After years of making steady progress toward respectability across college football, teams from mid-major conferences were relegated back to the lower rungs of the bowl schedule by the almighty BCS. These three teams, in particular, saw their strong 2011 seasons summarily rewarded by December snubbery.
Boise State got robbed by the BCS. Simple as that.
The Broncos were more than deserving of an at-large bid into the Sugar Bowl but were shunned in favor of Virginia Tech.
This, despite sporting a stronger resume, which included a dominant win over Georgia in the season opener and a lone loss by a lone point to TCU. As such, Kellen Moore will have to close out his decorated collegiate career by whooping up on Arizona State (which just fired its coach, Dennis Erickson) in the Las Vegas Bowl rather than by peddling his wares against Michigan in New Orleans.
One could argue (albeit to some resistance) that Boise State didn't deserve a bid into the BCS as a non-AQ school since it didn't even win its own conference.
That distinction belongs, instead, to TCU, which fell two spots short in the rankings of clinching an automatic berth to make its third trip to a BCS bowl in as many seasons.
The BCS' wacky math pegged the Horned Frogs at No. 18, even though they checked in at 15th in both human polls and 17th among the computers. Thus, instead of closing out their time in the Mountain West on the Bayou, Gary Patterson and company will meet a representative from the Golden Boot, Louisiana Tech, in San Diego at the Poinsettia Bowl before bolting for the Big 12.
So, Southern Miss stops Houston cold in its previously undefeated tracks to win the Conference USA championship and ends up in a better bowl game as a result, right?
Wrong again! For their efforts, the Golden Eagles garnered a trip way (waaaaay) to the west to play Nevada in the Hawai'i Bowl while the Cougars get to stay close to home to play Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl.
Sure, it'll be nice to see Case Keenum close out his collegiate career against a Big Ten opponent, though I'm sure USM coach Larry Fedora can only wonder why his school will make less money than UH will despite beating the Cougs quite handily this past Saturday.