Mountain West Conference Earns Second Consecutive and Fourth Overall ESPN Bowl Challenge Cup
MWC boasts highest bowl win percentage among FBS conferences for second straight year
Jan. 8, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -For the fourth time in seven years, the Mountain West Conference posted the best win percentage among the 11 conferences that make up the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Mountain West claimed this year's Bowl Challenge Cup after sending five teams into postseason action and finishing with a 4-1 (.800) mark. The Bowl Challenge Cup was created by ESPN in 2002 as a competition among the conferences in the FBS during the college bowl season. In order to win the trophy, a conference must have the highest win percentage with a minimum of three teams participating in the postseason.
The Mountain West earned its first Bowl Challenge Cup after registering a 2-1 record in bowl competition during the 2004-05 season. The MWC, which also won the Cup in 2007-08 and in 2009-10 with identical 4-1 marks, is the only conference to win the trophy in consecutive postseasons. It is also the only league to capture the trophy more than twice since the award's inception.
BYU (7-6 Overall, 5-3 MWC) opened the 2010 MWC bowl season with a 52-24 victory vs. UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 18. It was the Cougars' second straight bowl victory and fourth in the last five years. BYU started the 2010 season at 1-4, but won six of the last eight games to post its fifth straight winning record.
Utah (10-3 Overall, 7-1 MWC), who made its eighth straight bowl trip, faced No. 9 Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Dec. 22. The Utes, who made their first appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl since 2001, had their nation's longest active bowl win streak snapped at nine games after falling to the Broncos, 26-3. Utah finished ranked 19th in the final BCS standings, and are also No. 19 in the latest USA Today/Coaches' poll. The Utes are 20th in the current Associated Press rankings.
San Diego State (9-4 Overall, 5-3 MWC) captured its first bowl win since 1969 after handing Navy a 35-14 defeat in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23. The Aztecs finished the year with a 9-4 overall record, posting the most wins by the program since the 1977 squad went 10-1. SDSU also posted its first winning season in 12 years, since the 1998 squad went 7-5.
Air Force (9-4 Overall, 5-3 MWC) defeated Georgia Tech, 14-7, in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl on Dec. 27. The Falcons have won back-to-back bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 Liberty Bowls. Air Force's trip to Shreveport, La. marks the academy's fourth straight bowl appearance under Troy Calhoun, who is the first head coach in AFA history to take the Falcons to the postseason in each of his first four years.
TCU (13-0 Overall, 8-0 MWC) made its sixth consecutive bowl trip, and second straight BCS appearance, when it played in the 2011 Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO on Jan. 1. The Horned Frogs became the first non-BCS school to play in and win the Rose Bowl with a 21-19 victory over No. 4 Wisconsin. TCU finished its 2010 campaign with a 13-0 record for its second undefeated season in program history. The Frogs' No. 3 ranking in the BCS standings is the highest by a non-BCS team in the final rankings. TCU is currently ranked third by both the USA Today/Coaches' and AP polls.
Since the league's inception in 1999, the Mountain West Conference has earned 46 bowl bids and holds a 29-17 all-time record in those games, including an 11-3 mark against BCS automatic-qualifying conferences since 2004. The MWC holds an overall record of 13-7 against opponents from BCS AQ leagues in bowl games, including wins over the Pac-10 (six), SEC (two), ACC (two), Big Ten (one), Big 12 (one) and Big East (one).
Over the past seven seasons (including 2010), the MWC owns the best win percentage in bowl games among the 11 conferences with a 22-9 mark (.710). The SEC is second with a 36-19 (.655) record, followed by the Big East at 21-14 (.600) and the Pac-10 at 20-15 (.571).
With its 4-1 mark in 2010, the Mountain West secured its fifth straight winning bowl record. The MWC is one of three conferences that have posted a winning bowl record each of the last four years (Big East and SEC). The Big East finished the postseason with a 4-2 mark, while the SEC went 5-5 in 2010-11 bowl games.
Below is a list of 2010 bowl records by conference: