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Cotton Bowl 2011: Big 12 Ranked Fourth Among Conference Bowl Chances

Why did the Big 12 get slighted this year compared to other conferences when it came to the year end bowl placement? Certainly Kansas State had a better season than most and ranked No. 7 in the final BCS Rankings, so how do they miss out on a major BCS bowl if they deserved it?

ESPN’s Ryan McGee recently attempted to answer the question of why one conference is favored over another to see who exactly gets the best bowl chances. The Big 12 came out fourth after the SEC, Big Ten and ACC and it’s clearly a frustrating issue as he tells the tale of Nebraska who has succeeded more since leaving the conference:

The Big 12’s problem is the complete opposite of the ACC’s. Its bowl menu is more attractive at the top, but there aren’t enough of them. The Cotton is college football’s finest non-BCS stage and provides a stand-alone prime-time TV slot. The next game on the pecking order is the Alamo. It’s a solid game but can feel like a letdown for a team that was on the cusp of a conference title.

Remember that quote from the Nebraska official? He wasn’t wrong. In 2010, the Huskers won the Big 12 North, lost the conference title game by three points, and went back to the Holiday Bowl for the second consecutive year to play 6-6 Washington. This year, they won one fewer game, finished third in the Big Ten Legends division, and they’ll be playing on New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl vs. No. 9 South Carolina.

It’s something that Missouri and Texas A&M might soon prosper from themselves — even if the SEC is a bit tougher on them in some areas, the increased exposure and ties to the SEC could still benefit them more in the long run.