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Ranking College Football's Power 5 Divisions

A pylon with the SEC logo on it.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07: An 'SEC' logo is seen on an end zone pylon before the Missouri Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Through six weeks of the college football season, the field is wide open. Some normal powerhouses, like Auburn and Oregon, are performing way below expectations, while teams like Michigan and Utah have exploded onto the scene, and are real threats to win their leagues. There are surprises everywhere in the sport this year, and they have shifted how we view the individual conferences, and the divisions within them. The Pac-12 South, which has been competing with the SEC West for top billing in recent years, isn't quite what we thought it'd be, while a strong Michigan does a ton to raise the profile of the Big Ten East. 

Which divisions have thrived this season, and which are lagging behind? Which group has the deepest and most talented roster of teams, so far in 2015? Here is our ranking of college football's divisions this season.

9. ACC Coastal

Despite their last-place ranking here, the ACC Coastal could legitimately place six teams in bowls this season. The problem is, at this point, it's hard to tell if anyone in the division is anything more than above-average on a national scale. Outside of Virginia, which is yet to beat an FBS opponent, every team looks okay, but only one is ranked.

Duke continues to impress under program savior David Cutcliffe. At 5-1, its only loss was against a very good Northwestern team. The signature win thus far is probably the one over Georgia Tech, which is a major problem for the division as a whole. Georgia Tech was supposed to be the standard bearer for the Coastal and a trendy pick to take down Florida State and Clemson for the ACC crown before the season. Instead, the Yellow Jackets have been extremely disappointing, opening 2-3, also losing to middling UNC and, most recently, in a blowout to Clemson. Pitt and Virginia Tech are fine, but have been ravaged by injuries to their best players, while Miami looks about as average as it usually does under Al Golden. Duke is a good team and a fine story, and outside of the Cavaliers, there are no outright bad teams here, but there are no good ones either, which is a major problem.

Next: No. 8 Pac-12 North >>>

8. Pac-12 North

For years, this divsion was defined by the Oregon-Stanford rivalry. The two programs were constants in the Top 10 and from 2009-13, they competed in a combined eight BCS bowls, while Oregon finished as the national runner-up last season. Stanford lost in Week 1 to Northwestern, which looks far more excusable now than it did then, but it has rebounded to win its next four, including a big win at USC. Oregon...Oregon's in trouble. The Ducks' quarterback situation is a mess with transfer Vernon Adams injured, and the defense has been completely porous, surrendering 38.7 points per game, which ranks 116th nationally.

Without a strong Oregon, the Pac-12 North lacks the depth of the other power conference divisions. Cal might be pretty good this season, even after the recent loss to a very strong Utah team, but it is too early to call. Washington is a major question mark, and the USC win looks less impressive considering the turmoil surrounding the Trojans. Washington State is as enigmatic as its head coach, while Oregon State just looks weak this season. Stanford has gotten itself back into the national conversation as of late, but this division may only have one other relevant team.

Next: No. 7 Big Ten West >>>

7. Big Ten West

Compared to normal expectations, which would typically pencil in Wisconsin and Nebraska at the top, the Big Ten West may be the division most turned on its head by this crazy 2015 season. The Badgers are down this season and Nebraska is the unluckiest program this side of Texas under new coach Mike Riley. Northwestern, which has impressive wins over Stanford and Duke, and the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes, is leading the pack for the West. Those two teams face off in a fun battle this weekend:

">October 13, 2015

After the Wildcats and Hawkeyes, who still have a way to go to really gain the respect of the national audience, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even Illinois, have all been fairly average teams, which is disappointing for the Huskers and Badgers, and great for the Illini. Purdue, at 1-5, is the only program that is lagging far behind, but even it has had some moments, nearly knocking off Michigan State. The Big Ten West bears a striking resemblance to the ACC Coastal, with more top end wins thus far. Seeing Iowa and Northwestern at the top of a division is a bit jarring, but who knows? Those two teams might actually just be quite good this season.Next: No. 6 SEC East >>>6. SEC East

Steve Spurrier resigns during an interview, not retiring.

Come back, HBC.

The SEC East has gotten a definite boost from the top 10 resurgence of Florida, although the 6-0 Gators have had a rough week off-the-field. In two weeks, Georgia has slipped from national title hopeful to possible Outback or Citrus Bowl participants. Kentucky has been a pleasant surprise and the 'Cats could significantly enhance their resume with a win over Auburn tomorrow. Elsewhere, Missouri looks pedestrian this year after back-to-back division titles, while Tennessee has been a disappointment. South Carolina and Vanderbilt? Not really much to talk about there, other than Steve Spurrier stepping down.There are some quality programs in this division, but once again, the East is behind the West in the SEC in terms of level of competition. Next: No. 5 ACC Atlantic >>>5. ACC AtlanticAs usual, the Atlantic is shaping up to be a two-team race between Florida State and Clemson. The two heavyweights will face off on Nov. 7 in Death Valley, and that figures to be a must-see game. If the winner can get through the regular season undefeated and then win the ACC Championship Game, they'll qualify for the College Football Playoff. 

