Stewart Mandel, SI.com:
"A major reshuffling of several conferences' bowl arrangements beginning with the 2010 season could land the Big Ten a third New Year's Day bowl slot and result in new homes for the Pac-10 and Big East's No. 2 teams ...
"A major reshuffling of several conferences' bowl arrangements beginning with the 2010 season could land the Big Ten a third New Year's Day bowl slot and result in new homes for the Pac-10 and Big East's No. 2 teams.
"With the moves by the Alamo and Insight bowls, the San Diego game (Holiday Bowl) is now expected to match Pac-10 No. 3 vs. Big 12 No. 5, a significant downgrade from its previous standing."
The Upset sees opportunity a plenty for the Mountain West and WAC, but also sees how this major shuffle could leave fans still frustrated with their conference's bowl affiliations.
Many MWC and WAC fans have clamored to see their conference champion be tied in to a more intriguing, reputable, and lucrative bowl game. The opportunity seems to be arising, and The Upset would hope that both conference commissioners are alert. Some fans and media have discussed the possibility of even pairing the MWC and WAC champions in a bowl game if other bowls and conference commissioners will not respect the MWC and WAC enough to invite them to play in a bowl featuring someone better than a #4 or #5 from a BCS conference. Because of last year's unique circumstances of Utah going to the Sugar Bowl, and Boise State and TCU being ranked in the Top 11 (circumstances that we hope aren't so unique in years to come), we were able to see bowl tie-ins disregarded, and college football benefited greatly, as the Poinsettia Bowl was one of the best of the bowl season.
WAC fans should be the most concerned, as for the coming season, the WAC champion is set to face the #5 team from the MWC in the Humanitarian Bowl, which is a complete slap in the face to the WAC champion, but may very well reflect the conference's standing on the college football stage. To go from ACC #4/5 to MWC #5 is definitely a downgrade. If not for the exception made last year, Boise State would have faced Colorado State in the Humanitarian.
The Upset would like to see the powers from the 'mid-major' west return to be featured in the Holiday Bowl. A MWC and WAC champion matchup would be fantastic, but may not serve the interests of either league in proving they belong with the big boys.
Perhaps the MWC has the most clout here, and could convince the Holiday Bowl to take the MWC champion to play the Pac-10 #3 team. Such a matchup would have seen in 2006, for instance, a matchup of BYU vs. a 9-4 Oregon State, a team that had won 7 of its last 8 games heading into its bowl. Instead, BYU played a 7-5 Oregon team that entered the bowl game on a 3-game losing streak, and the Cougars humiliated Oregon in every facet of the game.
While this is purely speculation, this does show how such a bowl arrangement would clearly benefit either conference with a more premier matchup and a bigger payoff.