Missouri Gets the Shaft of the Rose

Major KelchnerCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2007

Icon Sports MediaEvery year around this time, people start to scream for a college football playoff system.

Someone always feels their team has been passed over for a chance to go to a better bowl or bigger championship game.

One of the most-used arguments against these protests is tradition.

We did end up with the BCS, which was a baby step in the right direction, but not the clear-cut answer.

The latest students to enroll is the BCS's Screw U program are the Missouri football team and their fans.

The Tigers went into last week's Big 12 championship against Oklahoma as the top team in the land, just to let an appearance in the BCS Championship slip through their fingers.

Their consolation prize?

The Cotton Bowl.

The Cotton Bowl?!

I understand tradition.  The Rose Bowl is traditionally a Big Ten vs. Pac-10 matchup—perhaps even the most storied of all of the bowls.

Sure.  Fine.  No Problem.

Unless the Big Ten team is far weaker than the alternative.

Because Ohio State—the obvious choice for the Rose Bowl—was lost to the BCS Championship game, the Rose Bowl needed an at-large pick to fill the Buckeyes' shoes.

For this exciting pick, a drum roll is definitely needed...

(insert drum roll)...playing against USC this year, on their home field (almost) in the Rose Bowl is none other than...

Are you ready for this?




I don't mean to discredit the Illini and their season.  9-3 is a good season—but far from great, especially in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten ends the season as the sixth best conference in the land, and the Illini have just the 41st-toughest schedule in the nation.  They are ranked 21st in the Sagarin Ratings and 13th in every other poll out there (BCS, Coaches, and AP).

They have one marquee win over Ohio State and three losses, two of which are understandable.  The other one, not so much—a 10–6 shootout against the hands of then-2–4 Iowa (6-6, 4-4).

Their other losses came to Michigan, 27–17; and believe it or not, a season-opening loss at home—to none other than Missouri.

Missouri's only blemishes on their record?  Two losses to Oklahoma—a team which checks in at number three in the AP and Coaches' polls and fourth in the BCS standings.

There is no comparison between these teams, especially as to who deserved the at-large bid to a BCS bowl.

Missouri (11-2, 7-2) is head and shoulders above Illinois on this one, being ranked seventh across the board, playing in the fourth toughest conference and the 24th toughest schedule in the land.

On paper or plastic, on the field or off, even head-to-head, Missouri is a BCS-class team and deserved to get in, and since the Rose Bowl had first pick, they should have taken the Tigers.

Missouri then became ineligible once Kansas was picked, due to BCS rules not allowing three teams from one conference allowed in the BCS.

While the choice of Kansas instead of Missouri for the Orange Bowl makes equally little sense, the reasoning of the Rose Bowl Committee is incomprehensible.

Maybe guaranteeing USC a win was the reason, as they may be hoping to sell out to a USC crowd, since the Rose Bowl is basically a home game for the Trojans.  (It is only 13.8 miles from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Rose Bowl.)

But the Rose Bowls has decided to further make a mockery of the BCS by selecting a conference over a better, more deserving football team.

In a perfect world, the Illini and Tigers should be trading places, with the Tigers getting a shot at the Trojans in January, and a final chance to redeem their season.