Friday, July 25, 2008

Who will be next in College Football?

Prior to last season, Indiana University from the Big Ten Conference hadn't reached a bowl game, since the 1993 season, Independence Bowl (L 20-45, Virginia Tech). Under first year head coach Bill Lynch, who replaced the late Terry Hoeppner in '07, finished 7-6 overall (3-5 in the Big Ten) and reached the Insight Bowl last year (L 33-49, Oklahoma State).

Longest droughts around the FBS, by conference affiliation:
  • SEC East - Vanderbilt (1962, Hall of Fame Bowl)
  • SEC West - Mississippi State (2003, Cotton Bowl)
  • Big Ten - Northwestern (2005, Sun Bowl)
  • Big 12 North - Iowa State (2005, Houston Bowl)
  • Big 12 South - Baylor (1994, Alamo Bowl)
  • ACC Atlantic -North Carolina State (2005, Car Care Bowl)
  • ACC Coastal - Duke (1994, Hall of Fame Bowl)
  • Pac Ten - Arizona (1998, Holiday Bowl)
  • Big East - Pittsburgh (2004, Fiesta Bowl) and Syracuse (2004, Champs Sports Bowl)
  • Mountain West - San Diego State (1998, Las Vegas Bowl)
  • Conference USA East - Marshall (2004, Fort Worth Bowl) and UAB (2004, Hawaii Bowl)
  • Conference USA West - SMU (1984, Aloha Bowl)
  • WAC -New Mexico State (1960, Sun Bowl)
  • Independents - Army (1996, Independence Bowl)
  • MAC East - Kent State (1972, Tangerine Bowl)***
  • MAC West - Eastern Michigan (1987, California Bowl)
  • Sun Belt - Three teams have never bowled***

*** The Buffalo Bulls of the MAC have never been to a bowl game. Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Florida International of the Sun Belt Conference have never been to a bowl game, either.

The SEC is recognized as the top FBS conference, but at the bottom, it shows some weaknesses as compared to the other BCS conferences. The Big Ten had IU with a nearly 15 year drought before last year, but Vanderbilt hasn't been to a bowl game, since the Kennedy Administration was in power in the White House.

A strong season for head coach Mike Stoops would greatly relieve some pressure on the University of Arizona fan base. Patience may be in order, if Stoops isn't successful in 2008, but the fan base may get a little restless, if they are shutout for a 10th straight season.

Ball State from the MAC ended an eleven year drought last year earning a bid to the International Bowl in Toronto (L 30-52, Rutgers). Ball State and IU were two Indiana FBS schools that ended longer bowl droughts in '07.

Last year, Florida Atlantic of the Sun Belt played in their first bowl game winning a bid to the New Orleans Bowl (W 44-27, Memphis). It will be interesting to see who ends a drought in '08.

  • Most Likely Team to Bowl in '08 - Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East)


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