Pac-10’s Impressive Bowl Record Holds Little Meaning
This was easily one of the worst years for the Pac-10. Outside of USC (no surprise), there wasn’t a legitimate contender. Cal, Oregon, and Oregon St. all had pretty good squads but lost several games. The Washington schools were amongst the worst the conference has ever seen, while UCLA and Arizona State had seriously down years. In the past, at least the conference has seen a second team get to double-digit wins and a major bowl. That was not the case this year. Perhaps it also explains the conference’s perfect bowl record. The Pac-10 went 5-0 in bowls with USC hammering Penn State in the Rose Bowl, Cal beating Miami in the Emerald Bowl, Oregon State shutting out Pitt in the Sun Bowl, Oregon defeating Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl, and Arizona beating BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The perfect record might make people stop to question how down of a year it was for the Pac-10. Don’t be fooled: the conference was still garbage this year. Like I said, the Washington schools were historically bad, and no team outside of USC posed a real threat in the rankings (except for Oregon once they beat Oklahoma State). That’s part of the reason the conference performed well — since the schools had down years, they were excited and pumped up to get to bad bowl games unlike years past when a Las Vegas Bowl berth or Sun Bowl berth was considered a disappointment. That’s the exact reason I dislike picking bowl games; you never know who’s going to be excited to play in the game and who will be disappointed.
Do you really think Utah’s a better team than Alabama? No, but Utah was pumped for the chance while Bama had its season come to an end with the loss to Florida. Was Vanderbilt better than BC? Not definitively, but Vandy was excited to actually be in a bowl game — something new for the school. As for the Big 10 bowl record of 1-5, that’s pretty indicative of their conference strength. At this point they’re only a step or two above the Big East.