Why not start out with the most polarizing topics...
* Northern Illinois - If you want to say they didn't deserve it, have at it. If you want to say they didn't earn it, not true. This system and its qualification parameters were agreed upon by the conferences and independents encompassing FBS. They may have backed into it by using the lesser of the two qualification methods (finishing in the top 16 with both Louisville and Wisconsin finishing lower than 16th), but they played their way into that position.
No, they would not have been part of a playoff after the 2014, and they aren't in the title game this year. The 2014 system does eliminate some of the qualification parameters that hamper the BCS, such as no more than two teams from a conference. There's also two more at-large slots to be filled by this committee. And Northern Illinois would have been part of one of those three access bowls in 2014 as the highest ranking "Group of Five" conference champion.
* Louisiana Tech - Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. By not winning the WAC, they were guaranteed nothing. Zero. Zip. The conference only had one tie-in, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and sent its champion there. San Jose St. was sent clear across the country, but its a bowl game. Saturday morning, we knew there was a possibility that with a UCLA loss, NIU could get moved up. The place to look for NIU for its poll help was the beating Nebraska took. Getting pushed behind NIU in both polls was huge for them, and disastrous for Louisiana Tech.
I don't like it, but in these cases, bowls are going to look at a AQ conference team over a non-AQ team every time. It sucks, but its fact unfortunately. Arkansas St. was also in the running for the Liberty Bowl slot that La Tech coveted per the twitter timeline of Sun Belt PR man John McElwain, and arguably more worthy since they won their conference.
* Georgia Tech - Should not have been granted a waiver. Had someone contend to me that GT should be in a bowl game because at 6-7 they stayed with Florida St. In that sense, and I'm making a bit of a leap, because it was a moral victory for them to stay within a TD of FSU, they should have been in a bowl game.
No. The NCAA screwed this one up, but the ACC and Miami put them in this spot far too late in the season. The NCAA made the rules, they didn't stick by them. Miami, by waiting until they were bowl eligible before eliminating themselves from bowl selection, did GT no favors since it force them to win arguably one of the two toughest games on their schedule to get to seven wins. The ACC should have put pressure on Miami earlier in the season to declare their bowl intentions so that everyone was on the same page.
At 6-6, should they have went to a bowl in my mind? Absolutely. Qualified within the existing parameters of the system. At 6-7 with 71 other eligible teams, and that's the key: 71 other eligible teams, they should not have been available for selection. If we were under 70 teams, no issue with them taking a spot because the NCAA determined a 6-7 team who lost in a conference championship game to be part of the an eligible pool of teams after 6-6 teams who either had a win vs. FCS who didn't met scholarship requirements or 6-6 teams who had two FCS wins.
There is that whole matter of them going to a bowl game, while Middle Tennessee sits at home too. 9/29/12 - Middle Tennessee 49, Georgia Tech 24.
Let's get to some better topics.
* We have No. 1 vs. No. 2. That's really all that matters in the BCS and the BCS executives will tell you that. After that matchup is settled, its a shell game.
* There were stories earlier this year about how Kansas St. elected to cancel a series with Oregon. Low and behold, we still got the game.
* The Holiday Bowl game between UCLA and Baylor will be awesome. Fitting tribute that the final season for the WAC, who help put together the Holiday Bowl after the Arizona schools left the WAC and the conference lost the Fiesta Bowl tie-in, has a Holiday Bowl with two teams who should put up the points. Also fitting that the other game managed by the Holiday Bowl committee, the Poinsettia Bowl, has two schools who in the early 90s played some great games.
1990: 62-34 BYU
1991: 52-52 Tie
1992: 45-28 SDSU
1993: 45-44 BYU
* I do wonder if Syracuse and WVU will dust off the Schwartzwalder Trophy for the Pinstripe Bowl. Have heard mixed reviews on that idea. Should be a lot of offense there too. I also wonder if they considered taking Pitt at all. I kinda feel bad that the BBVA Compass Bowl will have Pitt once again. I suspect that if an SEC team would not have been available to this bowl, Pitt would have ended up playing UCF in Tampa. The goal at that point in the selection order is to match and SEC team vs. a Big East team.
* Contrast of styles: Arizona St.-Navy in the Kraft Fights Hunger Bowl
* After the title game and Kansas St.-Oregon, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl are the prime rib of the non-BCS games. The Outback Bowl is the baked potato.