I am sick of reading the back-and-forth that has developed surrounding the Big 12 South race and had to post my thoughts on it. It's not really an appropriate subject for my blog (Bring On The Cats -- K-State), so I'm posting it here.
Back in 2002, my K-State Wildcats went 11-2 and played in the Holiday Bowl. Big deal, right? Not really. One of those 11 teams they defeated was the USC Trojans. You might remember that year. The Trojans were in their second season under Pete Carroll and had a guy by the name of Carson Palmer who won the Heisman Trophy. K-State defeated USC, 27-20, in Manhattan that season. USC went on to an 11-2 record, but was denied a berth in the Rose Bowl because they lost to Washington State, giving Wazzou the Pac-10 tiebreaker and sending them to Pasadena.
In 2002, K-State endured a bitter loss in Boulder to a Colorado team that went 9-5 and won the Big 12 North. It also lost a heartbreaker at home to Texas, 17-14, on a late field goal. Texas went 11-2 that season and played in the Cotton Bowl. Meanwhile, USC lost on the road to K-State and then in Pullman by a field goal to 10-3 Wazzou.
Of course, USC landed on its feet just fine, thank you, with an at-large selection in the Orange Bowl and an easy thumping of Iowa in Miami. While the Trojans were a very good team that year and had a claim to a BCS bowl, what went into their appearance in Miami is an illustration of one of college football's worst evils and something that is working against Texas Tech right now.
If you are not one of the "chosen" programs, you get the benefit of zero doubts.
In all the buildup to who should have been chosen as a BCS at-large that season, K-State was not mentioned once. With the WWL was all agog over the "return" of USC, everybody was on the Trojans' bandwagon. K-State had, record-wise, an identical season to USC and beat them head-to-head, yet was not even considered for a BCS at-large spot because, well, they're Kansas State.
Fast forward to 2008, and the now tired OU-UT argument about who should play in Kansas City and/or Miami. A lot parties, both pro-UT and supposedly neutral, want Tech eliminated because they lost by 44 to OU last weekend. Sorry, but that's not how it works. In arguing that Texas belongs in front of the BCS race, UT fans argue in part that their loss to Texas Tech was a fluke, inasmuch as it came at the end of a brutal four-game stretch and it took a dropped interception and a "fluke" play by Michael Crabtree with :01 left to drop the Horns. Never mind that getting beaten badly last week by OU was just as much a fluke for Tech as the loss for UT was. Never mind that, rather than luck, Graham Harrell made a perfect throw to Crabtree's back shoulder on that play, and Crabtree is simply the best player in college football this season.
I haven't seen nearly as much politicking from the OU crowd in this debate, probably because they need Texas Tech in the picture. Suffice it to say, all three teams have had incredible seasons, and the fact that we're trying to use logical argument to settle an illogical situation merely illustrates what a farce the BCS is. How ridiculous would it be if OU lost to Oklahoma State this weekend, Texas Tech went to KC and won the Big 12 title, and Texas ended up playing in the national title game? I guess that may be the scenario I root for, because it would surely be the downfall of the BCS, although we've thought that before (ahem, 2001 and 2003, ahem). Sorry, Red Raider fans, you're being screwed by the groupthink that says you don't get a second chance if you're not a "name" program. Join the club.