UNLV's Conference Posts Top Bowl Win Percentage Among FBS Subdivision Conferences
Jan. 15, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the second time in four years, UNLV's league, 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 the 2007-08 Bowl Challenge Cup after sending a league-record 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 Football Bowl Subdivision during the college bowl season. In order to qualify to win the trophy, a conference has to have the highest winning percentage with a minimum of three teams from that conference. The Mountain West earned its first Bowl Challenge Cup after registering a 2-1 record in bowl competition during the 2004 season and is the second conference (ACC) to win the trophy twice since the award's inception in 2002-03.
Utah (9-4, 5-3) opened the 2007 MWC bowl season with a 35-32 victory over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 20, extending the Utes' win streak in bowl competition to seven games, which is currently the second-longest streak in the nation.
New Mexico (9-4, 5-3) was the second MWC team to claim a bowl victory with a 23-0 shutout of Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 22. It was the first bowl win for the Lobos in 46 years, while also marking the first time Nevada had been shut out since Sept. 27, 1980 (10-0 at Weber State). The Wolf Pack hadn't been blanked in a span of 329 games, which prior to the bowl game was the longest current streak in the NCAA and the second longest all-time in college football.
BYU (11-2, 8-0) followed up later that day with the league's third bowl triumph, holding on for a 17-16 decision over UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl to collect its 10th consecutive win overall, currently the longest active win streak in the country. The Cougars finished the year with an 11-2 overall record and ranked 14th in both the Associate Press and USA Today Coaches polls.
TCU (8-5, 4-4) helped set a Texas Bowl attendance record en route to its 20-13 win over Houston on Dec. 28. The Horned Frogs have won three consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1935-38.
Air Force (9-4, 6-2) also had a hand in setting a new attendance record at the Armed Forces Bowl, but was unable to come away with the victory, dropping a tough 42-36 decision to California on New Year's Eve day. In his first year as head coach, Troy Calhoun led the Falcons to their first bowl appearance since 2002.
Over the past three seasons, the MWC owns the best winning percentage in bowl games among the 11 conference with a 9-4 mark (.692). The SEC is second at 15-8 (.652), followed by the Big East at 9-5 (.642). The MWC also is 6-2 against BCS automatic-qualifying conferences in bowl games since 2004.
2007 Conference Bowl Records, Winning Percentage
CONFERENCE RECORD PCT. Mountain West 4-1 .800 Southeastern 7-2 .777 Pacific-10 4-2 .667 Big 12 5-3 .625 Big East 3-2 .600 Big Ten 3-5 .375 Conference USA 2-4 .333 Atlantic Coast 2-6 .250 Western Athletic 1-3 .250 Mid-American 0-3 .000
ESPN Bowl Challenge Cup Previous Winners
YEAR CONFERENCE W-L PCT. 2007-08 Mountain West 4-1 .800 2006-07 Big East 5-0 1.000 2005-06 Atlantic Coast 5-3 .625 Big 12 5-3 .625 2004-05 Mountain West 2-1 .667 2003-04 Atlantic Coast 5-1 .833 2002-03 Big Ten 5-2 .714