Friday, December 22, 2006

Bowl Games and Conference Domination

So, it's that time of year again. I still remember many of the great moments from last year's bowl season. How about that Husker comeback on BIG BLUE in the Alamo Bowl? The Orange Bowl was another classic between Penn State and Florida State. And, who will forget what was likely the greatest CFB game ever played, the 2k6 Rose Bowl for the National Championship between SC and TEXAS?

But this is 2k6/7. So the question becomes, which conference wins more bowl games and earns the right to be called the toughest conference in the land, in some respects? You can argue all you like about the SEC or the BIG-10 or the BIG East. But, when it's all said and done - let's see how things look after the games are played. And, the bowl-champion conference may not come from one of the six BCS districts. How about the Mountain West and their total domination in bowl games this year early on? TCU and BYU both opened up some serious cans of you know what against NIU and U of O, respectively. They actually looked like BCS teams.

Granted, it's still early. Many great games are ahead of us right now. But whom are you going to take in the UTAH / TULSA game this weekend? I know where my pick and points will be. The real question might just be why didn't I wager more?

At this point, I think the conference with the most to gain (and lose) is the BIG-10. Starting with the Insight Bowl (Minnesota versus Texas Tech) and ending with the BCS Title Game (Ohio State versus Florida), this conference can come up roses or go down in flames. History isn't necessarily on its side either. The BIG-10 appears in 7 bowl games this year. The competition will be fierce. I think they might only be favored in 2 or 3 at most to win, including the BUCKEYES over Florida. Realistically, 3 or 4 wins would be good. 5 or more wins would be fanatastic and totally unexpected for the conference. Going a perfect 7 for 7 is pretty much not going to happen (odds are better Oregon gets a Republican governor this century).

The SEC looks to be in good shape as it tries to defend the national reputation out there that it's the best in the land. They drew 9 bowl bids this year and have a realistic chance at getting 6 wins or more. I'd have to say that they're the insiders on winning the bowl challenge between conferences. The ACC, BIG-12, BIG EAST, and PAC-10 also are well represented this year with 8, 8, 4, and 6 bids, respectively. I'll be looking forward to see how Louisville, WV, Rutgers, and South Florida fair from what was once thought to be the 'softest conference' in the land. Last year the BIG-12 really did some damage in bowl season. I figure the ACC will lose a few games this year.

And the PAC-10 is really just the PAC-1. It's all about USC these days. Honestly, this conference may not win a bowl game, following in the shallow footsteps of Oregon. Oregon State, CAL, and UCLA may be their best shots. So, maybe the questions become will the PAC-10 win a bowl game, and if NOT are they the weakest conference in the land?

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