah Friday. Louisiana Tech’s 56-49 win over Houston gave the league another boost. San Jose State and UTSA provided a pair of wins over FCS opponents as well.

Grade: C+

 Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.comFollow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.