Now that the bowl season (except for the national championship) has come to a close, it’s time to grade the performance of each conference.

Besides the Power 5 conferences, we decided to also take a look at the American Athletic Conference since it had teams in nearly one-fifth of the bowl games played.


Conference’s bowl season record: 2-6

Getting eight teams into the postseason is terrific feat for the AAC, but the conference did not have the best showing. Houston and Navy — probably the AAC’s best two teams all season long — brought home the conference’s only bowl wins in impressive fashion.

Both wins came against the ACC. The Cougars whipped Florida State 38-24 in the Peach Bowl and Navy blew out Pittsburgh 44-28 in the Military Bowl.


Conference’s bowl season record: 4-5

The two losses to the AAC weren’t pretty, but the ACC won some big games. Clemson is in the National Championship Game. The Tigers took care of business against Oklahoma and will play Alabama in the National Championship Game.

Duke and Virginia Tech played in two of bowl season’s most thrilling games, coming away with 3-point victories against Indiana and Tulsa, respectively. The Hokies’ victory allowed Frank Beamer to finish his coaching career with a victory.

Big 12: B

Conference’s bowl season record: 3-4

The Big 12 had a losing record, but it did have some impressive victories. Despite numerous key injuries, including at quarterback, Baylor beat North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl 49-38. West Virginia won a 43-42 thriller against Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl.

But TCU stole the show for the Big 12. The Horned Frogs were making headlines before the game because star QB Trevone Boykin was arrested and suspended for the Alamo Bowl. TCU fell behind Oregon 31-0 then took advantage of an injury to Oregon QB Vernon Adams and completed the largest comeback in the school’s history, defeating the Ducks 47-41 in triple overtime.

Big Ten: B –

Conference’s bowl season record: 5-5

The Big Ten is one of three conferences to have 10 teams go bowling this year, but it was the only one of the three not to finish above .500.

Michigan and Ohio State looked great in their blowout wins over Florida and Notre Dame, respectively, but the 38-0 beatdown that Michigan State took from Alabama tarnished those victories. Nebraska’s win over UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl was one of the biggest upsets of bowl season. But overall, the Big Ten turned in a lackluster performance.

Pac-12: B+

Conference’s bowl season record: 6-4

Six bowl wins is an impressive accomplishment for any conference, but only one of the Pac-12’s wins came in a New Year’s Six game.

In that game, Stanford showed it may have belonged in the College Football Playoff by beating Iowa 45-16 in the Rose Bowl. But perennial conference powerhouses Oregon and Southern Cal dropped their games, preventing the Pac-12 from having a great postseason.


Conference’s bowl season record: 8-2

The SEC set a conference record with eight bowl wins and Alabama advanced through the College Football Playoff into the National Championship Game for the first time.

Texas A&M and Florida were two reeling teams that limped down the stretch, so their losses weren’t surprising — both were underdogs — and the eight games that the SEC won in the favorite role was no shock, either. But winning seven games by double-digits was an impressive showing.