Pac-10 Redeems Itself With 5-0 Bowl Record

January 2, 2009

USC's 38-24 victory and thorough domination of #8 Penn State in the Rose Bowl was the final chapter in the Pac-10's redemption story this year. The victory made Pac-10 teams a perfect 5-0 in bowl games this season. What does this fact mean? Here is a list of reasons why this is important.

1. USC's "Strength of Schedule" deserves reconsideration.

This fact was not lost on USC head coach Pete Carroll. "It obviously shows the regard for the [Pac-10] schedule wasn't proper, was not right, was not accurate," Carroll said. "I know [the bowl record] is a pretty cool fact when you're comparing stuff right now. It's interesting."

Carroll, long a proponent of a playoff system, was totally justified in suggesting his Trojans deserve consideration for #1 votes in the AP poll. As I explained in an earlier article (12/12/08), the BCS system is a total joke and all writers should make a point of voting for the best team who isn't in the official BCS Title Game. Texas, Texas Tech, Alabama, and Utah have yet to play, but the Trojans wouldn't be a bad choice at this stage.

2. The SEC and, especially this year, the Big-12, need a reality check to remind them they are not as superior as they might think.

As I have argued in a previous article (11/11/08), the manner in which conference strength is judged is totally arbitrary and based on regional biases. The Big-12 has been lauded by many as the best conference this year. However, as I have previously pointed out, there are very few significant non-conference wins to back up this assertion.

If we are to truly judge conference strength there are really only two valid factors to judge: (1) Legitimate Nonconference Wins and (2) Bowl Record. If you intend to give a conference like the Big-12 immennse credit before they beat anyone, then you better at least be pointing out some historical basis of success on their part. But no such basis exists. It is interesting to note that as of New Year's Day, the following conferences had the top 3 bowl records over the past 6 years:

1. Pac-10 (.667) 22-11
2. SEC (.659) 27-14
3. Big East (.552) 16-13

3. Losing Tough Nonconference Games in September Does Not Necessarily Indicate Weakness

The Pac-10, unlike many major conferences, plays relatively stiff nonconference competition each year. By scheduling these games, the conference takes the risk of losing and creating an impression of weakness. However, this is not entirely fair. This year, for example, the Pac-10 was loaded with younger talent (USC's running backs, Jacquizz Rodgers (OSU), Jeremiah Masoli (ORE), Jahvid Best (CAL)) and inexperienced quarterbacks. The sucess in the bowl games is in part a result of these younger players developing.

Another factor in the Pac-10's poor reputation was the pathetic play of Washington and Washington State. However, both of these teams were beaten more soundly by Pac-10 teams than nonconfrence opponents.

4. The Pac-10 record doesn't mean they are the best, but they should get to play in better bowl games.

Look, I am not attempting to argue the Pac-10 is the best conference. Part of their success is that they are playing in weaker bowl games well before New Years Day(although 4 of their opponents were ranked in the top 25 this year). However, the Pac-10 should consistently have two teams playing in Bowl games on January 1st or later. The 2nd place Pac-10 team shouldn't have to look forward to the Holiday Bowl against the 3rd place Big 12 team.

They should also consistently be ranked higher and have more teams playing in bowl games. For God's sake, 10 ACC teams have played in Bowl Games this year! All the other major conferences had more teams in bowl games this season too (Big East (6), Big 12 (7), Big 10 (7), and SEC (8)). Among non-major conferences several have more or as many teams in bowl games as well (Conference USA (6), WAC (5), and MAC (5)).

This is totally unjust and after this year more people will hopefully figure this out.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.Com

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