The Sugar Bowl Travesty

The BCS selectors that put Virginia Tech and Michigan into the Sugar Bowl should be ashamed. Despite both of those teams being lower that Boise State and Kansas State in all the human rankings and all the computer rankings, the Hokies and Wolverines were granted access to the BCS bowl instead. VT and Michigan got in because they are more popular than Boise State and Kansas State, not because they had better football seasons that warranted their entry into the prestigious and lucrative bowl. That’s a complete and utter embarrassment, yet no one seems to be paying it any mind.

I don’t care that this is not a new occurrence. Virginia Tech people will harp on the fact that they were wrongfully snubbed from a BCS bowl back in 2001 when they were chosen over by a lower ranked team who was more popular. But just because this isn’t the first time that greed has trumped the sport of football itself doesn’t make it any less unfair this time around, nor does the fact that the Hokies were excluded a decade ago vindicate their criminal inclusion into one of the premiere bowls this season.

This isn’t some elementary school election where you just vote for the most popular kids in school. I’m sure the Sugar Bowl would love to have teams that travel well and will draw big TV ratings, but that sort of thing can’t be a determining factor for a sport that preaches the mantra, “every game matters.” Do you think the MLB and FOX wanted the Rays in the postseason this past October over the more popular Red Sox? Of course not, but Boston collapsed late as Tampa Bay surged and surpassed them so that was that. The play on the field determined the outcome, not the fact that the Rays don’t sell as many tickets in a three-game series as the Red Sox do in a single game or that there isn’t a strong enough Tampa contingent to get good television ratings.

On the field, it’s no contest that Boise State and Kansas State were the two teams that earned the trip to New Orleans. The Wildcats, ranked eighth in the final BCS standings, endured a grueling Big 12 season (thought to be the best conference this year, no worse than second best to the SEC) and finished the year 10-2 with wins over Baylor (12th in the final BCS) and Texas (24th in the final BCS).

Meanwhile, the Broncos, who finished seventh in the final BCS standings, went 11-1 after the regular season came to a close and notched a road win over Georgia (16th in the final BCS) to start the year to get themselves a strong out-of-conference victory.

In comparison, Virginia Tech, who closed the season 11th in the BCS standings, got the advantage of running through a weak ACC conference and defeated zero teams that finished ranked in the BCS final top-25. The best opponent Frank Beamer’s Hokies squared off against this year was Clemson (ACC Champions and 15th in the BCS final standings), who Virginia Tech played twice (once at home and once at a neutral site in the ACC Championship game). The Tigers won both of those meetings over VT in blowout fashion, with the aggregate score of the two games: 61-13 Clemson.

Michigan (13th in the final BCS) was as equally as undeserving as Virginia Tech. Like the Hokies, the Wolverines failed to win their conference, however, Michigan failed to even make it to their conference championship game. Bradie Hoke’s team notched their best win against Nebraska (20th in final BCS), and though they came from a respected conference they were fortunate to avoid Wisconsin (10th in final BCS) and Penn State (22nd in final BCS) with the way this year’s season broke.

The BCS system is far from perfect and the vast majority of Americans would rather see a playoff, but since we are not granted that pleasure then we have to make due with the system in place. This system is supposed to merge the subjective of what sports writers and coaches (who are meant to serve as expert witnesses with great knowledge of the sport) see with their own eyes and combine that with the objective of what the computers see through the numbers as how the season bore out. That balance is supposed to find the best teams, and while there are variations in some circumstances, there is no deviation from in any of the ranks that Boise State and Kansas State were superior college football teams in the 2011 season to Virginia Tech and Michigan.

Money drives the bus in all big business and college athletics, at least men’s basketball and football, is indeed just that. But no other sports organization that is taken seriously allows the greed to climb to such heights where it overthrows the product on the field itself and bastardizes the sport in order to squeeze out every penny they can manage. Just another reason to hate the BCS.

3 Responses to “The Sugar Bowl Travesty”

  1. Uncle Moose says:

    Just googled Zach Moretti. I was looking to read anything you had on line (i.e. Fredericksburg paper) Didn’t know about the blogs, but it came up. You’re also in Wikipedia. I tried googling Zach Moretti and Tom Boswell but no hits. Maybe someday…

  2. Zach Moretti says:

    Ha! How did you find this?

  3. Uncle Moose says:

    Good article. Though as you said, it’s nothing new with the BCS. Unfortunately, Division 1 College Football is all about the money. There is virtually universal agreement that there should be a playoff system like in Division II and III, but that won’t happen while there’s money to be made from bowl games. Bastardization, indeed. BTW, excellent point about MLB, FOX and the baseball playoffs. Can you imagine being a Red Sox fan watching that last game of the season at Camden Yards? You’re thinking were up on the lowly Orioles and the Rays are down what 7-0 or something to the Yanks? Then it all slips away in the matter of a few hours. Had to be a killer to watch for any Boston fan unfortunate enough to be there. Probably brought back memories of Buckner, Boone and Bucky. Oh well, they needed to clean house anyway and this monumental collapse just expedited it. Bobby V. should get the Bosox headed in the right direction again.