As a college sports fan, both of hockey and football, I notice a recurring trend every January when bowl games roll around.
Fans proclaim their support for whatever conference their favorite program plays in, even rooting for a rival in hopes that their victory will make the conference look superior.
I guess I have to ask—why?
As a fan of the Big Ten's Michigan Wolverines, there is only one instance when I'm rooting for anyone other than the Wolverines—when someone is playing the Buckeyes, also a Big Ten school.
What do I care how the rest of the conference does? In the bigger conferences especially, there are enough power programs that it's pretty much guaranteed that a poor showing from top to bottom isn't going to wreck the conference.
Hell, the Big 12 has been a two-team race since its inception, though the Big Ten has been basically the same.
What satisfaction am I supposed to be getting if the Big Ten wins more head-to-head matchups against the SEC or Pac-10, especially if it's involving a team that I would normally root against with all my might?
I never understood SEC fans proclaiming to have the best conference in the country. Is this just a fallback when your team flounders? Something to cheer about when your team is playing in a meaningless bowl game?
Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but my allegiance is to my team and my team only.
Well, and to whoever is playing Ohio State, too.