A few years ago, ESPN sponsored something called the Bowl Challenge Cup to honor the conference with the best record in the bowl games.
Although there is no longer an official competition, it's still easy to figure out which of the 11 major conferences has the best bowl record each year.
Turns out, the Mountain West Conference is tops this year, despite Air Force's close loss to Cal last week. It marks the second time in the past six years, the MWC has finished first (in 2004, its 2-1 record was best).
The MWC finished with the best record at 4-1 mark, a percentage of .800. That blocked field goal in BYU's win over UCLA turned out to be the difference as the Pac-10 finished 4-2 but would have been first at 5-1 with that victory.
The SEC can finish second at 7-2 (.777) if LSU gets past Ohio State tonight. Other records of note are the Big 12 at 5-3, the Big East at 3-2, with the WAC (1-3) and ACC (2-6) bringing up the rear.
So what is the significance? Not a whole lot.
I understand other conferences have more difficult bowl opponents than the MWC. But until the football system is changed or the MWC is able to secure better bowl arrangements, the league can brag all it wants about have the best bowl record in the country.
IMMATURE FANS: I always thought Gordan Giricek seemed like a good guy. He's a good shooter, who could be a very good shooter when he was on. Despite his reputation as a poor defensive player, he wasn't much worse than the average NBA player. He showed a good sense of humor when being interviewed. I can't recall him bad-mouthing either the Jazz or the state of Utah. He seemed to try his best out on the floor.
So why did most of the Jazz fans boo him when he returned last week as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers?
I guess it's a matter of immature fans making more noise than the grown-up ones. It just doesn't make sense to boo a guy just because he's playing for another team. Perhaps some blamed him for the recent tiff with Jerry Sloan, but I have to think Sloan was at least partly at fault.
LOGJAM: With the addition of Kyle Korver, who should be getting some significant minutes, the Jazz suddenly have a logjam at the wing positions. With C.J. Miles playing better and holdovers Matt Harpring, Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer, it'll be hard finding minutes to keep everyone happy. And poor Morris Almond may never see the light of day.
It's just too bad one of them can't play point guard, where the Jazz really need improvement at the backup spot.
MWC FORECAST: After the opening day of the MWC basketball race, it looks like the league has five good teams and four not-so-good teams.
BYU and Utah are among the good teams along with UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State.
It's early but I think the Utes and Cougars should both challenge for the league title. New Mexico is much-improved and had a nice comeback double-overtime win at Wyoming Saturday, but UNLV and SDSU didn't show me much in close wins over Colorado State and TCU, respectively.
The guess from here is that the Cougars should go 13-3 and the Utes 11-5 in MWC play this year with New Mexico in between at 12-4, with UNLV and San Diego State just above .500.
The other four the three Front Range teams and TCU should all finish with losing records.
Check back with me in March.
THE WAC NETWORK: My son pointed this out to me the other night while watching The mtn. network on our Comcast cable. When he pressed the "info" button to see what program was playing, it said this San Diego State vs. TCU in WAC play.
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