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Bowl Breakdown: Tired of the BCS

Chris Petersen, BCS controversy“Everybody is just tired” of the BCS. That’s what Boise State head coach Chris Petersen told reporters after his Broncos had been left out of the BCS for the fourth time in eight years. Instead, the Michigan Wolverines are going to play in the Sugar Bowl. The craze is underway.


Michigan State lost the inaugural BigTen championship game against Wisconsin. There is no way to deny it. And there is no way to change it, either. No matter how long we keep bemoaning the acting job of Badgers punter Brad Nortman (who admitted that: “It doesn’t hurt to put a little bit extra on it”) or the controversial out-of-bounds call on Keyshawn Martin that put a potential game-winning drive on hold: The Badgers are going to the Rose Bowl – and instead of acting out our resentful hatred, we should hope that Wisconsin does a good job in representing the BigTen in Pasadena.

Subsequently, we can still believe that the Spartans were the best team of the BigTen in 2011. Or, as B.J. Cunningham says: “Wisconsin played a great game. Hats off to them. But I feel like we’re a better team.” I agree. Lots of people do. And even the people in that remote state called Wisconsin have to admit that Michigan State deserved to win it’s division. The Spartans beat Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan during the regular season – and most experts agree that the Spartans very well deserved to do so.

The BCS? Not so much. Or how do you explain that Michigan ended up playing in a BCS bowl? I get that Brady Hoke is a serious candidate for Coach of the Year. I get that people love the Cinderella story of the Wolverines. I get all that, even as a Spartan. What I don’t get, is how the Blue ended up playing in the Sugar Bowl. And that’s not (only) coming from a Spartan mind. I get that Michigan State had to take the downside of losing a championship game. That’s the risk we took aiming at something big. And we took it willingly. And to be honest, things could be worse.  Facing a good Georgia team in the Outback Bowl is not the worst way to close out a season. It’s certainly not what we aimed for – but Michigan State can still take pride in the 2011 season.

Vegas, baby?! The Boise Dilemma

What I don’t get, is how the BCS treats teams like Boise State. The No. 7 Broncos (11-1) were left out of the BCS for the fourth time in eight years. They were passed over as an at-large selection in favor of No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2) and No. 13 Michigan (10-2). I can fully understand Coach Petersen when he says: “Everybody is just very tired of the BCS. That’s the bottom line. Everybody is frustrated. Everybody doesn’t really know what to do anymore. It doesn’t make sense to anybody. I don’t think anybody is happy anywhere. The whole thing needs to be changed, there’s no question about it,” he said. ” … I think (change) is coming, I really do.”

Yes, the Broncos lost to TCU 36-35 on Nov. 12, when kicker Dan Goodale missed a 39-yard field goal as time expired. And yes, in doing so they ruined their chances of getting an automatic bid for the third time in school history themselves. It’s also hard to deny that there are several good reasons why Virginia Tech and Michigan deserve to play in a decent bowl. I don’t want to badmouth their seasons. And I can’t. I also understand the fact that bowl games are about money, too. Even if they shouldn’t. And that the BCS is trying to figure out which team might attract more people, generate more revenue. But if you only look at the sport of football itself, the way the season was played, you ask yourself: Does Boise State really deserve to play Arizona State (6-6), a team that has just fired coach Dennis Erickson, in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas? I don’t think so. “It just seems like each year it’s getting further and further away from anybody understanding what’s going on,” Coach Petersen said. And I agree.

The BCS controversy has become an annual pre-christmas tradition. But not a pleasant one.

What: Outback Bowl – Michigan State Spartans (10-3) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (10-3)
When: Jan. 2, 2012 | 1:00 PM ET
Where:  Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Point Spread: Michigan State + 3


About Jan Boehmer

Assistant Professor of New Media @ the University of Miami; Ph.D. from Michigan State. Researching Sport, Social Media & Big Data. NBA Writer for NBA.de & Welt.


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what is a beat writer?

Beat writer build up a base of knowledge on and gain familiarity with the sector they report on, allowing them to provide insight and commentary in addition to reporting straight facts. And thats’s exactly what this blog is all about. It’s about Michigan State University. The Spartans. Basketball, Football, Baseball, Soccer – and everything a sports lunatic has to say about it.

This is the beat writer!

This is Jan. Jan is a sports writer and editor for SPOX.com, one of Germany's most popular sports websites. But Jan is also a Ph.D student at Michigan State. That's why he decided to start this blog on the Spartans. GO GREEN, GO WHITE!

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