The college football cartel known colloquially as the BCS has struck again, with the absence of TCU from the final 10-team field serving as just one of several examples showing just how rigged the system really is.
Things appeared to be lining up for the Horned Frogs to reach their third BCS bowl in as many seasons. They upended Boise State in mid-November and finished the 2011 season as the undefeated champions of the Mountain West Conference. They checked in at No. 15 in both the USA Today poll and the Harris Interactive poll which, if all else held true to form, would've been enough to land Gary Patterson's squad
Even with the computers branding TCU as the 17th-best team, one would think that the overall BCS formula, which weights each of the three components equally, would've put it through to another big-time bowl.
However, things didn't quite turn out that way. Instead, the Frogs were stuck at No. 18 in the BCS, behind five three-loss teams—No. 12 Baylor, No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 15 Clemson, No. 16 Georgia and No. 17 Michigan State. Had TCU finished ahead of at least two of those teams, it would've been guaranteed a place in the BCS. The rules stipulate that if a champion of a non-BCS conference finishes in the Top 16 and ahead of a BCS conference champion (like No. 23 West Virginia), then it earns an automatic bid.
A moot point for TCU, since it ended up out of range.
Still, isn't it just a bit strange that TCU finished with a lower ranking in the BCS than it did in any of the three components that make up that very formula?
You could certainly argue that the Frogs got what they deserved. After all, they lost to Baylor and SMU and padded their record against the likes of 3-9 Colorado State, 2-10 UNLV and 1-11 New Mexico.
But the losses were close ones, with Robert Griffin III and the Bears edging the Frogs by two points and the Mustangs stinging them in overtime.
Not to mention the fact that they went into Smurf Turf territory and came away with a win over Boise State, which hadn't happened since Boston College pulled off the feat in the MPC Computers Bowl in 2005.
Before the Broncos built up a football empire under Chris Petersen.
In the end, though, as surprising as it is to see TCU left out of the mix, it should hardly come as a shock to anyone familiar with the hijinks to which the BCS is so privy. At least for the Horned Frogs, they won't have to worry about achieving perfection, or anything close to it, starting next year, when they make their debut in the Big 12.
Then again, I'm sure Oklahoma State and Kansas State would have something to say about that.