Bowl Restrictions in the Big 10 before the 1980s
by Mark Smith
(Omaha, NE, USA)
You might also realize that well into the 1970s the Big 10 did not allow more than one team to go to a bowl game each year. The only bowl a Big 10 team could go to was the Rose Bowl (if they were the conference champ). There were many years when 10-0-1, 10-1, or 9-2 type teams (normally Michigan, Ohio State, occasionally Michigan State) did not get to go to a 'lesser' bowl to inflate their conference's statistics. Just because Alabama has played in the most bowl games does not automatically make it the best college football program ever, and just because SEC teams often got to play what in essence was another 'home game' during bowl season thereby inflating their conference's statistics does not necessarily make it the best conference.
Figures lie, and liars figure.
That being said, I do feel that the SEC in the last 20 years has been the deepest conference from top-to-bottom....but if we're talking BOWL GAMES please check out where Big 10 teams today typically play their bowl games and who they typically play. You'll see an amazing 'road-team' trend develop for the Big 10. And over the last decade or so the Big 10 has more than held its own in these games IMO.
Big 10 #1 = Rose Bowl (mostly against USC...hmm)
Big 10 #2 = Capital One Bowl (often against FLA/UGA...hmm)
Big 10 #3 = Outback Bowl (often against FLA/UGA...hmm)
Big 10 #4 = Alamo Bowl (often against Texas/A&M/TX Tech...hmm)