There's no other way to put it: the Big 12 was screwed over by the BCS selection committees in 2011. Oklahoma State will be the only team to represent the Big 12 conference in a BCS bowl in 2011. Kansas State, ranked eighth in the BCS standings, and Baylor, ranked twelfth, were not invited to any of the at-large BCS bids.
With the SEC sending its champion to the title game, the Sugar Bowl had an opportunity to pick two at-large teams. Instead of taking Baylor, who boasts one of the Heisman frontrunners in Robert Griffin III, or Kansas State, who finished eighth in the final BCS standings, the selection committee took Michigan and Virginia Tech. The same Virginia Tech who was smoked by Clemson in the ACC title game, and finished No. 11 in the BCS standings, and the same Michigan who finished No. 13 in the BCS standings.
For what reason? Money, of course.
The only actual explanation for Michigan and Virginia Tech being invited to the Sugar Bowl is money. The committee must have figured that, since both are big football schools, that their fanbases would travel much better than either Baylor's or Kansas State's.
Michigan's record against top 25 teams this were was 1-1 -- certainly, they held their ground, but certainly not BCS worthy. Michigan's best win this season? Against Nebraska, who finished with three losses. Michigan's other wins? Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois and Ohio State. Michigan's second loss? Against an Iowa team that finished 7-5.
Yes, Baylor had an extra loss. One of those losses, though, came to Oklahoma State, who nearly went to play for the BCS title game. Baylor's wins include an upset over TCU, Oklahoma and Texas -- all teams that finished in the top 25 of the final BCS standings.
And what about Kansas State? Two losses on the season: an eight point loss to Oklahoma State and a blowout loss to Oklahoma -- two teams that finished in the top 15 of the final BCS standings. K-State also boasts better wins than Michigan. In addition to playing in a stronger conference, K-State beat Baylor and Texas, both of who finished in the top 25 of the BCS.
Virginia Tech's inclusion is less egregious than Michigan's, but still incredibly uninspiring. The Hokies lost twice this year -- both times to the Clemson Tigers. Virginia Tech's best win? That would be a 37-26 win over Georgia Tech, a team that lost four games this season. In three wins over East Carolina, Duke and North Carolina, the Hokies won by a combined 14 points. Those three teams combined for 15 wins this season.
That the Big 12 was so royally screwed by the selection committees isn't surprising. It simply illustrates the fact that the BCS remains the biggest joke in sports today. Instead of rewarding teams who had an excellent body of work, the selection committees opted to invite teams that would travel well and, presumably, infuse the greatest amount of money into the NCAA and the BCS system.
But hey, we'll all enjoy the Michigan/Virginia Tech Sugar Bowl as well as the West Virginia/Clemson Orange Bowl, right?