- David Ubben, College Football
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Colleague Ryan McGee took it upon himself to pool each conference's bowl tie-ins and rank them in order of general awesomeness, including one interesting quote:
"I wouldn't be honest with you if I said bowl selection wasn't a factor in our decision to move," a Nebraska athletic official confessed to me during the 2011 College World Series, played the week leading into the Huskers' official date of departure from the Big Ten to the Big 12. "The goal is to win the conference championship and get a BCS game. But only one team is going to do that. So you also need to align yourself with a conference that has you in a good game even if you are one of the teams that come up short of your ultimate goal."
The Big 12 checked in at just No. 4, behind the SEC at No. 1, the Big Ten at No. 2 and yes, even the ACC, at No. 3.
The Big 12's problem is the complete opposite of the ACC's. Its bowl menu is more attractive at the top, but there aren't enough of them. The Cotton is college football's finest non-BCS stage and provides a stand-alone prime time TV slot. The next game on the pecking order is the Alamo. It's a solid game but can feel like a letdown for a team that was on the cusp of a conference title.
Remember that quote from the Nebraska official? He wasn't wrong. In 2010 the Huskers won the Big 12 North, lost the conference title game by three points, and went back to the Holiday Bowl for the second consecutive year to play 6-6 Washington. This year they won one less game, finished third in the Big Ten Legends division, and they'll be playing on New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl vs. No. 9 South Carolina.
The Cotton Bowl is a great game and a great showcase for Big 12 country and a matchup with the SEC, but the fan travel locales for Big 12 bowl games leave a bit to be desired. It's great for Texas recruiting across the league, as well as alums who don't want to travel far for games, but the Big 12 doesn't play a single game in Florida.
Four of its eight bowls are played in Texas.
It's good and bad.
And for now, that's the way it's going to be, even without the TicketCity Bowl in the permanent rotation.
The league would get a nice boost if the Cotton Bowl were given BCS status, but for now, it has to settle for being every bit as legit as a BCS bowl, minus the official BCS stamp.
Where would you rank the Big 12 bowls in relation to the rest of the leagues?
21hMax Olson and Matt Fortuna