I love the bowl season because it gives us wonderful non-conference action. The bowl season is the one time where conference judgment is almost objective.
I’ve devised a formula to help make sense of all 34 bowl games and how the conferences stack up respectively. A team and its conference gets one point for making it to a bowl but not being able to get that W. (It’s all about that W, right?) Winning a crappy bowl is little better than losing in a bowl, so I allotted the points as such. For a team with a win in a third-tier bowl, they get 2 points. For a team with a win in a second-tier bowl win, they get 3 points. For a team with a win in a BCS game, they get 4 points. (except for one BCS bowl; can you guess which one?) For a national title win, that team and respective conference gets five points. Then I take all of the points and add them together and compare the scores (don’t worry; I’ll do this again once the bowls are over). So even if team A wins the national title, team A’s conference will need their other teams to perform well to win my bowl conference challenge.
To decide between the tier of the bowls, I usually used the records for both teams. For instance, if both teams’ records combined for 12-14 wins (before the bowl game), then they were definitely in a 3rd tier bowl. If the teams combined for 15 wins, then it was a gut call as to whether they were 3rd or 2nd tier. 16 combined wins and up usually got you a 2nd tier bowl game spot (the only exception was the Texas Bowl for obvious reasons). I have only 2 more 2nd tier than 3rd tier.
Here’s a list of where I placed each bowl:
Eagle Bank (Wake Forest-Navy), New Mexico (Colorado St.-Fresno), Saint Petersburg (Memphis-USF), New Orleans (Southern Miss.-Troy), Hawaii (Hawaii-Notre Dame), Motor City (FAU-Central Mich.), Independence (NIU-Louisiana Tech), PapaJohn’s.com (NC State-Rutgers), Humanitarian (Maryland-Nevada), Texas (W. Mich.-Rice), Armed Forces (Houston-Air Force), , Insight (Kansas-Minnesota), Liberty (Kentucky-E. Carolina) [Kentucky being 6-6 and E. Carolina being from the conference USA hurt this bowl’s tier at 15 combined wins], and International (Buffalo-UConn)
Las Vegas (BYU-Arizona), Poinsettia (Boise St.-TCU), Meineke Car Care (WVU-UNC), Champs Sports (Wisconsin-FSU), Emerald (Miami-Cal), Alamo (Missouri-Northwestern), Holiday (Oklahoma St.-Oregon), Sun (Oregon St.-Pittsburgh), Music City (Boston College-Vanderbilt) [This is the biggest one I was teetering with at 15 wins combined pre-bowl, but this game was very interesting to me with the ACC&SEC match up and it being Vandy's first bowl in a long time.] Chick-fil-a (LSU-Georgia Tech), Outback (South Carolina-Iowa), Capitol One (UGA-Mich. St.), Gator (Nebraska-Clemson), Cotton (Ole Miss-Texas Tech), GMAC (Ball St.-Tulsa) [I'm tempted to put the GMAC lower, but their records are too good to pass up.], and finally the Orange Bowl (Cincinnati-Virginia Tech)
I had to put the Orange bowl in the 2nd tier because it was such a bad BCS game. It’s almost like the BCS decision makers just lumped these two ugly-ducklings together because they had no other place to go except for the “Outcast BCS Bowl.” I could put the Orange Bowl in the BCS section, but I wouldn’t like it. Did you see the crowd for that game too? It wasn't even half capacity.
Rose (Penn St.-USC), Sugar (Utah-Alabama), and Fiesta (Ohio St.-Texas)
BCS title game(Florida-Oklahoma)
As of 1/3/09 at noon, the conferences stack up like this (with potential win points in parentheses but one point will be awarded for losing anyways):
- SEC - 16 (5)
- ACC and Pac 10 tied - 16
- [ACC and Pac 10]
- Big 12 - 10 (4,5)
- Mountain West - 10
- Big East - 9 (2)
- Big 10 - 8 (4) [Iowa was the Big 10's saving grace.]
- Conference USA - 8 (2)
- Sun Belt and WAC tied - 5
- [Sun Belt and WAC]
- MAC - 4 (2,2) [Poor ol' MAC is winless right now, but they have 2 more chances.]
- Independents - 4
Let me know if it needs any tweaking before the finalized version comes out.