The Kansas Jayhawks proved that there were BCS-worthy with a hard fought 24-21 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl last night. Many thought the Jayhawks didn’t deserve a BCS bowl bid for three reasons: One, they didn’t win the Big 12 Conference or the Big 12 North Division for that matter. Two, they played a weak overall schedule with their nonconference schedule especially weak. Three, they’re Kansas, a perenially loser in college football.
Yes, they didn’t win their division and thus, didn’t play in the Big 12 Championship Game, but at 11-1, they were one of only two BCS schools (Ohio State) that ended the regular season with only one loss. Missouri, which was snubbed by the BCS after losing the Big 12 title game to Oklahoma had the misfortune of being the loser in a conference championship game. For some reason, you are better off not playing in a conference championship game than playing in one—and losing. Boston College, Tennessee and Missouri lost the ACC, SEC and Big 12 title tilts and got lower bowl games than teams that didn’t even make those games. Boston College beat Clemson, but Clemson played in the more prestigious Chick-fil-A Bowl; Tennessee beat Georgia, but settled for the Outback Bowl while Georgia played in the Sugar Bowl; Missouri settled for Cotton while Kansas went Orange. And, then there’s poor Miami, Ohio. The RedHawks won their division, played in and lost the MAC Championship Game, and didn’t get any bowl game at all to go to. Bowling Green and Ball State, however did receive bowl bids out of the MAC.
Back to Kansas. As for their schedule, they did play eight conference games and those are games that are played by all college football teams. It is unfair to penalize a team for playing its conference schedule. Sure, the Jayhawks nonconference games left a little to be desired, but remember, when these games were scheduled, Kansas was a 2-10 and 3-9 team. At that time, those games were scheduled with the hope that Kansas would win some of them. Ohio State’s nonconference schedule was just as weak as the Jayhawks, yet the Buckeyes are celebrated for their BCS Championship Game appearance.
Give Mangino’s boys credit for beating a very good Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl last night, proving that they’re one of the better teams in the 2007 season.