Tuesday, January 12, 2010

College Football 2009: How the North Conquered the South Once Again

Written By BT
BleacherReport.com Senior College Football Writer / Featured Columnist


The War Between the States, also known as the Civil War or the War of Northern Aggression, has been over for 145 years.

Still, there are those in both geographic areas who continue to follow the adventures of only schools in a specific state, conference, or region.

Fans do take issue with teams across the state or throughout conference affiliation, but any criticism of league or region brethren is often met with resistance.

Less than two weeks ago a friendly discussion erupted among several Bleacher Report writers concerning the projected outcome of the Miami-Wisconsin bowl game.

Ohio State and Penn State fans rose to champion the Badger cause and a long time Florida State supporter rose in defense of the Hurricanes.

The conversation ended with each side claiming the other doesn't understand the skill and coaching ability available in the region they live in.

Fascinating to read, but what causes this sudden "Mother Hen" feeling during the bowl season? During the year no Buckeye or Nittany Lion fan would bother to speak on behalf of the Badgers, and no Seminole fan would ever rise up in defense of Miami.

Could it be that all too often the Bowls pit the "North" versus the "South"? Thus generating a territorial conflict among supposedly separate allegiances?

Perhaps that is the intent of the match-makers when they schedule so many intersectional battles with the conference tie-ins to a specific bowl game.

Southern football fans are an interesting lot. Many feel it is their duty to support the teams of their region against opponents from other areas.

For those unfamiliar with the terms being used, let's explain that "the South" is the 11 states of the old Confederacy stretching from Texas to Virginia.

In addition, since Maryland and Kentucky are below the Mason-Dixon line, they account for the remainder of the region.

The South is a multi-BCS conference region with a dozen teams from the SEC, 11 of the 12 in the ACC, four of the Big 12, and two from the Big East in the form of USF and Louisville.

Those are 29 BCS programs to choose from, not to mention the two in the BCS Title Game.

Add to this several teams from the Sun Belt, Conference USA, Mountain West(TCU), and WAC (Louisiana Tech), and the Southland is well represented in the pigskin market.

It seems Southerners do not consider Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or Tulsa as "northern". In fact, no one seems to know what to call them.

So, how well did this avalanche of southern schools perform in the 34 bowls?

In six bowls both teams were from the south so they do not factor in this equation. These clashes include the BCS Title Game along with the Independence Bowl, Music City Bowl, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Liberty Bowl, and the New Orleans Bowl.

The Cotton Bowl found Ole Miss beating Oklahoma State, the Sun Bowl provided the opportunity for Oklahoma to defeat Stanford. As stated earlier, there is really no logical way to approach the Oklahoma teams, so let us put them aside for the time being.

In all, 15 Bowl games matched southern teams directly against those from outside the South. The following is a specific listing of those bowl games, along with the outcome.


Bowls Won by the South

Gator—Florida State over West Virginia

Alamo —Texas Tech over Michigan State

Sugar—Florida over Cincinnati

Outback—Auburn over Northwestern

Hawaii—Southern Methodist over Nevada

International—South Florida over Northern Illinois


Bowls Won by the North

Papa John—Connecticut over South Carolina

Capital—Penn State over LSU

Champ—Wisconsin over Miami

Orange—Iowa over Georgia Tech

Fiesta—Boise State over Texas Christian

Meineke—Pittsburgh over NC

St. Petersburg—Rutgers over Central Florida

Armed Forces—The Air Force Academy over Houston

GMAC—Central Michigan over Troy


That is a 9-6 win for the North over the South.

A case could be made for Ole Miss in some corners but, that would certainly require dismissing the Oklahoma win.

The best the South can come out of this scenario is a wash for the Cotton and a win in the Sun or eliminate Oklahoma and count Ole Miss as a win.

Nine to six or nine to seven, the South loses again.

You don't believe we had the wrong teams in the BCS Title Game, do you?

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