The results are in, and 70% voted "No," BYU could not have done better than the Armed Forces Bowl in 2011. The other 30% voted "Yes."
The bowls games last year that had to find teams outside the conferences that they had contractual agreements with were: New Mexico Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, Vegas Bowl, Little Caesars, and Kraft Fight Hunger. I think the Armed Forces Bowl is on par with all of these. The fact is, that when conferences don't fill all of their bowl contracts, it is the worst bowls that go unfilled.
The X factor for the 2011 bowls is the Big XII. Reduced down to 10 teams, will they beable to fill all 8 of its bowl openings? The TicketCity Bowl was last in the Big XII pecking order in 2010, which would be the first bowl to go without a team. Last year, it pitted a Big Ten team with the Big XII representative, it was played on January 1 in Dallas, Texas, and the payout was $1.2 million per team.
Same location as the Armed Forces Bowl. The prestige of a January 1 bowl date. A more respected opponents, and 50% more cash. The TicketCity Bowl is easily better, but would the TicketCity bowl want BYU? The Pac-12 now has two more teams. Would the TicketCity Bowl look there first?
Without any certainty, I think BYU did the right thing to lock up a bowl agreement for 2011. Bigger bowl agreements will come in 2014 and beyond if BYU does well these next three years.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Did Jadon Wagner make a good decision to skip his senior year and go to the CFL?"
The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org