Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Pac-12 finishes bowl season 2-5
By Ted Miller
First, how about those two BCS bowl games Monday? Brilliant. Thrilling.
Second, if Stanford could just make a field goal, the Pac-12 would have finished 3-4 with two BCS bowl victories. Three teams -- Stanford, Oregon and USC -- likely would have finished in the final top five.
But if wishes were fishes then cows would fly (my dad used to say that. I have no idea what it means, but it seemed better than "would-a, could-a, should-a").
The bottom line makes you want to cover your eyes: A 2-5 bowl record.
We provided an excuse Monday morning: If USC had been eligible for the postseason, the entire bowl schedule would have dramatically shifted and the Pac-12 would have put together a much better record.
There is also this: Oregon was the only one of the Pac-12's bowl teams that was favored. It not only beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, it covered. Utah also won, and it was an underdog to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Washington went blow-for-blow with No. 12 Baylor before yielding late because its defense was milquetoast.
So the Huskies fired defensive coordinator Nick Holt and, on Monday, raided Tennessee, hiring away highly respected defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon.
How does a conference improve its bowl record? Play better, coach better. It's a good sign -- and an obvious benefit of the Pac-12's new $3 billion TV deal -- that the conference is hiring away good coaches from the SEC.
Still, 2-5 won't warm anyone's hearts on the West Coast, though the 3-6 Big Ten isn't feeling very good about itself either, at present.