10 Biggest Bowl Winners & Losers: Boise State Followed The BCS Rules And Still Missed Out On $17 Million

posted in College Football, College Football Bowls

Four teams — Arkansas, Boise State, Kansas State, and South Carolina — finished in the top 10 of the BCS Standings, but didn’t get invited to one of the five BCS Bowls (Rose BowlFiesta BowlSugar BowlOrange Bowl, or the BCS Title Game).

Much has been written about the disappointment of the players and fans of those four programs, but can we quantify just how much of a raw deal each team got?

With the help of bowl payout info from Wikipedia, we gave it a try.

10 Biggest Bowl Snubs

Using the payout values as a proxy for prestige, we compared the payout for a team’s actual bowl versus the one they would have played in, if invitations were handed out in strict BCS rank order*

*We used our Overall Power Ratings to fill in ranks 26 through 70, since it had the highest correlation to the BCS Top 25 out of any of our rankings.

Using that method, it looks to us like Boise State was served $17 million worth of snub. South Carolina was insulted to the tune of $13.8 million, and Cotton Bowl participants Arkansas and Kansas State swallowed $11.3 million worth of pride.

Here’s the full top 10:

TeamRank*BowlBowl PayoutRank-Based Payout$ Difference
Boise St7Maaco Las Vegas$1,000,000$18,000,000-$17,000,000
S Carolina9Capital One$4,250,000$18,000,000-$13,750,000
Arkansas6Cotton Classic$6,750,000$18,000,000-$11,250,000
Kansas St8Cotton Classic$6,750,000$18,000,000-$11,250,000
Baylor12Alamo$2,250,000$6,750,000-$4,500,000
Oklahoma14Insight$1,200,000$4,250,000-$3,050,000
TCU18Poinsettia$750,000$3,350,000-$2,600,000
S Mississippi21Hawaiʻi$750,000$2,250,000-$1,500,000
Houston19TicketCity$1,200,000$2,500,000-$1,300,000
Texas24Holiday$1,000,000$2,125,000-$1,125,000

There are logic reasons a lot of these teams are on the list.

The SEC squads show up partly because only two teams from each conference can participate in the BCS, meaning Arkansas and USC get relegated to less prestigious spots.

Boise State, TCU, and the other little guys are listed because, well, they’re the little guys. The bowls prefer to invite the blue bloods.

10 Teams Who Should Be Happiest With Their Bowls

On the other end of the spectrum from the Cotton Bowl’s slighted programs, the Orange Bowl gave out the most undeserved invitations, with West Virginia and Clemson stealing $15.9 and $14.6 million worth of spotlight.

Here are ten teams whose cushy bowl designations were more a result of program pedigree and conference affiliation, rather than performance on the field:

TeamRank*BowlBowl PayoutRank-Based Payout$ Difference
W Virginia23Orange$18,000,000$2,125,000$15,875,000
Clemson15Orange$18,000,000$3,400,000$14,600,000
Michigan13Sugar$18,000,000$4,250,000$13,750,000
VA Tech11Sugar$18,000,000$6,750,000$11,250,000
Virginia45Chick-fil-A$3,350,000$1,000,000$2,350,000
Nebraska20Capital One$4,250,000$2,500,000$1,750,000
Florida42Gator$2,500,000$1,000,000$1,500,000
Ohio St47Gator$2,500,000$1,000,000$1,500,000
Auburn25Chick-fil-A$3,350,000$2,000,000$1,350,000
Rutgers57Pinstripe$2,000,000$750,000$1,250,000

Clemson and West Virginia are here because they won their conferences. More power to them.

Florida, Ohio State, Nebraska, Auburn, and Michigan, though? Their reputations certainly sell tickets, and there’s no arguing that’s not a criteria in bowl selection.

Heck, it’s even written into the BCS selection procedure:

“5. After completion of the selection process … the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings taking into consideration the following: [A/B/C] … D. whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on ESPN and the bowls.”

The Full List Of Winners & Losers

Finally, fans of schools not in the above top (or bottom) 10’s may wonder how well-deserved their bowl bid was. For that, we’ll refer you the full list of all 70 bowl participants.

A few were spot on, like the obvious LSU and Alabama. But some of the smaller bowls invited exactly who you’d expect based on quality of play, as well. The Belk Bowl, for example, ended up with #41 NC State and #50 Louisville, which is pretty close to spot on.

