Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why you don't have to root for the Big Ten in their bowl games.

It is commonly believed that your conference needs to win their bowl games or the sky will fall. That without some good out of conference wins no one will take your teams seriously. I'm calling bullshit.

Reasons why you don't have to root for the big ten in their bowl games:

#1 - Poor performance doesn't equal punishment. In a season that followed a summer of supreme Big Ten hate, the conference still lands the #1 seed in the MNC despite no overwhelming evidence that they are really any good. In addition, the Big Ten landed their record 15th BCS bid in Illinois*. All this after being ranked the 6th best conference by Sagarin.

#2 - No one really looks at the record anyway. So OSU and UM are blown out of the water, but then Penn State and Wiscy control their games against the mighty SEC. Minnesota dominates but manages to give 31 unanswered points in the last 20 minutes of the game, then another 6 in overtime for a loss. Even an underperforming and barely bowl eligible (6-6) Iowa team had #13 Texas by the horns** before pulling a Minnesota late in that game.

#3 - There will always be an excuse. The Big East went 5-0 last year in their bowls, yet they get no respect because "they didn't play anyone". Penn State beats Tennessee, but "Fulmer just can't win bowl games". Wisconsin beats Arkansas, but "McFadden was hurt" (even though he had over a month to heal)...the whole point is that you don't even get credit for what you do on the field. People, mainly sports writers and pollsters, create expectations about everything, even predictions that they publish for millions of people. So what happens when they are dead wrong? Do they realize they were basing their expectations on flawed logic? No, of course not, they rationalize so that they really weren't that wrong. This way they can write a follow up piece about how the grass was too long, or how the "should have been" winning coach made some terrible play calls. It's never about how stupid they are, it can't be, because then they wouldn't be experts. And what would we do without experts?

*I know that they probably wouldn't be in if it wasn't for the situation, that they needed OSU in the MNC Game and a little love from our good friend the Rose Bowl, but this is really my point. We do have a nice deal, the Rose is going to pick a Big Ten team, usually, if they qualify, and the Zookers qualified.

**No pun is intended, I swear, it just kind of slipped out. Because I know this line has been horrible abused, I had to Goodle search for proof: over 1,000 results.

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