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Conference Bowl Records: 1998-2012

gfx - by the numbersYesterday, we went back through every bowl game played in this century and broke down the wins and losses by conference.  That story pointed out that while the national expectation is for the SEC to go undefeated each postseason, the reality is entirely different.  As noted, the SEC has been much closer to the .600 mark over that span (in part because the SEC’s teams often face squads from other conferences who finished higher up in their own league’s standings).

Unfortunately, by stopping at 2000, we left the door open for a few Big Ten’ers to comment and email claiming bias — BIAS!  Nevermind the fact that we didn’t even mention the Big Ten other than to show their record in table-form along with every other league’s.  Again, the story was about the SEC, not the Big Ten.

But since we’ve been called out as blatant SEC homers who were working to sully the reputation of the great Big Ten, we’ve gone back and added in all the bowl games played in 1998 and 1999, too.  Those were the first two years of the BCS system, you see.  And the Big Ten had a great run at that time.  We congratulate them.

That still has nothing at all to do with our initial post, mind you, but if we need to go back 15 years to validate the Big Ten and prevent a few Midwesterners from soiling their undergarments, so be it.

Below are the updated numbers for all the bowls played from 1998 until now (including Oregon’s win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl last night).  We look forward to the emails from some other league’s conspiracy theorists claiming that we left off 1997 because their league was really, really good back then.

 

  Conference   All Bowls ’98-’12   BCS Bowls ’98-’12   All Bowls 2012   BCS Bowls 2012
  Big West   2-0 (100.0%)   0-0   0-0   0-0
  Big East   46-28 (62.1%)   8-7   3-1   1-0
  SEC   70-50 (58.3%)   16-8   3-3   0-1
  MWC   32-24 (57.1%)   3-1   1-4   0-0
  Big XII   57-62 (47.8%)   9-11   4-4   0-1
  Pac-10/12   41-45 (47.6%)   13-7   4-4   2-0
  ACC   49-55 (47.1%)   3-13   4-2   1-0
  WAC   23-28 (45.0%)   2-1   2-0   0-0
  C-USA   33-41 (44.5%)   0-0   4-1   0-0
  Big Ten   47-59 (44.3%)   12-14   2-5   0-1
  MAC   21-27 (43.7%)   0-1   2-4   0-1
  Sun Belt   9-13 (40.9%)   0-0   1-2   0-0

 

And there you have it.

As you can see, we’ve had to add in the old Big West Conference — which hasn’t been a football conference since 2000 — thanks to Idaho and Boise State reaching the Humanitarian Bowl in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

You’ll also note that, if anything, adding in two more years of bowl results only makes it more obvious that the SEC has owned the past 15 years of major college football.  Of the leagues whose teams play mostly teams from other major conferences in bowls, the SEC has been by far the best overall.

We’ve also corrected the BCS record for the WAC.  Surprisingly, we didn’t get a single email from WAC fans claiming that we’d intentionally butchered their record as part of our obvious “take down the WAC” campaign.

We’ll leave you with a rundown of the BCS champions and their home conferences since the system was introduced in ’98:

 

  Season   BCS Champion   Conference
  1998   Tennessee   SEC
  1999   Florida State   ACC
  2000   Oklahoma   Big XII
  2001   Miami, FL   Big East
  2002   Ohio State   Big Ten
  2003   LSU   SEC
  2004   Southern Cal   Pac-10/12
  2005   Texas   Big XII
  2006   Florida   SEC
  2007   LSU   SEC
  2008   Florida   SEC
  2009   Alabama   SEC
  2010   Auburn   SEC
  2011   Alabama   SEC
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UF Coaches Say Gillislee Could Get 25-30 Carries, But Numbers Suggest SEC Backs Don’t Run That Much Anymore

On Saturday, #4 LSU will bring the SEC’s third-best rush defense (83 yards allowed per game) into Gainesville for a clash with #10 Florida.  The Gators have the league’s third-best rushing offense (224.5 yards per game) and Mike Gillislee is a big part of that, averaging 100.5 yards per contest (which trails only Georgia’s Todd Gurley in the SEC).

