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Teel Time: Outcry over Virginia Tech's BCS bid to Sugar Bowl misplaced; weep not for Kansas State

Kansas State and Boise State have more impressive on-field credentials this season than Virginia Tech. The Wildcats’ conquest of Baylor, and the Broncos’ of Georgia trump the Hokies’ win at Georgia Tech.

Even Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer voted Boise State (No. 9) and Kansas State (No. 11) ahead of the Hokies (No. 13) in this week’s coaches’ poll.

But the national outcry over Virginia Tech’s invitation to the Sugar Bowl, at the expense of Boise and K-State, is misplaced.

This is the system, folks. Bowls, in concert with their television partners (take a bow, ESPN), make business decisions. And the Hokies’ nearly two decades of national prominence and their loyal fans made for a sound business decision in the Big Easy and Bristol, Conn.

Feel bad for Kansas State? Heck, no. Just as I didn’t weep for Virginia Tech in 2000, when the Fiesta Bowl bypassed the Hokies and Michael Vick, No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, in favor of No. 11 Notre Dame, which then lost to Oregon State 41-9 in the the Fiesta Bowl. Same goes for Oklahoma State, the odd team out of the LSU-Alabama national title game.

As members of the major conferences who concocted and protect the BCS, Virginia Tech then and Kansas State and Oklahoma State now have/had no gripe. Change the system’s priorities, kick the TV types out of the room, and we’ll chat about injustices.

Boise State (11-1), on the other hand, gets a sympathy card. The Broncos and their Mountain West Conference have fought the power structure for years, to no avail.

Twice Boise has crashed the BCS by earning an automatic bid. Twice the Broncos won the Fiesta Bowl. In the last two seasons, they defeated Virginia Tech and Georgia on neutral (wink, wink) fields. In 2009, they bested visiting Oregon.

Boise’s unforgivable sin this year is a 36-35 home loss to TCU in which Broncos kicker Dan Goodale missed a 39-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

If that kick is true, Boise is at least in the BCS, or maybe, just maybe, playing LSU for the national championship. Instead, the Broncos are headed to an obscure bowl in Las Vegas to play a 6-6 Arizona State team that’s already booted coach Dennis Erickson.

Lost amid the Virginia Tech backlash, much undoubtedly due to the margin of its 38-10 loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game: The Hokies are ahead of Michigan in each of the three components that produce the BCS standings. Yet few are questioning the No. 13 Wolverines’ bid.

Some have asked why Michigan State wasn’t chosen instead of Michigan. After all, the Spartans defeated the Wolverines during the regular season and won the Big Ten’s Legends Division ahead of their state rivals.

But after losing a 42-39 classic to Wisconsin in the conference title game, Michigan State tumbled from 13th to 17th in the BCS standings. Teams from automatic qualifying conferences such as the Big Ten, ACC and SEC must be among the top 14 to be considered for an at-large bid.

Finally, there's this unintended consequence of the BCS' madness: The loser of the ACC title game plays in a better bowl against a better opponent than does the winner -- Clemson faces West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

We have similar conversations each March, when coaches, fans and media fuss over some of the NCAA basketball tournament’s inclusions and exclusions. But at least that selection committee pores over basketball data rather than Nielsen ratings. And at least the championship is settled on the court rather than at the ballot box.    

I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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