The backdrop (sans BCS controversy)
Writers here on Bleacher Report as well as college football fans across the country have a favorite pastime, wholly separate from writing about particular teams or players. That never-ending debate is as to which FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) conference is the best from top to bottom.
Any number of apparatus have been used to measure this dimension: Records against common opponents, bowl success, margin of victory, strength of schedule, et al. Toss it all out the window. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I propose an entirely different criterion and I wish to retroactively apply it to the 2009 NCAA FBS season.
Conveniently for me, a contest has been drawn up that won't even require major college football programs and conferences to reschedule games or even travel so much as a square mile to participate. In fact, players and coaches can rest and gameplan for more important things while the showdown occurs.
Enter the evil corporation (well, not really evil...read on)
I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper,
She's a Pepper, we're a Pepper,
Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?
Be a Pepper. Drink Dr. Pepper.
Dr. Pepper, the primary sponsors of at least three of the FBS conference championship games this past weekend, teamed up with former coach Lou Holtz to pay out more than $1 million in scholarship monies, nearly $440K of which was paid out today in the SEC, ACC, and Big XII championship games.
Holtz, though somewhat hard to understand at times, is definitely counted as a philanthropist and motivational speaker. His thoughts on the exciting giveaway:
No matter what happens on the field, getting an education makes you a winner. I’m proud to be part of the Dr. Pepper Scholarship Giveaway. It’s a great program that gives me the chance to brighten the day for some lucky college students with free tuition.
The X's and O's
In each of the conference championship games today, two contestants attempted to throw 10 footballs from the 5-yard line at a hollowed-out Dr. Pepper can within 45 seconds. Whichever of those two had the most successful tosses won $123,000 and the runner-up $23,000. Don't get me wrong, this is plenty exciting, especially if you are on the receiving end.
My wrinkle is naming the conference whose championship game has the highest number of aggregate footballs completed the best conference in major college football. Athletic skill and game-planning is evident from the performances on the field. In Atlanta at the SEC championship game this evening, look no further than Sarah Beth Hill and Daniel Margil who completed nine and eight passes, respectively, for a total of 17 out of 20. Ms. Hill, in particular, took her time aiming each throw and putting just enough touch on the ball to hit 90 percent while her counterpart, though rushed and a little on the cocky side, managed 80 percent (Interestingly, this mirrored the teams playing on the field to an extent).
How did other conferences match up? In the ACC where Georgia Tech and Clemson both preferred punishing ground attacks to airing it out, the halftime contest went something like 6-4 (10-out-of-20 total). Worse yet, in Jerry Jones' Xanadu at Arlington one contestant managed zero footballs and her opponent three, for a grand total of 3-out-of-20.
PAC-10, Big Ten, Big East, WAC, Mountain West, etc., sorry you weren't eligible to participate. Get with the program and play a plus-one game and you can have a shot! Your tie-breaking procedures are so much more unwieldy than these rules I just made up on the spot.
C-USA and MAC, we just need to get you in touch with Dr. Pepper and I'm sure they'll manufacture four more inflatable cans with 2-foot holes cut out so that deserving students can win scholarship money at your championship games next season.
Never mind the arguments about strength top-to-bottom, or tradition, or speed on defense. The SEC is the best conference in college football because of clutch performances when everything was on the line. Do not bother to argue, my assertions and criteria alone can withstand any animadversion!
If I erred in the data on how many footballs were thrown through, I apologize. I did watch all three contests and I know I have the Big XII and SEC numbers correct. I simply can't remember the ACC results which makes me think it was somewhere in-between.