Conference Calls

With the college football season getting underway, there's a lot of talk about conferences. Unlike pro football, which has divisions, big-time college teams are divided into conferences. Each conference represents a different geographic region, has its own traditions and its own set of rivalries. Winning the conference championship is a very, very big deal for college football schools, especially in the six major conferences.

Pacific 10: This conference consists of 10 schools along the west coast. The biggest rivalries in the conference are California vs. Stanford and UCLA vs. USC. In recent years, USC has been the best team in the Pac-10, winning six out of the last eight conference championships.

Big 12: Some of the best football programs in the country come out of the Big 12, including Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri. These teams routinely compete for National Championships as well as the Big 12 title. Oklahoma has appeared in seven of the last nine conference championship games, winning six of them.

Southeastern Conference: Many SEC schools have long, storied football traditions. Schools like Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are very proud of their football teams, with tens of thousands of fans showing up for games and many, many more following the action nationwide. The Florida Gators have been the most successful SEC team, winning seven conference titles since 1992, including last year's win over Alabama.

Big 10: College football is huge in the Midwest, and the Big 10 Conference proves it. It is the oldest major college athletic conference, getting its start in 1899. Penn State and Michigan have two of the largest stadiums in college football, which fill up for every home game. Ohio State is one of the most popular teams in the country, and Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota are all usually very competitive. Ohio State has earned a share of the last four conference championships.

Atlantic Coast Conference: Many ACC schools, such as Duke and North Carolina, are known for their basketball programs. But the conference has its share of football powerhouses too, such as Florida State, Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami. Virginia Tech has been the ACC's best team lately, winning the last two conference championship games.

Big East: Like the ACC, the Big East has a long history of basketball excellence but still fields some very strong football teams. Traditionally, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia have been the conference's top programs, with Louisville and Cincinnati enjoying success in recent years.

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