Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bowl Selection: Who Got Snubbed?

So which teams got snubbed in the bowl selection process? The BCS conferences would surely get all of their teams into bowls. Of the mid-majors, Conference USA, the Mountain West, and Western Athletic Conference did not exceed their bowl tie-ins by having too many bowl-eligible teams. The Sun Belt and Mid-America Conference had excess teams for their tie-ins. Since the Sun Belt Conference is the backup partner for four different bowls, it was inevitable the Sun Belt’s third bowl-eligible team would be picked up (Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl). Thus, the two teams not going to bowls would come from the Mid-America Conference, which only has one agreement (Military Bowl) to be a backup tie-in should a conference not have enough bowl-eligible schools to meet its allotted bowl slots. That game did not need a backup partner. Western Michigan and Temple were left out of the bowl mix despite being bowl-eligible. Toledo, Miami (OH), and Northern Illinois were picked for the MAC’s bowl tie-ins, while Ohio was selected as an at-large pick. Temple has the worst conference record (5-3) among the other 8-4 MAC teams, while Western Michigan was 6-6 and 5-3 in conference play. When there are 70 spots for 72 teams, unfortunately, two have to be left at home.

Moving on, let’s take a look at which teams got snubbed in the bowl pecking order within their respective conferences. Conference record should hold a lot of weight in who gets selected for which bowl bid.

ACC: Maryland was picked behind three teams with worse conference records, two of whom had 6-6 overall records. Maryland should have been picked no worse than fifth, but was instead given the ACC’s eighth best bowl slot. Maryland is not just a basketball school.

Orange: Virginia Tech 11-2 (8-0)
Chick-Fil-A: Florida State 9-4 (6-2)
Champs Sports: NC State 8-4 (5-3)
Sun: Miami 7-5 (5-3)
Meineke Car Care: Clemson 6-6 (4-4)
Music City: North Carolina 7-5 (4-4)
Independence: Georgia Tech 6-6 (4-4)
Military: Maryland 8-4 (5-3)
Kraft Fight Hunger: Boston College 7-5 (4-4)

Big 12: Both Oklahoma State and Missouri had better overall records than Texas A&M and both beat the Aggies, yet the Aggies were selected ahead of the Cowboys and Tigers for the Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M was a hot team, winning six straight down the stretch, and is somewhat more of a perennial football brand than Oklahoma State or Missouri.

Fiesta: Oklahoma 11-2 (6-2)
Cotton: Texas A&M 9-3 (6-2)
Alamo: Oklahoma State 10-2 (6-2)
Insight: Missouri 10-2 (6-2)
Holiday: Nebraska 10-3 (6-2)
Texas: Baylor 7-5 (4-4)
Pinstripe: Kansas State 7-5 (3-5)
TicketCity: Texas Tech 7-5 (3-5)

Big East: Pittsburgh did not meet preseason, but still had a better-than-average season. Pittsburgh got snubbed by being selected fifth, even though they matched the conference record, 5-2, of Big East champion Connecticut. South Florida and Syracuse had worse conference records than Pittsburgh; South Florida was below .500 in conference play. The only logical argument why South Florida was selected for the Meineke Car Care Bowl over Pitt and Syracuse was picked for the Pinstripe Bowl over Pitt is proximity to the bowl site.

Fiesta: Connecticut 8-4 (5-2)
Champ Sports: West Virginia 9-3 (5-2)
Meineke Car Care: South Florida 7-5 (3-4)
Pinstripe: Syracuse 7-5 (4-3)
BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh 7-5 (5-2)
Beef O Brady’s: Louisville 6-6 (3-4)

Big Ten: Michigan State got snubbed out of a BCS bowl despite an 11-1 record and a stronger strength of schedule than Wisconsin or Ohio State. Michigan State even beat Wisconsin in the regular season. It’s a tragedy when you go 11-1 in a power conference and still can’t get into the BCS, but State will have to prove the doubters wrong by beating Alabama in the Capital One Bowl. Michigan got picked ahead of Iowa and Illinois whom both had one more conference win than Michigan. Finishing 3-5 in conference should not get you the fourth best bowl, but Michigan is a big football brand and that carries weight. Illinois finished poorly losing three of its last four, and Iowa dropped its last three games.

