McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

January 3, 2014

So far, Big 12 holding its own

(Continued)

McALESTER —

The Pacific-12 conference went 6-3 in its nine bowl games, but Stanford’s 24-20 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday meant an 0-1 showing in BCS bowls. If the SEC can even split its four remaining bowls, it’ll finish with the winningest record among all conferences this season.

Other notable conference records include 3-3 performances from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, though neither conference qualified a team to a BCS bowl. The Big 10 went 2-4 this postseason, but it won the Rose Bowl — the conference’s first win in that bowl since 2010 — and has a chance at a 2-0 showing in the BCS if Ohio State can knock off Clemson in tonight’s Orange Bowl.

Many fans and analysts knock the Big 10’s slower, run-based, more traditional style of football for both its lack of excitement and its inability to hang with the faster, high-flying teams of the Pac-12 and the SEC. But with an Orange Bowl victory, the Big 10 would at worst tie the SEC for most BCS wins this season.

So with the bowl season nearly over, which conference is the best? Based on current bowl records, it’s hard to argue against the SEC being the best conference in America, even if Florida State wins the championship.

From top to bottom, the SEC just seems to have the most quality football teams, dominating both the BCS rankings and the biggest bowls year in and year out. The Pac-12, meanwhile, seems like the second-best conference, with three-quarters of its teams qualifying for bowls and half its teams winning this year.

Had Pac-12 standout Oregon not lost to Stanford on Nov. 7, the Ducks might very well have earned a spot in the national championship.

That puts the Big 12 in the mix for third. The Big 10, Mountain West and C-USA also qualified for at least six games, and the AAC qualified for five.

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