The 2010 college football season came to a close last night in dramatic fashion. And of course, the game was determined by a blown call, pretty fitting for this season I should add. This game should have gone to overtime since Michael Dyer’s wrist was obviously down. Think back to the Sugar Bowl just last week and D.J. Williams had a similar play. Those replay officials knew the rules and called him down because his wrist was down. Michael Dyer’s wrist was down, but replay officials did not rule him down. And Brent Musberger like an idiot kept talking about the knee being down. Morons. Read a rule book.
That was a truly fitting end to the season though. A terribly blown call determines yet another outcome. The first takeaway from this season is that officiating in the FBS is TERRIBLE in every sense. There is no consistency, there is a complete lack of judgment and apparently a complete disregard for what the rule books actually say. The NCAA needs to look at this, and closely, and present some kind of reform. Blown calls, and I mean obvious blown calls, need to stop. Refs need to stop determining the outcomes of games and leave that to players.
Now, to the bowls. We had a decent bowl season, there were some very good games to watch for sure. Let’s look at how each conference did and give a fair assessment to the winners and losers.
This is everyone’s supposed best conference in the land, so how did they fair? An even 5-5. The SEC certainly put more teams into bowl games than any other conference, but from a conference that makes a living with cupcake non-conference schedules, this was not surprising.
SEC winners: Auburn over Oregon, Alabama over Michigan State, LSU over Texas A&M, Florida over Penn State and Mississippi State over Michigan
SEC losers: Arkansas to Ohio State, Georgia to UCF, Kentucky to Pitt, Tennessee to North Carolina and South Carolina to Florida State
Conclusion: Another solid showing from the SEC this bowl season. As usual the conference shows how lopsided it really is. The top teams won, the bottom teams lost. Florida and Arkansas just switched places. Best conference in the land? Georgia lost to a little sister of the poor, Kentucky lost to a coach-less Pitt, Tennessee lost to the UNC backups from this season and South Carolina lost to their ACC runner-up counterpart. But the one that stings is Arkansas being Ohio State’s first SEC bowl victim. I would say the 5 wins were good as they were mostly accepted, minus Oregon which was a toss up. Of the 5 losses though, Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas really could have done better. For the season, the SEC probably had the most top caliber teams, and from top to bottom, probably still is the best conference in the land.
Conference grade: A-
2. Big Ten
Everyone’s favorite conference to hate gave more fuel to the fire with a dismal 0-5 outing on New Year’s Day and an overall 3-5 record in bowls. Big Ten fans really need to stop being so concerned about the conference’s storied past and start worrying about the conference’s gloomy future. The SEC has risen to dominance in college football and the Big Ten is becoming an afterthought. Maybe Michigan’s new hire at coach, Brady Hoke, can help turn at least one of these programs around.
Big Ten winners: Illinois over Baylor, Iowa over Missouri and Ohio State over Arkansas
Big Ten losers: Northwestern to Texas Tech, Wisconsin to TCU and Penn State to Florida
Big Ten ultra losers: Michigan to Mississippi State and Michigan State to Alabama
Big Ten’s biggest loser: Jim Delany, who is always going to be college football’s biggest villain while he sits atop the Big Ten
Conclusion: Another predictable bowl season from the Big Ten. Ohio State got lucky to beat Arkansas. Surely one of those 8 red jerseys should have had the sense to pick up the blocked punt and walk into the end zone? Oh well. Iowa pulled off a miracle without some of their best offensive players. And most people figured Illinois would handle Baylor. Northwestern can’t be blamed their best player of all time was out with injury. Wisconsin really never had a chance. TCU could beat anybody. Penn State lost to the coach who is leaving but should be staying while having the coach who should be leaving but is staying. Weird. The real embarrassments to the conference were Michigan and Michigan State. They were just…sad. Really sad. But remember when the Wolverines won back to back titles in the 1930’s? And remember when the Spartans won those Rose Bowls in the 1950’s? Man, the Big Ten is the best conference ever.
Conference grade: C-
The Always Completely Common Conference was completely ordinary as usual. Won some games, lost some games, no one really cared about any of the games, the usual. A mediocre 4-5 in bowl games this go around.
ACC winners: Florida State over South Carolina, Maryland over East Carolina, North Carolina over Tennessee and North Carolina State over West Virginia
ACC losers: Virginia Tech to Stanford, Miami to Notre Dame, Boston College to Nevada, Clemson to South Florida and Georgia Tech to Air Force
Conclusion: Yikes, two losses to non-AQ teams, that has to sting a bit. At least Maryland pulled it out against East Carolina or that could have been embarrassing. There’s not much that can describe the ACC except one word: blah. Aside from Duke no one is ever really bad. And aside from Virginia Tech or Florida State no one ever seems to be ranked. The ACC is quickly becoming the model of mediocrity. Hopefully Al Golden can bring back Miami and Georgia Tech and get things straightened out, otherwise the ACC will quickly lose every recruiting battle to the SEC and Big Ten and fade into oblivion.
Conference grade: C, perfectly average
4. Big East
The Big East this year was a whole lot of suck. They finished the year without anyone ranked. But, that’s not much different from all year, when only Pitt and West Virginia ever made a break for the top 25. This is a pathetically bad conference, and with the exception of stealing TCU, there wasn’t a single bright spot this season. Then again, they did go 4-2 in bowl games, so that wasn’t all bad.
