BCS Bowl Games: Which at-Large Contenders Got Screwed the Worst?

John PattonContributor IDecember 4, 2011

BCS Bowl Games: Which at-Large Contenders Got Screwed the Worst?

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    Perhaps the best answer to "who got screwed worst" in bowl season would be Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State and anyone who might feel they have a reasonable objection to Alabama getting a rematch with top-ranked Louisiana State for the BCS national championship on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

    The truth is, anyone who favors a playoff also got screwed once again.

    My personal belief is that if Alabama and LSU were included on opposite sides of an eight-team tournament, they still would reach the title game.

    But at least then others with a legitimate beef would be given every opportunity to prove their arguments correct.

    Until that day arrives, it will continue to come down to voters and computers.

    Here's a look at some teams who got screwed and why.

Oklahoma State

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    OK, so Oklahoma State isn't an "at-large" team. The Cowboys are the Big 12 champs.

    However, they don't have any shot at playing for the BCS national title based on one overtime road loss to Iowa State.

    No doubt, a loss to the Cyclones doesn't hold the clout of a loss to LSU—as is the case with Alabama—but this punishment is awfully harsh and example No. 1 (2011 version) of why college football needs a playoff.

    There, OSU wouldn't be favored to win (it probably would go off third to the Tigers and Crimson Tide with the oddsmakers), but the Cowboys would get the chance to prove their point.


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    Stanford has a legitimate argument here, though one not nearly as compelling as Oklahoma State's.

    Still, if there were a playoff in college football—something that seems to work just fine in every other sport—the Cardinal would get a shot to win the BCS National Championship.

    Stanford has just one loss, though it was handily to Pac-12 champ Oregon. Regardless, with an eight-team tournament, not only would the Cardinal get the shot to play for it all, Andrew Luck and Co. might get another shot at Oregon on the way.

    Because there is no playoff, we will get Stanford vs. Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, which should be the offensive equivalent to the defensive masterpiece expected from LSU and Alabama in the title game.

    That's a heckuva a consolation prize, but a consolation prize, nonetheless.


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    Many will argue the Southeastern Conference is getting too much love from the BCS because LSU and Alabama are playing a rematch in the title game.

    However, look at the BCS from Arkansas' point of view and you will see a team probably quite upset it is getting screwed out of a major bowl because of a flawed rule that is part of a flawed system.

    By rule, three teams from the same conference can't get BCS bids with the only exception being two teams playing for the national championship and a third being the conference champion (which would have been the case had Georgia defeated LSU on Saturday in Atlanta).

    So, the Razorbacks, sitting there at 10-2 with their only losses coming to Alabama and LSU, have to play in the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State.

    If Arkansas played in any other conference, it would be in one of the five BCS games.

Anti-Big East People

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    Let's be completely honest here.

    The Big East has no business owning an automatic BCS bowl bid.

    So, West Virginia (9-3 with a 49-23 loss at Syracuse that gave the Orange their only conference win) will be facing Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

    Meanwhile, SEC East champion Georgia (10-3), Arkansas (10-2), Michigan State (10-3), Houston (12-1), Boise State (11-1), Baylor (9-3), Kansas State (10-2), South Carolina (10-2) and Texas Christian (10-2) are in non-BCS bowl games.

Boise State

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    Think about this, Boise State missed out on a BCS bowl bid because of one missed field goal.

    And now, instead of facing either Virginia Tech or Michigan in the AllState Sugar Bowl, the Broncos (11-1) get Arizona State (6-6) in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.

    From Jan. 3 to Dec. 22. Quite a precipitous fall because of one missed kick against a 10-2 Texas Christian team.