Home > College Football, Div-I FBS > Pre-BCS Banter: Spot Up for Grabs Offered to Big Ten

Pre-BCS Banter: Spot Up for Grabs Offered to Big Ten

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The only real drama for the BCS selection show this year was 1) whether or not there would be an excuse for screwing Boise State out of an invite, and 2) who would get the 4th and final at-large bid.  I’m going to tell you who is going to got it, but I’m also going to tell you why I think they shouldn’t have.  (And Boise State didn’t possibly get left out…did they?)

There are 9 teams who either have less than two losses, or have two losses but have earned an automatic bid.  They are: Alabama (SEC), Texas (Big 12), Cincinnati (Big East), Oregon (Pac 10), Ohio State (Big Ten), Georgia Tech (ACC), Florida (At-Large), TCU (At-Large), and Boise State (At-Large).  All bid except Boise’s are earned and guaranteed.  Boise’s (13-0, win over Oregon) is sufficiently earned.

The final spot was really wide open, heading into the selection process.  The leader, and most obvious pick, would have been two-loss Iowa, who has a much stronger case than two loss Penn State.  And at the selection meeting, the BCS committee did the expected, naming Iowa as the opponent of the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in the Orange Bowl.

Iowa lost two of their final three games to end the season and is very lucky to still be in the Top 10 in the BCS Standings.  They’re still around only because they play against the fictitiously strong Big Ten competition.  And it’s because of that competition that I think they were a poor choice for the Orange Bowl Berth.  Here are some 3-loss teams that got jobbed, and the cases I would have made in favor of them.

LSU* — They were more deserving, in my opinion, than Iowa, but unfortunately the rules of the BCS bowls prohibit their inclusion because they would have been the 3rd team in from the SEC.  So they’re out.

Virginia Tech — Probably would have been my first choice.  They went 9-3.  They did so in a conference that splits it’s championship game participants into two divisions.  Va. Tech’s conference record was identical to division champion Georgia Tech, the only difference is one played Alabama (Va. Tech) and the other played Jacksonville State (Ga. Tech).  Well, that, and Ga. Tech won the head to head match-up that decided the ACC.  Still, I would rather have seen them rematch rather than give defensive-minded Clemson a shot at a BCS Bowl.  Just because Va. Tech didn’t play in the championship doesn’t make them less deserving than GT.

Miami (Fla.)  — The ACC narrowly avoided chaos in the wake of Georgia Tech’s loss to Georgia.  Miami did not tie for the ACC Atlantic division title, but only because they failed to take care of Clemson in overtime.  Had Miami won that game, they, and not Georgia Tech, would have played Clemson for the ACC title.  But Georgia Tech would still have only been a two loss team.  They would have likely gotten the final at large BCS bid.  Which, in my mind, validates Miami’s case at the BCS bid, at least over Iowa.  Sure, they did lose that overtime game, but they swept their out of conference schedule, which was far more impressive than Iowa’s or Penn State.

West Virginia — Here’s a team, 9-3, in the vastly superior Big East (compared to the Big Ten, at least), it misses the BCS because of a bad loss to USF.  They went undefeated at home against a difficult schedule, losing only at Auburn, at USF, and at Cincinnati.  They did have their chances, but here’s a team that beat Pittsburgh when they were a top ten team, beat a strong Rutgers team on the road, compiled a computer average of exactly .4600.  That’s not higher than Iowa, but it is higher than Penn State in that same conference.

Pittsburgh — Another 9-3 team, but they started 9-1, and looked dominant taking care of Notre Dame.  Pittsburgh beat everyone on their schedule who they were stronger than, after a horrendous loss to North Carolina State.  That pretty much made them not BCS worthy, but even their resume might have been more impressive than Iowa.  Not saying anything definitive there.  A .2500 computer average is pretty unbecoming of a BCS team.

So there you have it.  The ACC and Big East were both more deserving of  a team receiving an at large bid than the Big Ten.  In fact, even champion Ohio State looks mediocre in comparison to the above (save Pittsburgh).  Iowa had their chance to sleepwalk through an easy schedule, win a bunch of games, and then beat Ohio State at the Horseshoe to secure that automatic bid, losing a thriller because HC Kirk Ferentz was hesitant to go for the win when he had a chance as an underdog.  Ohio State lost to 4-loss USC at home, nearly got upset by Navy, and really only belongs in the BCS because they proved to be the most deserving team from the Big Ten.  And to add another team seems to defy logic, and establish a barrier between a two and three loss team that is being viewed as the same difference between a perfect season and a one loss season.  It may have been the easiest decision by the pollsters, but it wasn’t the right one.

But then again, at least the deserving mid-majors made it.  Officially, thanks to a 13-0 season from Boise State, 2009 is the first year ever where two mid-majors will be part of the BCS bowls.  Consider this your official PSA courtesy of LiveBall for the month of December.  I like it when deserving parties don’t get screwed.

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