Sometimes, the numbers say it all.Nine Big 12 schools will play in a bowl game this year. That’s 90% of the league’s membership, the highest mark in college football history. No conference has ever produced a higher percentage of bowl-eligible teams than this year’s Big 12. The closest were the ACC in 2008, the SEC in 2009 and 2010 and the Big Ten in 2011. Each of those conferences had 10-of-12 (83%) schools participate in post-season play those seasons. With one game remaining this fall for several schools, the Big 12’s percentage of bowl eligible teams is far and away the highest. The Pac-12 (67%), SEC (64%), MAC (58%), Big Ten (58%), WAC (57%), ACC (50%), Big East (50%), Mountain West (50%), Sun Belt (50%) and Conference USA (42%) all lag behind the Big 12’s record pace. UConn and Pitt from the Big East and the ACC’s Georgia Tech can become eligible with a win next week. It’s interesting to note that nine Big 12 schools earned bowl eligibility in 2012 and the league played a round-robin conference schedule.
So much for the argument – which some conferences continue to make – about how beating up each other in league play is a detriment to earning bowl invites. Perhaps, it’s time for all of the leagues to play at least nine league games annually within their conference and let the bowl bids be determined by who wins the games.A couple of weeks ago, Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads strongly stated there wasn’t a deeper conference in the nation than the Big 12 this year. Are there any dissenters, now? Using bowl eligibility as a standard for total conference depth, there shouldn’t be.
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