SEC! SEC!

So, as with last year, I’ll give the results of my Bowl Championship points system. I created this a couple of years ago as a response to (then) Cooper Tire’s Bowl Championship Cup. The Cup was given out to the conference that did the best in the bowl season. But it was given out for the best winning percentage with three or more games. So one year, the Mountain West went 2-1 and won the cup. Wahoo.

The system I created works like so: Each conference gets two points for a bowl win, an extra point for a BCS bowl win and loses a point for a bowl loss. So it rewards conferences that are both in a lot of bowls and do well in them. Yes, it favors the major conferences. But it should favor them as they usually have far more depth than the mid-majors (look carefully at the bottom of the Mountain West before you claim they’re as good as, say, the Big 10). The system is fair, I think, because it mostly favors the top conferences but a mid-major can win if they have a really great season.

I’ve now run the series back to the first year of the BCS (1998). Here are the results:

1998-1999: Both systems favor the Big 10, which went 5-0 with two BCS wins.

1999-2000: Both systems favor the Big 10, which went 5-2 with two BCS wins.

2000-1: The Mountain West had the best record at 3-0, but my system favors the Big East’s 4-1 record with a BCS win.

2001-2: The Big East took the BC Cup based on a 4-1 record. My system would have given it to the SEC since they were 5-3 but won two BCS games.

2002-3: Both systems give the cup to the Big 10, which went 5-2 with a BCS win and national title for Ohio State.

2003-4: The ACC wins the BC cup based on a 5-1 record. My system puts the SEC in a tie because they went 5-2 with a BCS win. This is a perfect example of how the systems differ because the Cup favors the conference that had fewer bowl games while my system favors the conference that had more bowl games.

I don’t weigh national titles in the system because of my belief that such title are arbitrary (see previous rantings). But if I used it as a tie-breaker, the SEC would win since LSU took a share of the national title.

2004-5: The Cup went to the Mountain West based on a 2-1 record. I gave it to the Big 12, which 4-3 with a BCS win. That was the lowest winning score (6 points) of any winner.

2005-6: The Cup splits between ACC and Big-12 as both had 5-3 records. My system gives it to the Big 12, which also won a BCS game and a title.

2006-7: The Cup went to the Big East based on a 5-0 record. My system puts the SEC in a tie. Although they went 6-3, two of those wins were BCS wins and one was for the national title.

2007-8: Again, the Mountain West wins the cup with a 4-1 performance. My system gives it to the SEC, which went 7-2 with 2 BCS wins. Their 14 point performance is the highest out of any year in the system.

2008-9: Another year where one conference — the Pac-10 — goes 5-0. But with a 6-2 record, a BCS win and a title, the SEC is favored in the point system.

It’s interesting to watch conferences wax and wane. When the system started, the Big 10 was the king while the Pac 10 was weak. Then the Big-12 took over. Now the SEC rules while the Big 10 is on the outs (6-16 over the last three years). The Big East has been consistently strong. Even the mid-majors have cycles. Conference USA was terrible for a while.

(It’s also fascinating to watch the number of bowls swell from 22 to 34. So much for the BCS killing off the bowls. Why don’t we want a playoff again?)

It may seem like my system is biased in favor of the SEC. But I designed it when the SEC was in a down cycle and it was favoring the Big-12. The SEC does better in my system simply because they get into more bowls and win more bowls. Over the BCS years that I have now entered into the system, here are the records of each conference:

SEC: 50-35 (12 BCS wins) = 77 points
Big East: 32-21 (6 BCS wins) = 49 points
Big 12: 41-42 (7 BCS wins) = 47 points
Pac 10: 31-28 (9 BCS wins) = 43 points
ACC: 36-38 (2 BCS wins) = 36 points
Big 10: 34-40 (9 BCS wins) = 36 points
Mountain West: 21-15 (2 BCS wins) = 29 points
WAC: 17-22 (1 BCS win) = 13 points
Conference USA: 21-31 (0 BCS wins) = 11 points
MAC: 12-16 (0 BCS wins) = 8 points
Big West: 3-0 (0 BCS wins) = 6 points
Sun Belt: 4-7 (0 BCS wins) = 1 point
Independents: 3-10 (0 BCS wins) = -4 points

Now we see the larger picture and it’s one that will cause my friend Chris to explode. The SEC has far-and-away the best Bowl record, followed by the Big East. The other conferences cluster near .500. This is true if you use W-L, national titles, BCS bowl wins o or my system as he marker. The system actually favors the Big 10, which would slip under the Mountain West on pure win percentage. One wonders where that conference would be if it weren’t for Paterno and Penn State (5-2, 1 BCS, 9 points all on their own).

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