PAC-10 Wins Bowl Challenge Cup
With USC's drubbing of a rather lackadaisical Penn State in the Rose Bowl yesterday, the PAC-10 completed a perfect 5-for-5 sweep of its Bowl Games -- and claimed its first-ever "Bowl Challenge Cup" (an ESPN-invented acknowledgment of the NCAA Division I conference with the highest winning percentage [minimum three bowl games]).
However, I think the best gauge of a conference's strength is the number of teams that qualify for bowl games -- rather than just the winning percentage. After all, my beloved Golden Bears of Cal played a hapless Miami team comprised almost entirely of underclassmen and sporting an SI "Power Ranking" of 47th out of 119. The SEC, by contrast, has EIGHT (yep, 8) of their 12 teams playing in the college post-season; even Vanderbilt won their first bowl game in more than 50 years. And the Big-12, in addition to sending seven to the postseason, came within a play of putting the Broken Computer System into a tailspin with two teams warranting a BCS Title Game berth.
BTW: 50 years is significant for Cal too, since yesterday (New Years Day) was the 50th anniversary of Cal's most-recent trip to the Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl. Jan. 1st, 1959, PAC-10 champion Cal lost to a bigger, faster, stronger Iowa team, beginning a drought reminiscent of baseball's Chicago Cubs. Hopefully Cal won't have to wait another 50 years before returning to the Rose Bowl....