Top College Football Bowl Conference

2012-13 Conference Bowl Records:

Conference: W-L Pct.

Western Athletic: 2-0 1.000
Conference USA: 4-1 .800
Big East: 3-1 .750
Southeastern: 6-3 .667
Atlantic Coast: 4-2 .667
Pac-12: 4-4 .500
Independents: 1-1 .500
Big 12: 4-5 .444
Sun Belt: 1-2 .333
Big Ten: 2-5 .286
Mid-American: 2-5 .286
Mountain West: 1-4 .200

Here's the results from the 2011 - 2012 SEC Football Bowl Games.

Final 2011 - 2012 Bowl Results By Conference:

    Big 12: 6-2
    SEC: 6-3
    Big East: 3-2
    Big Ten: 4-6
    Pac-12: 2-5
    ACC: 2-6
    C-USA: 4-1
    MAC: 4-1
    Mountain West: 2-3
    Sun Belt: 1-2
    WAC: 0-3

Auburn Wins 5th Straight National Championship for the SEC. Here's our Review of the 2010 - 2011 Bowl Season.

Final 2010-2011 Conference Bowl Records:

   Big East: 4-2
    SEC: 5-4 *
    Pac-10: 2-2
    ACC: 4-5
    Big 12: 3-5
    Big Ten: 2-5 *
    Mountain West: 4-1 -- wow, once again, making a statement
    Sun Belt: 2-1
    WAC: 2-2
    C-USA: 2-4

    *Ohio State vacated its victory over Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

Now, before anyone starts squawking about the SEC's sort of average performance in bowl games this year, please know that SEC teams face teams that, on average, are seeded 2 places higher in their conferences, then the SEC team. For instance, the ACC's North Carolina and Florida State beat the SEC's Tennessee and South Carolina in the Music City and Chick-fil-A Bowls this year. However, consider that Tennessee was the #9 team from the SEC facing UNC, #6 from the ACC. And, South Carolina was SEC #5 vs Fl. State -- ACC #2 (thanks for the numbers fix Mike). This is commonly what the SEC is up against. Not complaining; just stating the facts for the record.

2010 - 2011 Bowl Bids by Conference:

   SEC: 10 [tied record (set by ACC in 2009; SEC in 2010) for most bowl bids by a conference in a single season.]
   ACC: 9
    Big Ten: 8
    Big 12: 8
    Big East: 6
    C-USA: 6
    Mountain West: 5
    Pac-10: 4
    WAC: 4
    MAC: 4
    Sun Belt: 3

Only one bowl left; the big one. Here's our Auburn vs Oregon National Championship Game Preview and Review.

Most readers of agree that college football is the greatest sport in the world.

And the culmination of the college football season is the bowl season. The bowl season is the time when most major college football teams (with winning records) get to play in bowl games.

The better a team does during the season; the better their bowl (generally).

The bowl games are the highlight of the year for players, fans, and coaches alike. If you are lucky, hopefully you get to travel to a warm, sunny place, in late December or early January, to play the game.

These games are big pay days for the teams that go (and the athletic departments and conferences they represent).

Given the importance of bowl games, a logical question is - which conference has the most all-time college football bowl victories?

Good question. And, we have the answer.

You will probably not be surprised to find that - the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has the top college football bowl record.

So, here is the all-time bowl game record (current through 2010-2011 bowl season) of the major college football conferences (based on historical conference affiliation). The first number is total bowl games. The second is wins; third is losses; fourth is ties; fifth is bowl game win percentage.

Bowls Wins Losses Ties Win %
SEC 367 201 157 9 .560
Big Ten 223 103 119 1 .464
Pac-10 204 107 95 2 .529
ACC 182 88 92 2 .489
Big 12 108 52 56 0 .481
Big East 88 50 38 0 .568
WAC 109 46 62 1 .427
Big 8 127 63 63 1 .500
Southwest 151 63 80 8 .444

As you can see from the chart, the SEC basically dominates the field as the #1 all-time top bowl conference. The Southeastern Conference has more bowl wins and a higher winning percentage than anyone else (other than virtual tie with Big East). And, it really isn't even close.

To get the above numbers, we used a great calculator at Sports Link Network. It includes the bowl records of conferences by historical conference membership. So, it only counts a bowl result if the team was in the conference at the time of the bowl game.

Seems to make sense. But, surprisingly, this stat is seldom used. The more common stat (you'll get from the NCAA) is based on current conference affiliation. So, for instance, the ACC would get credit for all of Miami and Va. Tech's bowl wins -- even when they were in the Big East. Crazy.

Even if you do it that way, the SEC still comes out on top. Just not by quite as much.

Here's the chart for Top College Football Bowl Conference based on current conference affiliation (through 2010-2011 season).

Bowls Wins Losses Ties Win %
SEC 375 194 169 12 .533
Pac-10 215 112 100 3 .528
Big Ten 244 117 124 3 .486
ACC 292 147 138 5 .512
Big 12 326 156 166 4 .485
Big East 114 56 56 2 .500
WAC 71 36 33 2 .521

You can see that when we look at "current conference affiliation" the ACC and Pac-10 do better. The ACC, for instance, picks up the great Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech numbers -- which the Big East loses (thus Big East numbers go down). But, in any event, no one's win percentage in all-time bowl games exceeds the SEC and no one comes close in number of bowl victories. So, the SEC is still the #1 college bowl conference -- no matter how you look at it.

NUMEROUS Big Ten fans have posted on this site about the fact that apparently the Big Ten only allowed one team to play in a bowl game up until 1976. The Big Ten Champ played in the Rose Bowl; everyone else went home. So, obviously, this would severely restrict the number of Big Ten teams that went to bowl games during those years. Of course there were far fewer bowls back then; still, it's a valid point worth mentioning.

