Orange Bowl 2012: Why All of College Football Should Be Glad Kent State Lost
After a double-overtime thriller, the BCS aspirations Kent State had coming into the MAC championship game have evaporated.
The Golden Flashes fell to Northern Illinois, 44-37, and lost more than just the MAC championship.
Kent State would have been a virtual lock for the Orange Bowl with a victory over Northern Illinois, but will now have to settle for a significantly less lucrative bowl game.
While there is still a slim chance that Northern Illinois will slip into the Orange Bowl, the more likely scenario is Oklahoma remaining a BCS bowl participant.
It goes without saying that the Kent State faithful and those who root for the MAC would have liked to see a school from their conference in a BCS bowl game.
That said, the rest of the college football world can breathe a sigh of relief. An Orange Bowl featuring Florida State and Kent State might have gone down as the worst BCS bowl game of all time.
It's not that schools from non-AQ conferences should never go to a BCS bowl game, but these teams really need to earn it.
There have been multiple Boise State teams that have had good enough seasons to deserve to go to a BCS bowl game. Even a pair of undefeated Utah teams deserved their spot.
But upon further review, Kent State is a long way away from those teams.
Would Kent State have deserved to play in the Orange Bowl with a MAC championship?
The Golden Flashes only played one ranked team all season, and that was in the MAC championship on Friday night. They also only played five FBS schools with more than four wins.
While Kent State did have wins over Rutgers, Ohio, Bowling Green and Ball State, their loss to an awful Kentucky team overshadowed those impressive victories.
And this was not just a loss. Kentucky manhandled Kent State in early September in a 47-17 blowout.
The Golden Flashes also lacked a superstar player this season. A play-maker would have helped to make them BCS worthy. While there is some talent on Kent State, there is no one eye-opening player fans wanted to see in the national spotlight.
All the other potential BCS worthy teams offer fans something. Kent State simply does not.
The potential matchup of the Golden Flashes and the Seminoles had to have brought an uneasy feeling to the representatives of the Orange Bowl. Ticket sales and television ratings would have been hurting, and that's just scratching the surface.
While Louisville may not be much better, the Cardinals are leaps and bounds ahead of Kent State, particularly with the angle of starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returning home.
Having a feel-good story in the Orange Bowl is one thing, but a game featuring Kent State would have been a travesty—particularly for a proven team like Oklahoma.
It's a good thing for the college football world that we will not have to see that happen.
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