Champions below. Expounded upon after the jump.
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big Ten: Michigan
Big XII: Texas
Pac-10: Southern Cal
1. Boston College (10-2, 6-2)
Yes, I'm well aware of all the reasons not to do this, including a new coach and the projected re-emergence of Florida State. "Projected" being the key word there. I'm still not sure. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: at Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, Miami
2. Florida State (9-3, 6-2)
Lose by virtue of the tiebreaker.
3. Wake Forest (8-4, 5-3)
Yes, they have enough returning to have a solid season.
4. Clemson (6-6, 3-5)
Tough schedule. Freshman backup QB in waiting. New coach at season's end.
5. Maryland Terrapins (5-7, 3-5)
Lose tiebreaker to Clemson.
6. N.C. State (4-8, 1-7)
Sorry, Tom. Not this year.
1. Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-0)
Really, would you want your team going into Blacksburg to play these guys this year, of all years. Sean Glennon will be good enough, the defense looks tough, and we all know about the special teams. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: Boston College, Florida State, Miami
2. Miami (8-4, 5-3)
Best of a mid-division muddle.
3. Georgia Tech (8-4, 5-3)
Chan Gailey beats his equilibrium -- barely.
4. Virginia (8-4, 4-4)
Out-of-conference cupcakes abound.
5. North Carolina (3-9, 1-7)
Long season for Butch Davis. Looooong season.
6. Duke (0-12, 0-8)
They could beat Connecticut. But I doubt it.
1. Michigan (12-0, 8-0)
This is the year for Lloyd Carr. They do lose a lot on defense -- but, judging by the Ohio State and Southern Cal implosions, that might not be such a big deal. They get back three big weapons on offense. And the league is down this year. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: Penn State, at Wisconsin, Ohio State
2. Wisconsin (11-1, 7-1)
They have just enough -- again, in a down conference -- to beat everyone except Michigan.
3. Penn State (10-2, 6-2)
Joe Pa leads a resurgence, as they get the toughest swing game -- Ohio State -- at home.
4. Iowa (10-2, 6-2)
Don't face Ohio State or Michigan. At Purdue is the only game that worries me.
5. Ohio State (9-3, 5-3)
No Troy Smith. No Ted Ginn. And I could on for a while.
6. Purdue (8-4, 4-4)
Brutal midseason stretch: Ohio State, at Michigan, Iowa.
7. Minnesota (7-5, 3-5)
Don't you love North Dakota State?
8. Illinois (5-7, 2-6)
Could be Ron Zook's first bowl game with the Fighting Illini. Few have ever been burned by going against Zook.
9. Michigan State (4-8, 2-6)
A new coach can only do so much.
10. Indiana (4-8, 0-8)
You want them to do better. I just don't see it.
11. Northwestern (3-9, 0-8)
There are 11 teams in the Big Ten. Technically. If you count Northwestern.
1. Nebraska (9-3, 6-2)
This might be the least meaningful championship in the nation, since it's just an invitation to get rolled by Texas in the title game. But Bill Callahan has what he's looking for on offense. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: at Missouri, Texas A&M, at Texas
2. Missouri (9-3, 5-3)
Chase Daniel gets them close, but the loss to Nebraska will seal their fate.
3. Kansas State (7-5, 4-4)
Sorry, I don't see the Auburn upset. That leaves them here.
4. Kansas (7-5, 3-5)
Could ride into the postseason on a weak out-of-conference schedule.
5. Colorado (4-8, 2-6)
If Dan Hawkins wanted to beat Oklahoma, he should have stayed at Boise State.
6. Iowa State (3-9, 0-8)
Welcome to Ames, Coach Chizik.
1. Texas (12-0, 8-0)
Oklahoma might push them a bit. So might Texas A&M. But I don't see anybody in the Big XII good enough to actually beat the Longhorns. Mack Brown gets his second title. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: Oklahoma, at Texas A&M, Nebraska
2. Texas A&M (10-2, 7-1)
Dennis Franchione comes close, but not quite close enough.
3. Oklahoma (10-2, 6-2)
They'll win 10 games, but I don't think they'll look good doing it.
4. Oklahoma State (8-4, 4-4)
Hypothetical to ponder: How many games would Les Miles lose with this team?
5. Texas Tech (7-5, 3-5)
Is anybody else bothered by the lack of proven WR?
6. Baylor (3-9, 0-8)
The Vanderbilt of the Big XII.
1. Southern Cal (11-1, 8-1)
The Pac-10 tiebreaking procedures confuse me, and I think they involve sacrificing the fatted calf. But give the advantage to Southern Cal over UCLA and Cal. THREE TOUGHEST GAMES: at Cal, UCLA, Oregon State
2. Cal (11-1, 8-1)
Again, pending the tiebreakers.
3. UCLA (11-1, 8-1)
Muddle at the top of the conference. Am I fudging? Yeah.
4. Oregon State (9-3, 6-3)
This would have been my pick before the Utah game, as well. Though QB issues kind of scare me now.
5. Arizona (7-5, 5-4)
A Stoops with a lot of returning players on defense. 'Nuff said.
6. Oregon (6-6, 4-5)
Bellotti and Co. should be able to go .500 with that schedule.
7. Arizona State (6-6, 3-6)
Start out 6-1, then go 0-5 down the stretch.
8. Washington State (4-8, 2-7)
At Wisconsin? Don't say the Cougars look for soft out-of-conference games.
9. Washington (3-9, 1-8)
That is a brutal schedule.
10. Stanford (1-11, 0-9)
I guess they'll beat San Jose State. I guess.