But Gillislee has cranked out that yardage on just about 17 carries per game.  That’s the third highest average in the conference behind Tennessee’s Rajion Neal (20 carries per game) and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore (18 carries per game).  But according to his offensive coordinator, Gillislee’s number of touches could go up this week.  Way up.

Brent Pease says Gillislee is capable of doing in the SEC what former Boise State running back Doug Martin did against WAC and Mountain West competition:

 

“If he’s got to carry it 30 times this game, carry it 30.  Whatever it takes.  If a guy wants to play at the next level, you better be able to handle it 25 times a game.  That’s when we see how strong you are — in the fourth quarter…

Doug Martin carried it 25-30 times a game, and I don’t see any difference between Mike.  He can handle that, and I think the kid’s good.”

 

Did we mention that Martin played against WAC and Mountain West defenses?  If Pease is looking for a difference between Martin and Gillislee, he need look no further than the quality of competition.  We at MrSEC.com don’t recall the WAC or MWC cranking out dozens of NFL defensive linemen in recent years as the SEC has.

That’s not to say Gillislee isn’t capable of carrying the football 25-30 times against LSU on Saturday.  In 2010, Carolina’s Lattimore pounded Florida for 212 yards and three touchdowns on a jaw-dropping 40 carries in a 36-14 Gamecock win.  But that kind of workload is the exception, not the rule.

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Mizzou’s Richardson Takes Some Shots At UGA And Their “Old Man” Style Of Play

All offseason Missouri players have bowed their backs and complained of a lack of respect coming out of the national and SEC media.  But on Saturday night, Tiger defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson opened his trap and proved that his team could be just as guilty of not dishing out proper respect.

Asked by a Columbia Tribune writer if he watched Georgia’s game with Buffalo, Richardson made it clear he wasn’t impressed by the Dawgs — Mizzou’s next opponent — or their style of play:

 

“I watched that game.  I turned it off, too.  It’s like watching Big Ten football.  It’s old man football…

They got a Heisman candidate at quarterback.  OK.  So we’re going to get some and do what we’re supposed to do.  We create our own pressure.  That’s it, man.  Don’t nobody put no pressure on us.  We come out there for every game.  We do what we’re supposed to do.  If we execute, nobody in this league can touch us.  Period.”

 

Let’s pause so you can digest all that.  Georgia plays “old man football?”  Worse, “Big Ten football?”  And “nobody in this league can touch” Mizzou?

Here’s guessing Mr. Richardson just got every SEC fan to pull for the Bulldogs on Saturday.  And as we’ve said before, it’s just too darn bad that both teams won’t come in at full strength due to injuries, suspensions, etc.  It would be fun to see if UGA could “touch” Missouri with its full compliment of defenders.

Oh, but Richardson wasn’t done.  Asked again if the Tigers’ transition to the SEC has been overhyped he said:

 

“Way overhyped.  They make it seem like we came from the WAC or something or never played against Oklahoma or Texas Tech and everyone else who plays for national championships.  It’s about that time we show them who we are…

We could have played Alabama today.  It don’t matter, man.  We’re coming out here every game like this, high-intense football.”

 

Missouri may well roll through the SEC with the greatest of ease including a date later in the season with Alabama, but I’m pretty sure the Tide — which whipped Michigan 41-14 on Saturday — won’t be intimidated by Mizzou’s “high-intense” football.  After all, Richardson’s comments were made after a 62-10 win over, ahem, Southeastern Louisiana.  That’s hardly Michigan.  Or even Buffalo, for that matter.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked about Richardson’s comments and reacted just as you’d expect him to… with class.  “Well, did he say ‘old man’ or ‘old school,’ or what did he say?”  Then The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer says the coach laughed and stated: “I don’t know what he meant by that.  You know botttom line is we’ve got to get after it and do what we do well, and they’ll trying to stop everything we’re trying to get accomplished.”

Whatever Richt and his Bulldogs plan to do on Saturday, MU’s Richardson would likely remind them: “Don’t nobody put no pressure on us.”  (Much to the chagrin of every University of Missouri English professor.)

