If so inclined, see A Big10 Bowl Analysis for added context.
Pac Ten #1 vs Big Ten #1
USC crooshes PSU
Pac-10 No. 2 OREGON vs. Big 12 No. 4 OKSt
Oregon crooshes Okie St.
Pac-10 No. 3 OreSt vs. Big East Pitt
OreSt beats Pitt 3-0 in 9 innings.
Pac-10 No. 4 CAL vs. ACC No. 7 Miami (YTM)
Cal beats Miami (YTM)
Pac-10 No. 5 ZONA vs. Mountain West No. 2 (but finished 3rd?) BYU
Zona beats BYU
*Sun Bowl Selected the #2 team in the Big East, Pitt:
If the Gator Bowl selects a Big 12 Conference school, the Brut Sun Bowl has the second pick from the Big East Conference.
** MWC Champ Utah received a BCS bid and it appears as if the Sun Bowl selected the 3rd place team in lieu of TCU:
Unless an MWC team qualifies for a BCS bowl game, the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl has the first selection of MWC teams, followed by the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettita Bowl with the second selection. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl and New Mexico Bowls have the third and fourth selections, respectively, but in no particular order.
^ 2008 Big 12 bowls, in order: BCS, BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Gator, Alamo, Insight, etc.
Again this season, the Big 12 has eight bowl slots guaranteed. The Conference is partnered with nine bowls. However the arrangement with the Gator Bowl is for it to select a Big 12 team twice over a four-year period. In the two years in which the Gator does not select a Big 12 team, the Sun Bowl will.
Following is the selection order:
BCS [ x2, -ed.]
• USC is better than PSU. Not shocking, but obviously a great win for the Pac10.
• The 2nd best team in the Pac10 is better than the 4th place team in the B12. Not shocking.
• In a good win for the Pac10, their 3rd place team beats the Big East runner up. Of course, this is the Big East and, as such, should be considered a mid-major football conference.
• The 4th place Pac10 representative beats the 7th place ACC team. Again, not shocking.
• Finally, the 3rd best team in a mid-major conference is beaten by the 5th best Pac10 team. At this point, I'd like to ask the Pac10 if they want a medal for this amazing accomplishment.
The Pac10 bowl affiliations are a joke. They always have been for as long as I can remember. In years where the Pac10 only has one BCS representative (USC), the effects of this become magnified because 2-3 of their match-ups turn out to be against the n+1th best team (see the Holiday Bowl where the Big12 sent their 4th best team due to OU and Tex going to the BCS, and the Vegas Bowl where their champ, Utah, unexpectedly received a BCS berth (andand the unexplained selection of 3rd place BYU over 2nd place TCU)). The simple fact is, the Pac10 plays down in their bowl match-ups. Go back to look for the Pac10 record in bowl games. They are almost always 5-1 or 4-2 or 5-0. But look at who they placed in those games.
In contrast, the Big10 has always 'played up' in their bowl affiliations. Of course, when the B10 sends 2 teams to the BCS (as happens most years) they send the n+1th best team. This effect has been mitigated since the addition of a 5th BCS game, because more conferences get the 'sent the n+1th best team' -effect. Thus the relatively even bowl match-ups for the Big10 in the earlier diary entry.
This doesn't say that the Big10 is the best conference, of course. What is does say is that, based on bowl game performance, the Pac10 is not too great and the Big10 is not too far off from the SEC r the Pac10. Not to mention the unquantifiable effects traveling has on B10 teams with which the SEC and Pac10 generally do not have to deal. And that the Pac10 only had 5 bowl eligible teams. The reputation of the Pac10 is always over inflated for 2 reasons: USC and their bowl record.
Look, USC is great. They are the only team that recruits as well as I used to in NCAA0X for Xbox. They probably have more talent than any 2 other teams in the nation, combined. But the Pac10's strength should not be a reason for USC to get 1st place votes. The Pac10 certainly isn't a stronger conference than the Big12 or the SEC. Or perhaps even the ACC who sent an NCAA record 10 teams to bowls.