For decades, Big Ten powerhouses were shut out of the postseason by the league's strict prohibition against such reward for all but the conference champion. Well screeeeewww that! In the 21st Century, everyone gets rewards!
So much so, in fact, it can be difficult to determine just who is and is not going bowling these days. Below is the detailed resume of a Bowl Subdivision program which may or may not have accepted a gracious invitation to a postseason contest. Your challenge, knowledgable reader, is to put yourself to the test: can you tell whether or not the program described below is scheduled for a bowl game, without looking? Give it your best shot, then click `Read More' to reveal the secret identity of today's contestant. Good luck!
¡Hola, lectores queridos! I entered the season off my fifth consecutive winning campaign, but missed a bowl in 2005 for the first time since 2001 (another winning year). My 2006 season began unfortunately, with a two score-loss to a team from the Championship Subdivision, but I quickly rebounded to beat my cross-state rival by a touchdown in the second week of the season. Over the course of the season, I was in every game, and in fact was only beaten by two scores again twice, both against teams that finished well over .500. But teams also played me close: until I walloped my conference's last-place team in the season finale, I only had one win larger than six points. Almost every game was down to the wire!
My leading rusher gained more than 1,100 yards on the season despite just three 100-yard games and finished just shy of five yards per carry, but without question my best games came when a redshirt freshman quarterback entered the lineup midway through the season and proved himself as a double threat until he was injured after just a few games. He turned a run-oriented offense into a more wide-open passing attack, and I finished with more than 300 yards through the air five times, something I didn't come close to doing in 2005, and more than 400 twice.
About half the teams I played had winning records, and against them I struggled, honestly - just one win, and a couple real stinker games offensively. But I had a couple bad games on offense against teams that didn't have such good records, too, and a couple big games against teams with better marks, so it was sort of hit-or-miss. On defense, I gave up more than 600 yards in one game, more than 500 in another, and more than 400 in the last game of the season, but otherwise did OK. One of the two teams with the best record on my schedule finished with 192 yards (the other big winner was the team with 653, so, you know). I didn't finish first in my conference in any statistical category, but didn't finish last, either. I was in the top half of the league in sacks and turnover margin, which probably aren't unrelated.
The largest crowd I played in front of was more than 60,000, but my home attendance declined more than 10 percent over the course of the season, which is not as bad as it sounds, because it wasn't very high to begin with. Though the team is in a general downward trend since the first couple years of his arrival, my coach's seat is probably not very hot (unless you are a chica caliente or non-traditional male, in which case it could be "sizzlin'" in a sense unrelated to job security. I wouldn't really know, of course. Not that there's anything wrong with that).
Am I Conference Champion?: No
Opponents' Winning Percentage (I-A only): 0.477
Winning % vs. Other Bowl-Eligible Teams: 0.200
Winning % vs. BCS Conference Teams: 0.000
Longest Winning Streak: Three games (10/14-10/28)
Longest Losing Streak: Two games (9/30-10/7 and 11/11-11/18)
Average Margin of Victory: - 1.66
Average Yardage Differential: - 49.85
Best Statistical Rank: T-27th (Turnover Margin - + .5/game
Worst Statistical Rank: 113th (Sacks Allowed - 3.5/game)
Total Offense: 89th (311.92)
Total Defense: 84th (361.75)
AM I A BOWL TEAM?
THAT IS AFFIRMATIVE!
If you said the University of New Mexico Lobos are headed for complimentary tote bags, give yourself tres aclamaciones and break out the tequila! The Lobos will face San Jose State in - coincidencia? - the inaugural New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque on Dec. 23.
How did you do?