The SEC and the Pac-10
Much maligned throughout the regular season as experiencing down years , the SEC and Pac-10 reasserted themselves as the nation's two premier conferences during the bowls. The SEC went 6-2 and its champion, the Florida Gators, brought home the national title. The Pac-10 went a perfect 5-0. Most pundits viewed these two conferences as top heavy, saying that only Florida and Alabama in the SEC and USC in the Pac-10 deserved credit for being good teams. However, as in previous years, the outcomes in the bowl games proved that these conferences aren't only the homes of powerhouses; they're very deep, too.
The Big 12
Throughout the regular season, most pundits called the Big 12 the nation's best conference. However, while they didn't have a terrible bowl outing at 4-3, they didn't exactly confirm their lofty reputation. The losses, moreover, all came in games against SEC and Pac-10 teams--Florida beat Oklahoma in the Championship Game, Ole Miss beat heavily favored Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, and Oregon beat Oklahoma State in an exciting Holiday Bowl. These results lend credence to the idea that the SEC and Pac-10 are still better than the Big 12.
I will say that I'll take Texas or Oklahoma in the championship game instead of Ohio State any day of the week. This year's game was much more entertaining than the beat downs we've had to endure the previous two years.
The Big 10 and the MAC
Midwestern football did nothing to redeem itself this bowl season, as the Big 10 went 1-6 and the MAC went 0-5. The lone win there came in the Outback Bowl, where Iowa trounced my beloved Gamecocks. Ohio State also deserves credit for making the Fiesta Bowl a game before falling late.
You can put me in the camp that believes that the MWC deserves consideration for inclusion in the BCS over the Big 10. I'll grant that Ohio State and Penn State are powerhouses and that Iowa has a pretty consistent program. Michigan will also probably be back before long. However, besides these teams the conference is very weak. The MWC is basically the Big 10's equal, with its share of powerhouse teams (Utah, TCU, BYU) and a bunch of weaker teams. The BCS, of course, will never force out the Big 10; the Big 10 schools are among the largest, most important, and richest in the nation, so the conference has a lot of pull. In football, though, it's fallen, at best, to the equal of the MWC.
Check out more info on the bowls at the Race to the BCS portal.