Rarely have I been angered watching a sports show the way I was Sunday night when watching ESPN's BCS Selection Show. It was like I was trapped in a nightmare and everyone transformed to their alternate First Take selves. Kirk Herbstreit was yelling at me about the affront to humanity that was #15 Northern Illinois qualifying for the Orange Bowl to face Florida State. Jesse Palmer and David Pollack were feigning surprise and shock over the news of NIU's berth that was broken hours earlier in the day. The first ever BCS berth for the MAC was turned into a debate point and all of it was insulting and infuriating.
Maybe it just has something to do with ESPN analysts hating mid-major programs and teams from non-power conferences. Kirk Herbstreit's incredible tirade against Northern Illinois making the Orange Bowl conjured up memories of Jay Bilas deriding VCU making the NCAA Tournament in 2011. Of course, we all know how that ended with VCU making the Final Four.
The BCS and the bowl system sucks. It's always sucked and it always will suck until there's a true, expanded playoff where every FBS team has a chance to win a national championship. Right now there are 54 non-AQ teams (excluding Boise State) that know they have zero shot of winning a title every time they begin a season. That's the sad state of college football. At least in other sports you have the opportunity, however large or small, to win a championship on the field/court/pool/etc. Northern Kentucky University basketball knows they can win the NCAA Tournament if they win their conference and go through the tourney unbeaten. Northern Illinois football begins the season knowing no matter what they do, they won't make the BCS Championship Game. No other sport on the planet is as exclusionary as FBS college football and it has always sickened me. Heck, the only reason this non-AQ qualifying scenario that benefited NIU is in place is to protect the BCS from anti-trust lawsuits.
But until the day comes when the FBS has a true playoff (not this four team access/host bowl monstrosity that will have the same issues we're dealing with now), a token Orange Bowl appearance is the best a team from the MAC can ever hope for. That's their ceiling. That's their high point. That's the farthest they can get in college football until the powers that be stiff arm them back to reality.
And NIU and the MAC should be celebrating their accomplishment today. #MACtion in the BCS is a great story. Instead, we all have to deal with this drummed up, sensationalized debate of the scoundrels at Northern Illinois taking a BCS spot away from those poor disadvantaged people at Oklahoma and Georgia.
Watch the video, I need to take a lap around the block to calm down...