Welcome back, college football

Welcome to college football season. The hunt for the four FBS playoff spots has begun.

Week one did not feature many high profile games, meaning that the power conferences generally had very good records, but it is still fun to check out how they did. The Big Ten actually garnered the highest winning percentage, each going 12-2 over the weekend thanks to wins from newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.

Out west, the Pac-12 quietly posted a 10-2 record. The SEC also won 10, but lost one more. Still give them props for big nonconference head to head wins as LSU took down Wisconsin, Georgia knocked out Clemson and Alabama had a strong final half to beat West Virginia.

Also, their weekend featured two conference games, in which Johnny Football-less Texas A&M pummeled South Carolina, an indication that the SEC’s strength still lies in the West. The second game saw West Division foes collide as Auburn cruised past Arkansas.

Rounding out the major conferences, the ACC went 9-3 and the Big 12 went 6-3, while the American Athletic Conference, remnants of the old Big East (a.k.a. recruiting pool for other conferences) went a dismal 5-5, tying for the worst winning percentage with the Mountain West as many FBS teams preyed on FCS opponents.

So what did we learn other than confirming that at least one playoff team will come out of the SEC? Well, not much considering that many of the games resembled Oregon’s 62-13 pummeling of USD.

Still, I’m not afraid to venture a guess concerning the four playoff teams, wrong though I may well be.

Florida State

Easy choice here. The defending champs bring back Heisman winner Jameis Winston, they’re the class of the ACC and their two toughest games, Notre Dame and Clemson, are at home.

Oregon

I hesitated a bit with this choice, remembering their slip-ups to Stanford in years past, but the Ducks get the Cardinal at home and return Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota. They’re my call to represent the Pac-12.

Georgia

I know I’m picking against the SEC West here, but I think Georgia simply has the easiest road to Atlanta. Much like Florida State last year, this is a team that’s had the talent for years, but has just failed to convert, until this year.

Oklahoma

Don’t forget that the SEC might just slip in a second team, but I expect the West to be too bloody to overcome the profile of a talented Oklahoma team with a manageable schedule. I thought about putting a Big Ten team here, but at this point, I’m not sure one can come out unscathed.

What to watch for this coming weekend: The Big Ten. Saturday features two huge perception games for the conference as an intriguing and somewhat to be determined Michigan team makes their last trip to Notre Dame for the foreseeable future and defending conference champion Michigan State travels to face Oregon. With the Braxton Miller injury to Ohio State, these could be the top contenders to take home the league title. Saturday night will be an early test.

The other can’t miss game for the week is a Pac-12 battle between USC and Stanford, both of whom could challenge Oregon for conference supremacy and a trip to the playoff.

So count the days. Saturday is coming.