The Sugar Bowl will always choose who brings the most fans. Otherwise, Ohio State would not have played in the game last season.
This is the second in a 12-part series.
"I hope Alabama wins the Iron Bowl," a Sugar Bowl committee member told Charlie Yow, my grandfather, in 1971 just before Pat Sullivan won the Heisman, but lost the Iron Bowl.
"Why's that?" asked my grandfather, confused.
"Alabama fans come to New Orleans and have a great time. Auburn fans bring a pair of underwear and a 10-dollar bill, and don't change either one."
My grandfather has told me this story over the years many times. Especially around bowl season when I always get angry about who is playing in what bowl. He always tells the story as though I've never heard it, and I oblige by acting surprised at the punch line.
But the story is true, and he's right.
Argue if you would like to about the BCS title game, but when it comes to the BCS bowl games, the committees got it right on all levels.
So Virginia Tech lost to Clemson twice? Sounds like the Fightin' Dabos were just better prepared and had the right matchup.
Michigan has two losses and is barely ranked high enough to be eligible for the BCS? Who cares?
The two perennial powers, and I use that term very loosely with these two, will bring a boat load of fans, and that is what matters in college football. It's always been about the money, even before ESPN and 82 jillion bowl games.
Which team was more deserving of a Sugar Bowl bid?
Don't be discouraged, Boise State fans. It is not respect for your team the bowls lack. It is the fact the Broncos have been unable to sell their allotted tickets in the past.
Writer's Note: Broncos fans packed the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 with 44,000 fans, but the school failed to sell 300 of its allotted 19,000 tickets and over 1,000 parking passes. It cost the school about $123,000 of its $1.3 million payout, according to One Bronco Nation.
Apparently number-crunching is more important than watching the football games, as proven by the Sugar Bowl's failure to see those 44,000 blue-and-orange-clad fanatics two years ago in a game against TCU.
For the record, it is more important.
The Fiesta Bowl invited BCS No. 4 Stanford to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a game where the winner will likely push to be the Associated Press national champion in the event of an Alabama victory. A perfect matchup between two offensive juggernauts and porous defenses.
The question remains: Will Oklahoma State fans still travel with their team being left out? Absolutely, they will. The Pokes have won their first outright conference title in the modern era.
What choice did the Orange Bowl have? A good game could stem from the teams slotted to play—Clemson and West Virginia perhaps even the most interesting game on the docket.
The Rose Bowl insists on keeping its "tradition" while destroying the possibility of ever having a playoff in the FBS. Wisconsin and Oregon will face off in a non-New Year's Day Rose Bowl, making for an entertaining game if nothing else.
Rest assured, though, the three at-large choices were exactly right for the BCS.
Who cares about the fans?