But, however you slice it -- them's the numbers and the SEC is still #1!

How about all-time head to head SEC vs Other Conferences in bowl games?

Here you go (historical affiliation; current through 2009 bowl season):

SEC Wins vs. SEC Losses vs. Ties SEC Win %
ACC 33 15 0 .688
Big Ten 35 22 0 .614
Big 12 18 9 0 .667
Southwest 32 26 3 .549
Pac-10 7 7 1 .500
Big East 7 7 0 .500
Big 8 13 19 1 .409
WAC 5 3 0 .625

So, head-to-head, all-time Conference vs Conference CFB bowl games -- the SEC beats every conference but three. And, two of those (Pac-10 and Big East) the SEC Ties. The only conference the SEC has lost more bowl games than one against is the Big-8 which doesn't exist any more.

How about All-Time SEC vs Other Conferences in bowl match-ups -- using current conference affiliation? Here you go:

SEC Wins vs. SEC Losses vs. Ties SEC Win %
ACC 33 15 0 .688
Big Ten 35 22 0 .614
Big 12 18 9 0 .667
Southwest 32 26 3 .549
Pac-10 7 7 1 .500
Big East 7 7 0 .500
Big 8 13 19 1 .409
WAC 5 3 0 .625

So, head-to-head, all-time Conference vs Conference CFB bowl games -- the SEC beats every conference but three. And, two of those (Pac-10 and Big East) the SEC Ties. The only conference the SEC has lost more bowl games than one against is the Big-8 which doesn't exist any more.

How about All-Time SEC vs Other Conferences in bowl match-ups -- using current conference affiliation? Here you go:

SEC Wins vs. SEC Losses vs. Ties SEC Win %
ACC 44 28 2 .608
Big Ten 39 27 0 .591
Big 12 44 48 3 .479
Pac-10 9 8 2 .526
Big East 6 12 1 .342
WAC 1 0 0 1.000

Well, SEC haters -- you finally have some stats to back you up. Based on current conference affiliation, the Big 12 and Big East both beat the SEC in all-time head to head bowl game match-ups.

But, all in all, when looking at all the stats on this page (and we cover them all) -- we surely have settled that the SEC is clearly the top college football bowl conference. Right?

OK, so how did the conferences compare in last year's bowl season? 10 of the 12 teams in the SEC received bowl bids in the 2009 - 2010 Bowl Season. That tied the record set by the ACC last year.

The SEC racked up it's 4th straight BCS Championship with With Alabama's victory over Texas in the 2010 BCS Championship Game. Combine that with it's 6-4 bowl record and there's no doubt that the SEC remains the top college football bowl conference.

Our all-time bowl records (as well as specific results from the past 3 years) are below. You'll see over that time span, the SEC is tops with a 19-8 bowl record. The Pac-10 is second at 11-7. First, here's the comparison of the conferences this last bowl season:

Final 2009-2010 Conference Bowl Record:

    Mountain West: 4-1
    Big East: 4-2
    SEC: 6-4
    Big Ten: 4-3
    Big 12: 4-4
    ACC: 3-4
    Pac-10: 2-5
    Sun Belt: 1-1
    C-USA: 2-4
    WAC: 2-2

You can see, the Mountain West has made a statement again. The BCS is breathing a sigh of relief though since their best team (TCU) lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State.

Yes, the SEC is not at the top of the list. But, there are very good reasons for that. These posts explain it better than I could: Stats, Facts and Rubbish and Only Count January Bowl Games.

But what about the college football conference bowl record for the prior 2008 - 2009 bowl season? Here it is:

  1. Pac-10: 5-0
  2. SEC: 6-2
  3. Big 12: 4-3
  4. Big East: 4-2
  5. ACC: 4-6
  6. Big Ten: 1-6
  7. WAC: 1-4
  8. Mountain West: 3-2
  9. Sun Belt: 1-1

Obviously the Pac-10's performance (on the upside) is notable; as is the Big Ten's (on the downside -- again); and the ACC's (moved the ACC all-time bowl record from above .500 to below). And, I note the SEC did just fine (including Florida winning it all -- 3rd straight BCS Championship for the SEC) -- despite all the talk about it being a down year for the SEC.

Ok, How bout the year before that, the (2007-2008) bowl season?

Here you go:

  1. SEC: 7-2
  2. Pac-10: 4-2
  3. Big 12: 5-3
  4. Big East: 3-2
  5. Big Ten: 3-5
  6. ACC: 2-6
  7. WAC: 1-3
  8. *Mountain West: 4-1 (great job by the MWC, but they simply didn't play in any major bowls or face the tough competition the other conferences faced).
  9. Sun Belt: 1-0 (Florida Atlantic won the New Orleans Bowl against Memphis)

You can see that the SEC finished the 2007-2008 Bowl Season as the top college football bowl conference. It set an all-time record with 7 bowl victories in one season.

The SEC also further established itself as the Top All-Time NCAA College Football National Championship Conference.

To compare the head to head records (in all games) of the SEC vs the major college football conferences (and the Ivy League), check out:

Here's an interesting list of all the bowl games that have had national champs play in them over the years. Of course, since 1999, it's always been the BCS Championship Game. But, before that it could have been Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange, Fiesta -- even one out of the Holiday Bowl (BYU) and Florida Citrus (Georgia Tech). Check it out at National Championship Bowls History.

Read our 2012 SEC Football Preview and NCAA College Football 2012 Preview.

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