Rose: Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)
Sugar: Ohio State 11-1 (7-1)
Capital One: Michigan State 11-1 (7-1)
Outback: Penn State 7-5 (4-4)
Gator: Michigan 7-5 (3-5)
Insight: Iowa 7-5 (4-4)
Texas: Illinois 6-6 (4-4)
TicketCity: Northwestern 7-5 (3-5)

Pac-10: Arizona got picked ahead of Washington despite having one less conference win, but Arizona did have two more nonconference wins than Washington, including a win over Iowa. Washington beat Syracuse, but lost to Brigham Young and Nebraska.
Championship: Oregon 12-0 (9-0)
Orange: Stanford 11-1 (8-1)
Alamo: Arizona 7-5 (4-5)
Washington: 6-6 (5-4)

SEC: Alabama got picked for the Capital One Bowl ahead of LSU despite LSU beating Alabama and having one more conference win. LSU fans travel just as well as Alabama fans. The Tigers will still play in a good bowl and can prove with a win they were more deserving. South Carolina got snubbed in a big way when Florida was selected to go to a better bowl over the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks not only won the SEC East, but destroyed Florida November 13th and also had one more conference win than the Gators. The only logical explanation is geography. Florida is closer to a Tampa bowl and South Carolina is closer to an Atlanta bowl. One more observation: isn’t it disgusting that Kentucky can go 2-6 in conference play and still play in the postseason?

Championship: Auburn 12-0 (8-0)
Sugar: Arkansas 10-2 (6-2)
Capital One: Alabama 9-3 (5-3)
Cotton: LSU 10-2 (6-2)
Outback: Florida 7-5 (4-4)
Chick-Fil-A: South Carolina 9-4 (5-3)
Gator: Mississippi State 8-4 (4-4)
Music City: Tennessee 6-6 (3-5)
Liberty: Georgia 6-6 (3-5)
BBVA Compass: Kentucky 6-6 (2-6)

C-USA: The C-USA selection was very fair matching teams with bowls based on their conference performance.

Liberty: UCF 10-3 (7-1)
Hawaii: Tulsa 9-3 (6-2)
Armed Forces: Southern Methodist 7-6 (6-2)
Beef O Brady’s: Southern Mississippi 8-4 (5-3)
Military Bowl: East Carolina 6-6 (5-3)
New Mexico: UTEP 6-6 (3-5)

MAC: Toledo was likely picked for the MAC’s top bowl based on the fact Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois just played at Ford Field, site of the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, for the MAC Championship Game and did not bring in many fans. Toledo is only about 60 miles from Detroit, which should help bring in a lot of fans to the Pizza Bowl. Conference champion Miami (OH) was picked second before the team it beat in the MAC championship, Northern Illinois. Ohio was the fourth best MAC team based on conference record and was thus selected next to play in the New Orleans Bowl.

Pizza: Toledo 8-4 (7-1) Miami (OH) 9-4 (7-1)
Humanitarian: Northern Illinois 10-3 (8-0)
New Orleans: Ohio 8-4 (6-2)

MWC: The Mountain West pecking order was predictable. No inferior teams jumped the line.

Rose: TCU 12-0 (8-0)
Las Vegas: Utah 10-2 (7-1)
Poinsettia: San Diego State 8-4 (5-3)
Independence: Air Force 8-4 (5-3)
New Mexico: BYU 6-6 (5-3)

Sun Belt: Troy was picked first based on having the best overall record in the conference and sharing the best conference record, 6-2, with Florida International. Middle Tennessee was selected over Florida International despite one less conference win. This can most likely be attributed to the fact the Blue Raiders defeated the Golden Panthers head-to-head. Florida International did get an at-large spot to the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl.

New Orleans: Troy 7-5 (6-2) Middle Tennessee 6-6 (5-3)
Pizza: Florida International 6-6 (6-2)

WAC: The WAC selections were fair considering the four teams. Nevada, being the conference champion, goes to the top bowl. Boise State picks up the Pac-10’s fourth best bowl due to a lack of bowl-eligible teams. Hawaii goes to the Hawaii Bowl, a bowl created for Hawaii teams with at least seven wins.

Kraft Fight Hunger: Nevada 12-1 (7-1)
Las Vegas: Boise State 11-1 (7-1)
Humanitarian: Fresno State 8-4 (5-3)
Hawaii: Hawaii 10-3 (7-1)

Independents: Notre Dame was deserving of the Pac-10’s vacant fourth bowl tie-in, the Sun Bowl. Notre Dame put itself back together after a mid-season crisis and won its last three games.

Armed Forces: Army 6-6
Poinsettia: Navy 8-4
Sun: Notre Dame 7-5

In conclusion, the schools that got disrespected the most in the bowl selection process were Maryland, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Michigan State, LSU, and South Carolina.

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