So, find your team, check out whether you got a fair deal, and then ratchet up the indignation or relief, whatever seems appropriate:

TeamRank*BowlBowl PayoutRank-Based Payout$ Difference
Boise St7Maaco Las Vegas$1,000,000$18,000,000-$17,000,000
S Carolina9Capital One$4,250,000$18,000,000-$13,750,000
Arkansas6Cotton Classic$6,750,000$18,000,000-$11,250,000
Kansas St8Cotton Classic$6,750,000$18,000,000-$11,250,000
Baylor12Alamo$2,250,000$6,750,000-$4,500,000
Oklahoma14Insight$1,200,000$4,250,000-$3,050,000
TCU18Poinsettia$750,000$3,350,000-$2,600,000
S Mississippi21Hawaiʻi$750,000$2,250,000-$1,500,000
Houston19TicketCity$1,200,000$2,500,000-$1,300,000
Texas24Holiday$1,000,000$2,125,000-$1,125,000
Penn St22TicketCity$1,200,000$2,250,000-$1,050,000
Missouri26Independence$1,100,000$2,000,000-$900,000
California30Holiday$1,000,000$1,700,000-$700,000
BYU33Armed Forces$750,000$1,350,000-$600,000
Arkansas St34GoDaddy.com$750,000$1,350,000-$600,000
LA Tech36Poinsettia$750,000$1,200,000-$450,000
San Diego St58New Orleans$325,000$750,000-$425,000
LA Lafayette62New Orleans$325,000$750,000-$425,000
UCLA40Kraft Fight Hunger$800,000$1,100,000-$300,000
Tulsa43Armed Forces$750,000$1,000,000-$250,000
N Illinois46GoDaddy.com$750,000$1,000,000-$250,000
Texas A&M27Meineke Car Care$1,700,000$1,900,000-$200,000
Wyoming53New Mexico$750,000$800,000-$50,000
LSU1BCS Title Game$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Alabama2BCS Title Game$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Oklahoma St3Fiesta$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Stanford4Fiesta$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Oregon5Rose$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Wisconsin10Rose$18,000,000$18,000,000$0
Georgia16Outback$3,400,000$3,400,000$0
Mississippi St31Music City$1,700,000$1,700,000$0
Iowa37Insight$1,200,000$1,200,000$0
NC State41Belk$1,000,000$1,000,000$0
Louisville50Belk$1,000,000$1,000,000$0
Toledo51Military$1,000,000$1,000,000$0
Purdue56Little Caesars Pizza$750,000$750,000$0
Utah St59Famous Idaho Potato$750,000$750,000$0
Nevada60Hawaiʻi$750,000$750,000$0
W Michigan65Little Caesars Pizza$750,000$750,000$0
Temple66New Mexico$750,000$750,000$0
Michigan St17Outback$3,400,000$3,350,000$50,000
Illinois64Kraft Fight Hunger$800,000$750,000$50,000
Iowa St28Pinstripe$2,000,000$1,900,000$100,000
N Carolina52Independence$1,100,000$1,000,000$100,000
Vanderbilt38Liberty$1,350,000$1,200,000$150,000
Arizona St54Maaco Las Vegas$1,000,000$800,000$200,000
Pittsburgh55BBVA Compass$1,000,000$750,000$250,000
Florida Intl63Beef 'O' Brady's$1,000,000$750,000$250,000
Marshall67Beef 'O' Brady's$1,000,000$750,000$250,000
Air Force68Military$1,000,000$750,000$250,000
Cincinnati48Liberty$1,350,000$1,000,000$350,000
Notre Dame29Champs Sports$2,125,000$1,700,000$425,000
Florida St32Champs Sports$2,125,000$1,700,000$425,000
Ohio69Famous Idaho Potato$750,000$325,000$425,000
SMU70BBVA Compass$1,000,000$325,000$675,000
Northwestern49Meineke Car Care$1,700,000$1,000,000$700,000
Utah39Sun$1,900,000$1,100,000$800,000
GA Tech44Sun$1,900,000$1,000,000$900,000
Wake Forest61Music City$1,700,000$750,000$950,000
Washington35Alamo$2,250,000$1,200,000$1,050,000
Rutgers57Pinstripe$2,000,000$750,000$1,250,000
Auburn25Chick-fil-A$3,350,000$2,000,000$1,350,000
Florida42Gator$2,500,000$1,000,000$1,500,000
Ohio St47Gator$2,500,000$1,000,000$1,500,000
Nebraska20Capital One$4,250,000$2,500,000$1,750,000
Virginia45Chick-fil-A$3,350,000$1,000,000$2,350,000
VA Tech11Sugar$18,000,000$6,750,000$11,250,000
Michigan13Sugar$18,000,000$4,250,000$13,750,000
Clemson15Orange$18,000,000$3,400,000$14,600,000
W Virginia23Orange$18,000,000$2,125,000$15,875,000

By the way, if you’re going to compete in a Bowl Pick’em or are planning on wagering on some of the games, make sure to check out our 2011-2012 college football bowl games section, complete with bowl predictions, bowl betting picks, and bowl pick’em advice and picks.