Big East winners: Louisville over Southern Miss, South Florida over Clemson, Pitt over Kentucky and Syracuse over Kansas State
Big East losers: West Virginia to North Carolina State and Uconn to Oklahoma
Conclusion: No Big East team belonged in a BCS bowl. These bowls are meant to match up the nation’s top teams at the end of the year. No Big East team could be considered elite this season. Yet we were forced to watch Uconn get beat down by Oklahoma, when we would have all rather seen a Boise State/Oklahoma rematch. What a dumb system. Kudos to Charlie Strong at Louisville for getting them back on track. No kudos to Cincinnati, who goes from undefeated regular season to bowl-less season in Brian Kelly’s absence. It’s going to be interesting after next season when TCU joins the ranks. Once the Big Ten and SEC decide 14 is the new 12, Louisville, West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse will probably be long gone, so there won’t be much of a Big East in the next 5 years anyway.
Conference grade: D-
5. Big XII
You know things weren’t boding well when every other Texas school except the Longhorns was in a bowl. Some bad karma came back around this bowl season. That’s what they get for letting TCU go to the Big East and BYU go to independence. This conference is totally doomed. A 3-5 bowl record isn’t bad, but considering that really should be 6-2, yeah, it’s bad.
Big XII winners: Oklahoma over Uconn, Texas Tech over Northwestern and Oklahoma State over Arizona
Big XII losers: Nebraska to Washington, Kansas State to Syracuse, Baylor to Illinois, Missouri to Iowa and Texas A&M to LSU
Conclusion: Let’s be honest, the Aggies had no business being in the Cotton Bowl. They should have played Arizona and Oklahoma State should have rocked LSU. Too bad. Nebraska should have owned Washington. Kansas State got robbed. Missouri gave the game to Iowa. I mean, this could have been a really good bowl season. But alas, the Big XII was all over the place this year. Texas is shaking up the coaching staff so we’ll see if that helps any, but right now things don’t look good for the conference. Mostly because now they only have 10 teams. Texas will be independent within 5 years and when that happens all hell will break loose. The Pac-12 will come calling to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The SEC will come calling to Texas A&M and maybe the Oklahoma schools. The Big Ten will be chatting about how incredible the 1930’s were for the Conference and not realize what is going on. But the Big XII will get the big X sometime very soon.
Conference grade: C+
6. Pac 10
Oregon was one blown call away from going to OT and having a shot to bring home some glory. But it was not meant to be. 2-2 bowl season, which goes two ways. One, .500 is a good bowl record. Two, four teams in bowls is awful. The bottom half of the conference has really got to step things up.
Pac 10 winners: Washington over Nebraska and Stanford over Virginia Tech
Pac 10 losers: Oregon to Auburn and Arizona to Oklahoma State
Conclusion: Oregon is poised to make another run for the top next season. Stanford has Andrew Luck back too, so that’s two great teams in this conference. Unfortunately, the rest of the conference is shaping up into a nice piece of crap. USC is faltering, Cal is failing, Oregon State is disappointing, UCLA is blah and those guys up in Washington just aren’t getting it done. On the plus side, Utah and Colorado join the conference next year. On the minus side they bring an extra dose of suck to the conference. They better hope Texas goes independent soon so they can raid OU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Otherwise I don’t know how this conference gets back on track.
Conference grade: C
The Mountain West Conference wins the bowl season yet again. At 4-1 they have the best winning percentage of all conferences. And none of those were really gimmies. With Boise State coming on and Nevada and Fresno State on the horizon, this conference is looking great. Oh wait, Utah, BYU and TCU are leaving, so we have another WAC on our hands.
MWC winners: BYU over UTEP, Air Force over Georgia Tech, TCU over Wisconsin and San Diego State over Navy
MWC loser: Utah to Boise State
Conclusion: Max Hall was right, Utah really has shown a total lack of class. Look at their behavior during their bowl week. They are going to be known as the thugs of the Pac 12. Funny in a conference with two schools in LA. Imagine though if Utah and BYU and TCU all stayed in the conference. Throw in Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State and you have a 12 team conference that looks dang good. It’s too bad Craig Thompson is a useless turd. They should have done that years ago. And on another minus, the bottom of the MWC is really, really bad. Still a good year.
Conference grade: B+
The WAC will soon be as irrelevant as the Sun Belt. They are losing everyone good and picking up nobodies. So it goes.
WAC winners: Boise State over Utah and Nevada over Boston College
WAC losers: Fresno State to Northern Illinois and Hawaii to Tulsa
Conclusion: Just as usual, the top 4 of the WAC have fine seasons, and the rest suck. In a weird twist Utah State beat BYU in football but lost to them in basketball. Truly a sign of the apocalypse. This conference never really meant much, and now they will mean less when all 4 bowl teams gear up to move to the MWC.
Conference grade: C+
Conference USA should be really proud of their future Big East member, UCF. These guys are a real feel good story. And Tulsa is regaining some of its scoring power. They did send 6 teams bowling too, which is quite nice for them. Too bad only 2 won.
CUSA winners: UCF over Georgia and Tulsa over Hawaii
CUSA losers: everyone else
Conclusion: What can you say about Conference USA?
Conference grade: D+
The MAC nearly got totally owned by the Sun Belt. That is a big enough statement as to the condition of this conference.
MAC winners: isn’t this an oxymoron? Northern Illinois over Fresno State and Miami (OH) over Middle Tennessee State
MAC losers: Toledo and Ohio to the Sun Belt
Conclusion: The MAC is giving the Sun Belt a run for its money as worst conference. The Sun Belt almost pulled off the hat trick, but the mighty Red Hawks were too much to handle. The MAC is and always will be the punching bags of the Big Ten.
Conference grade: D-
11. Sun Belt
Three bowl games against three MAC teams. Yawn.
Winners: FIU and Troy
Losers: Middle Tennessee State
Conclusion: Still the worst conference. The Sun Belt was in danger of not having any bowl eligible teams for a moment there. That’s just sad.
Conference grade: F+ for a winning bowl record
I’ll be looking at the various speculations of preseason rankings as they come out and post my compilation as I always do, so stay tuned for that. What did everyone else think about this season?