The rest of the bunch in the Atlantic is merely so-so. Louisville is having an uncharacteristically down year thus far, while Boston College's offense is non-existent and NC State has dropped two straight. Wake Forest is still Wake Forest and Syracuse's 3-0 start seems like a distant memory. In short, this division is top-heavy, but the two teams at the top of the pack are among the best in the country. Next: No. 4 Pac-12 South >>>4. Pac-12 South This division hasn't exactly shaped up as planned through the first half of the season, but it's still a formidable group. All six teams have records of .500 or better.Utah is the jewel of the contingent right now, sporting a 5-0 record and a top-5 ranking. Injuries have hurt UCLA, while USC has underachieved on the field and been a mess off of it. Still, both programs are still well-stocked with talent and capable of making noise. Arizona State is dangerous (just ask UCLA), but Arizona is still searching for a quality conference win after being blown out by the Bruins and Stanford. Colorado is stuck in last place, but an upset or two down the stretch could make the Buffs a surprise bowl team. Next: No. 3 Big Ten West >>>3. Big 12The Big 12 is home to two of the top three teams in the country, according to the AP Poll, and four of the top 16. Both Baylor and TCU have been in the top five since the preseason rankings were released, currently sitting at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Oklahoma has been in the rankings all season, though it has fallen with Saturday's loss. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, has been steadily creeping up ladder and now sits at No. 16. Texas even gave the Big 12's depth a boost this past weekend, corralling a victory in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma.

">@CowboyFB and

With two big road wins last night, @CowboyFB and @TCUFootball sit atop the #Big12FB standings at 3-0. pic.twitter.com/Dzry1Sz9Tm

— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 11, 2015

">@TCUFootball sit atop the #Big12FB standings at 3-0. pic.twitter.com/Dzry1Sz9Tm

— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference)

With two big road wins last night, @CowboyFB and @TCUFootball sit atop the #Big12FB standings at 3-0. pic.twitter.com/Dzry1Sz9Tm

— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 11, 2015

">October 11, 2015

As of now, it looks like you can make an argument that Baylor is putting a better product on the field than any other team in the country, but we won't know for sure until it faces off against the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU towards the end of the season.

The Big 12 is home to some big football. 

Next: No. 2 Big Ten East >>>

2. Big Ten East 

Home to the reigning national champions, the Big Ten East is one of the premier divisions in all of college football. It may be a bit top-heavy, but so is a sledgehammer. 

Comprised of seven members, the Big Ten East currently features three of the top 12 teams in the country, including No. 1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes hold the key to the castle, but Michigan and Michigan State have been surging as of late. It's not that unlikely that we may see all three of these teams ranked in the top 15 at the end of the year - something that hasn't happened in quite some time. 

">@OhioStAthletics 4

#B1G in Coaches Poll:

1 @OhioStAthletics
4 @MSU_Football
14 @umichfootball
17 @HawkeyeFootball
21 @NUFBFamily

Poll http://t.co/GNuZWuLmUT

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 11, 2015

">@MSU_Football 14 @umichfootball 17

#B1G in Coaches Poll:

1 @OhioStAthletics
4 @MSU_Football
14 @umichfootball
17 @HawkeyeFootball
21 @NUFBFamily

Poll http://t.co/GNuZWuLmUT

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 11, 2015

">@HawkeyeFootball 21

#B1G in Coaches Poll:

1 @OhioStAthletics
4 @MSU_Football
14 @umichfootball
17 @HawkeyeFootball
21 @NUFBFamily

Poll http://t.co/GNuZWuLmUT

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 11, 2015

">@NUFBFamily Poll http://t.co/GNuZWuLmUT

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork)

#B1G in Coaches Poll:

1 @OhioStAthletics
4 @MSU_Football
14 @umichfootball
17 @HawkeyeFootball
21 @NUFBFamily

Poll http://t.co/GNuZWuLmUT

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 11, 2015

">October 11, 2015

Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State will collide this season, sending two of these teams falling down the rankings. But for now, all three of these teams are putting quality products on the field.

If you're looking for the perfect combination of success and history, look no further than the Big Ten East. 

Next: No. 1 ??? >>>

1.SEC West

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Southeastern Conference is the best in all of college football. And within the SEC, it's the SEC West that carries the weight. 

The SEC West is responsible for three of the top 10 teams and four of the top 13. It is still a powerhouse conference with superior talent, and that translates onto the football field. LSU running back Leonard Fournette currently leads the Heisman race by a landslide. Every time he enters the stadium, it's clear he's the best athlete out there, and that's pretty much what it looks like when members of this division take the field on Saturdays. 

When teams like Alabama and LSU are on the slate, opponents know they're in for a dogfight. 

The SEC West represents great college football - past and present - and remains king to this day.

Next: 10 Most Disappointing Teams Of 2015 Season