Your common sense tells you that when a conference has two divisions, and the winners of those divisions play in a conference championship, the winner of the championship game is a shoo–in. That would be Wisconsin. And you would logically say the other BCS team from the conference would be the team that played for the championship since it was the best team from its division. Stated differently, the second-best team is the other team in the championship game. It is no different from the long-established sense that whoever finished second is the runner-up. This year’s runner-up in the Big Ten is Michigan State. And if we consider that Michigan State, affectionately known as Sparty, also beat Wisconsin in October, your common sense would surely tell you Sparty would get the affectionate nod as the second team to play in a BCS bowl game.
Now enter the Michigan Wolverines for BCS consideration. They cannot replace Wisconsin because Wisconsin won the overall conference championship. Under BCS rules, the Big Ten is one of the Big 6 conferences, and its champion is an automatic qualifier (“AQ”) for a BCS game. So that means the other BCS slot within the conference is between Michigan and Michigan State.
I hear you saying, “Well, that is really not that difficult a decision. In head-to-head competition this season, Sparty beat Michigan, end of story.” But just to make sure you are analytically objective, you add the footnote that MSU only lost one game in conference during the season, while U of M lost two. And in case recent history is a factor, you add the fact that Michigan State beat Michigan for four straight years.
Well if Sparty was bowled over last year, this year is worse. It’s like they lost an antitrust or patent suit because there appears to be treble damages. First, Sparty had Wisconsin beat in the championship game for the second time this season until a questionable strategy was employed to try to block the last Badger punt. Worse yet, they convincingly beat arch-rival Michigan (28-14), yet lost to Michigan in BCS standings. So the first-time-back-to-being-decent-in four years-Wolverines, not Sparty, end up playing in a BCS bowl game. That is classic can’t win for losing.
I'm Angela. I live in metro Detroit. I love reading, running, making lists, food and MSU.
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