Pac-10 bowl game wrap-up/analysis

Well, the Pac-10 started off REALLY slowly this year in the bowl games.  Both Oregon and Arizona St. were downright embarassed by 2nd-tier teams before Christmas.  On the one hand, both of those teams were in shambled and it was somewhat to be expected.  (As a short aside, Cal’s one touchdown victory over BYU in 2005 at the Vegas Bowl looks a little more impressive considering how well BYU did in 2006 and their completely embarassing of Oregon in this year’s Vegas Bowl.)

Unfortunately things didn’t get any better when UCLA, a team that definitely had the skills and were coming off a their biggest win since… well, since they beat Cal in 2005, couldn’t get the job done against a weak Florida State team.  So the Pac-10 was 0-3 in their early bowls and all the prognosticators were talking about how weak the Pac-10 was.

Boy did that change.  Cal destroyed A&M, Oregon State beat Missouri (although the final score was close and it required a last minute comeback by OSU, OSU dominated most of the game) and USC destroyed Michigan.  In the end, the best teams in the Pac-10 beat the better teams in the Big-12 and the Big-10.  I think it is safe to say that the Pac-10 is the best conference west of the Mississippi.

As for the other conferences:

The Big-12 is a joke going 3-5 which of it’s own right isn’t horrific but look at the 3 wins: Alabama, Minnesota and Iowa.  Not exactly teams to be proud of beating as a conference.  The Oklahoma loss to Boise St. is the difinitive example of where the Big-12 is at.

The Big-10 is 2-4 going into the championship game.  While two of the victories, Penn St. victory over Tennessee and Wisconson over Arkansas, spoke surprisingly well for the conference, the Michigan loss and the the overall record reinforce my though that the Big-10 is a weak conference.  If Ohio State loses to Florida, it will hard to avoid that impression.

The surprise conference is the Big East, they’re 4-0 and no one can speak poorly of that.  However, I think one still have to temper that record with who they’ve beat: East Carolina, Kansas St., Geogia Tech. and Wake Forest.  Not exactly a great lineup.

The ACC, which I thought was the most under-appreciated conference (I’m not saying the best, just not as bad as most people thought) didn’t do all that well, 3-5.  Their lineup was a bit tougher than most, but still, overall they didn’t live up to my expectations.

That leaves the SEC who still have two games left.  They’re 3-4 so far but if they win their remaining two games, it’ll be hard to debate them as having the most impressive bowl record of the BCS conferences when “strength of schedule” is included.

The other big winner this year is the non-BCS teams.  BYU and Boise St. did a lot for their reputation.

But overall, when one looks at the big picture, I think the Pac-10 did well when one considers how the other conferences did and their bowl schedule.

Next post: a end of season look forward to the Pac-10 next year.

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