Could It Be the National Sportswriters Have College Football All Wrong?

Big 12's Kansas State plays in the last bowl game of the year Tuesday evening
My gosh, reading Twitter after Cincinnati lost to Alabama, you'd have thought they were blown out 70-0. One of my favorites was a self-described B1G (Big 10) fan who kept throwing shade at the Bearcats until his conference's Michigan kicked off an hour later against Georgia. Oops. 

I wish I had saved all of them. They are fun reading. 

I'm primarily writing about the sportswriter who commented (paraphrasing and referring to Cincy and the AAC) the Power 5 are a "different level of competition" and that the rest "should have a championship of their own" as well as all of the others who were so quick to criticize the American Athletic Conferences' football programs.
"Sports Illustrated" couldn't wait until the game was over
to criticize Cincinnati 
Really? Is this conventional wisdom (CW) among sportswriters correct?

The statistics point to the CW being wildly wrong. 
The "Power Five" are:
  • SEC
  • ACC
  • Big 12
  • Big 10
  • Pac 12
Since the bowl game contestants are more or less matched by quality of team (Toledo plays Middle Tennessee rather than, say, Georgia), the bowl results are not a bad proxy for conference quality. With one bowl left -- my Big 12 Kansas State Wildcats versus the SEC's Louisiana State -- here are the conference by conference results. 
If you want to talk about the Power 5 being a "whole different level of competition," I'd have to agree: The Pac 12 didn't win a single bowl game. They lost all five. 

Meanwhile, since everyone was complaining about Cincy, their American Conference has the second best winning percentage of the bowl season -- 75%. The Mountain West was #1 with 83%. 

Among the Power Five conferences, the Big 12 (so far) is #1 with a winning percentage of .666. That will increase to 71% when (and if) K-State wins tomorrow night. The mighty SEC won less than half of their games at 45%. One can say, with tongue partially in cheek, that Texas and OU want to move to the SEC to have a lesser level of competition. Remember: the SEC isn't just Alabama and Georgia -- it includes such 'powerhouses' as Missouri and Vanderbilt. 

So, take what the national sportswriters write with a grain of salt. They seem to suffer not only from conventional wisdom and but inertia. 


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