Saturday in Columbia a UGA team with a thinned out secondary will carry the SEC banner into Faurot Field and attempt to provide Richardson with a taste of what “high-intense” football really means in the SEC.  Missouri and Richardson will come in with a banged-up offensive line and an “us against the world” attitude.  It should make for a heckuva “hello/how are ya?” between these new SEC rivals.

And we’ll see who’ll be barking loudest afterwards — Richardson or the Dawgs.

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As The WAC Goes Bye-Bye, It’s Time To Remember That Realignment Is Evolution, Not Evil

The WAC appears to be dying.  Again.

Now, Down South, there won’t be too many people shedding tears for the ol’ Western Athletic Conference.  The league’s members are zipping off into new conferences — Sun Belt, Mountain West, Conference USA, etc, etc — and several SEC schools will continue to schedule them for the occasional early-season, football appetizer.  Cupcakes and creampuffs will still be available, they just won’t come with the brand name “WAC” attached.

But in what amounts to an obituary piece by Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com yesterday, we’re reminded that conference expansion and conference realignment are nothing new.  The WAC was founded in 1962 as it killed off two other leagues — the Skyline Eight Conference (also known as the Mountain States Conference) and the Border Conference (also known as the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association).

What’s past is prologue.

That’s not particularly surprising to our readers.  You might recall that last September — as most sports journalists threw hissy fits regarding Texas A&M’s move to the SEC — we penned a little piece called: “Conference Realignment Isn’t Evil… It’s Evolution.”  In it we showed that the current twists and turns and shifts and moves were really nothing new.  Schools have been entering and exiting conferences for as long as conferences have existed.  A Supreme Court ruling in 1984 that gave schools — not the NCAA itself — control over television contracts and cash simply sped the process up a bit.

Now we’re seeing the end of that cycle.  The WAC and Mountain West and Conference-USA are simply reacting to the big moves at the top of the food chain, hoping and praying to find some way to survive.  For the WAC, hope’s about to run out.  For the others, there may be new hope on the way.

While we have all focused on the FBS conference commissioners’ playoff discussions this offseason — How many teams will play?  Where will they play?  Who’ll pick them? — an important theme has been missed.  The BCS conference commissioners are actually bellying up to the table with their brethren from the small conferences.  For years this tribe of six uber-conferences has tried to keep the lion’s share of college football’s postseason money to itself.  They didn’t want a playoff because a playoff would help to spread some amount of wealth and power to the little guys.  That’s not a positive thing if you’re one of the big guys.

When the small conferences have threatened lawsuits or when lawmakers have threatened hearings, the BCS leagues have inched in their direction just to hush them.  ”We’ll create another BCS bowl to give you little guys a chance to earn a spot and earn some cash.”  Quite simply, they cracked the door for the little guys.  Now it appears they’re going to open it further.

In the current playoff plans, it looks like football’s power brokers are leaning toward a system in which the best four teams will battle on the field for the national crown.  And that’s the best four teams regardless of conference affiliation.  Yes, the big conferences will still have an in-house edge thanks to their strength of schedule, their budgets, and to their tradition.  But the non-BCS league teams will apparently get a better shot at the title belt than ever before.

There’s a move to do away with the old “automatic-qualifier” and “non-automatic qualifier” tags, too.  Again, this gives the little guys a little bit better odds of winning some extra green each winter.

So why are the BCS commissioners — and the many school presidents they represent — now willing to take these steps?  Simple.  They’re ready for the music to stop for a while.

Leagues have expanded.  Schools have moved.  Television networks have and are forking over more cash through rejiggered contracts. Before taking further action, it would be best to see how these most recent changes will impact the schools and conferences.  The presidents and commissioners know this.  And if the cost of slowing things down a bit is inching the door open a bit more for the non-BCS leagues then that’s a small price to pay.  The television revenue generated by a playoff — in addition to the new contracts most of the BCS leagues are inking — will more than make up for any money they wind up having to split with the little guys should a small school reach the playoffs.

