The AAC, 2-2 with one bowl left, is the latest reiteration of the Big East — a conference known for top-tier basketball programs but definitely not football. C-USA has some classic teams such as Marshall University, Rice University and the University of Tulsa, but like the AAC this conference just has too many cellar-dwellers to be ranked among the best.
The Big 10 usually sees several of its teams ranked each year, but its 2-4 showing this postseason is part of a general losing trend. The Big 10 entered the 2013 bowl season having gone 30-51 over its previous 10 postseasons, its only winning postseason coming in 2009.
The Big 12 seems to rest squarely as the third-best conference in the nation. Its best teams often rank among the nation’s top five, and its worst teams still provide better competition than their equivalents in the Big 10 or C-USA.
And if Oklahoma State can knock off Missouri in the Cotton Bowl tonight, the gap between the best and third-best conferences in the nation might shrink just a little bit more.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.