So, which league will have bragging rights when bowl season is over? Sporting News breaks down the BCS conferences, ranked in order of their regular-season showing. (ed. note: This story was written before any of the bowl games were played. Results of completed games are shown next to the appropriate teams.)
5-year bowl record: 25-13 overall, 6-2 BCS
Projected 2009 bowl record: 8-2
ALABAMA over Texas (BCS championship)
FLORIDA over Cincinnati (Sugar)
LSU over Penn State (Capital One)
Northwestern over AUBURN (Outback)
OLE MISS over Oklahoma State (Cotton)
Virginia Tech over TENNESSEE (Chick-fil-A)
GEORGIA over Texas A&M (Independence)
ARKANSAS over East Carolina (Liberty)
KENTUCKY over Clemson (Music City)
SOUTH CAROLINA over Connecticut (Papajohns.com)
Spotlight game: Kentucky has its best defense under coach Rich Brooks and will control the Clemson running game (see: C.J. Spiller) to force erratic QB Kyle Parker to win the game.
Here comes trouble: How about Auburn facing this combination? Northwestern’s defense forced 26 turnovers, and its offense has a fifth-year senior quarterback (Mike Kafka) who runs the spread better than anyone in the Big Ten.
The last word: The nation’s best conference could win all 10 bowls and will only get better next season. Deep, young rosters are the norm for the league’s 10 bowl teams, and the conference could return nine starting quarterbacks.