The WAC’s death is simply the end of the latest cycle of moves.  The Big 12 has spackled itself together with a six-year deal to share its media rights and once that deal expires then all bets are off.  Despite what you might read elsewhere, Mike Slive and the SEC aren’t negotiating under the table with Virginia Tech or NC State or anyone else in a secret effort to jump all the way to 16 schools.  If anyone expands in the next few years it will be the Big 12, a league that — as we showed you yesterday — must grow its own footprint to survive long-term.  Perhaps the ACC and/or Big Ten will make a final play for Rutgers and UConn in order to push into the New York television market, but frankly, we don’t think that’s likely for a while.

The moves at the top have finally impacted those schools and leagues on the bottom.  Now even the big conference commissioners appear willing to do whatever it takes to apply the brakes on change.  But there will eventually be more moves.  This writer wouldn’t be surprised to see leagues expand again in a post-Big 12 world leaving four, major 18-to-20-school conferences.  At that point, you might see divisions set up in such a way that they would actually look like the conferences of 20 years ago, only this time, the overall leagues would be bigger and they would have greater negotiating power with television networks.

Whatever happens next and whenever it happens, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all somehow new… that it’s greed gone wild or the end of the college game as we know it.  You’ll be sure to hear and read that all over the place when the next wave of change comes.

But it’s not evil, folks.  It’s evolution.

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UT’s Wilcox The Frontrunner For Arizona State?

Yesterday, it looked like June Jones had the Arizona State job in hand.  Rumors hit the messageboards that Jones would target a top defensive coordinator so he could focus on his offense and the name that got the most play was that of Tennessee’s Justin Wilcox.

A day later, Jones is heading back to SMU with his tail between his legs and Wilcox is reportedly a hot candidate for the head coaching job himself.

John Gambadoro of KTAR-AM in Phoenix tweeted the following this afternoon:


“While its impossible to determine how many cooks are in the ASU kitchen — I am being told that Tenn DC Wilcox is a frontrunner for the job”


Wilcox is a West Coast guy having played at Oregon and coached at California and Boise State.  Derek Dooley — who had coached against Wilcox in the WAC — lured him to Knoxville where in his second year he had Tennessee ranked #28 in the nation in total defense and #35 in scoring defense.  Not bad considering the youth and inexperience on UT’s roster.

Last offseason, Texas made a run at Wilcox before settling on Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator.

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Upping Scholarship Values Still A Hot Topic

If you’re just covering one team at SEC Media Days, you don’t have to worry about getting tired of hearing a question asked over and over.  You hear it once and then another topic pops up.

But when you do what we do — cover all 12 schools at Media Days — then you’re guaranteed of growing tired of hearing one or two writers ask each of the league’s coaches the exact same question.

This week, you can bet that someone will want to write about the idea of paying players.  That writer will no doubt ask the same question in the same way to all 12 SEC coaches.

As a result, you’ll read right here what all 12 coaches have to say on the matter.  And that topic, by the way, is back in the news today.

Josh Kendall of The State in Columbia, South Carolina tackles it here.  ESPN.com’s Chris Low does the same here.

Low points out that SEC commissioner Mike Slive has said he supports the idea of “paying for an athlete’s full cost of attendance, which over and above tuition, room and board, books and university fees would also pay for reasonable personal expenses as well as travel expenses when an athlete returns home to see family.”

That is not the same as paying players some type of mini-salary.  But as Kendall points out, a university’s full cost of attendance is: “a figure determined by its office of financial aid (that) includes not just tuition, fees, books, room and board but also the personal expenses a student incurs.”

See the problem?  The cost of attending one school is different than the cost of attending another.  Would it not be a recruiting advantage for UCLA or Southern Cal — for example — to be able to offer a greater sum of cash than say Auburn or Clemson?  Some 18-year-olds might start comparing dollar signs (and they’re unlikely to do many cost-of-living calculations).

Unless the NCAA simply tells all schools that they can pay — and we’re spitballing here — $2,500 per athlete over the value of the institution’s scholarships, we don’t see how a “pay increase” proposal can come to pass.

If cost of living becomes a factor, trust that some schools will bend the rules in their favor.  If each league is allowed to create its own level of pay, count on the haves (SEC, Big Ten, etc) further separating themselves from the have-nots (WAC, Sun Belt, MAC, etc).

At SEC Media Days there will be quite a bit of talk about this subject.  But for now, that’s all it is — just a lot of talk.

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