Bowl Games 2010: Big 12 Victimized by Conference Tie-Ins with Poor Bowl Matchups
Every year conference tie-ins lead to bad bowl game matchups. Due to the amount of money and stakeholders involved in these decisions, the conference tie-in system will likely never change.
Although there are several bad bowl games across the board, this year's biggest loser when it comes to bowl matchups is the Big 12, and here's why.
Insight Bowl: Missouri Vs. Iowa
This bowl game isn't horrible, but it is a mismatch nonetheless.
Missouri has lost only two games this year and is on a three-game winning streak.
Iowa, on the other hand, has been inconsistent at best after beating Michigan State. The Hawkeyes eked out a win against Indiana the next week, only to then lose their next three games, including a 27-24 loss to Minnesota.
Although Iowa has the potential to win this game, they are no deserving of playing a No. 12-ranked team in the postseason.
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona
Arizona does not even have a winning conference record, yet it landed in a respectable bowl against a Top 15 team.
The Wildcats have lost four straight, going winless all through the month of November (and early December for that matter).
Oklahoma State has one of the best offenses in the country and was one play from playing in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The only thing that might keep this game close is if Arizona can put up points on the Cowboys' sloppy defense.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Vs. UConn
The Fiesta Bowl is a great example of the atrocities that conference tie-ins inflict upon bowl games.
An 8-4 UConn team that went 5-2 in a very subpar conference gets to play on a national stage simply because of bogus BCS contracts. The Huskies did not play a ranked team all season, nor did they have to win a conference championship to get into this game.
The spread on this game is likely to be greater than 20 points, and that is something that should not happen in one of the biggest annual bowl games.
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska Vs. Washington
Bowl games try to avoid picking the same team two years in a row. Bowl games try to avoid pairing up teams who already played this season. Bowl games try to pair up teams who match up well against one another.
These are all myths perpetrated by bowl selection committees that often serve as explanations for questionable bowl selections.
Well, none of these supposed bowl game ideals were upheld for this year's Holiday Bowl.
Nebraska played in last year's Holiday Bowl, beating Arizona 33-0. Not only that, Nebraska also played Washington earlier this season, and the Huskers dominated the Huskies en route to a 56-21 victory, in Seattle mind you.
This weekend Nebraska played a Top 10 team in Oklahoma in hopes of gaining a BCS berth. Washington played quite possibly the worst team from an AQ conference, Washington State, in hopes to just become bowl eligible.
Well, Nebraska fell to Oklahoma by a field goal and Washington squeaked by Washington State to set up this matchup.
Nebraska also plays Washington next season. That means these two teams will have played three times within a two-year period. With Nebraska switching conferences next season, that means the Huskers will have played the Huskies three times more than any other opponent during that span.
There are many great bowl games this postseason. However, games like this year's Holiday Bowl prove that pitting conferences against one another before the season plays out can turn out to be a huge joke.