Curtis Kitchen has followed the Big 12, Kansas State and national college basketball beat including K-State's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 2010. You can currently follow his work at his blog: KitchenKC.com In the past, he also covered the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for Major League Soccer's mlsnet.com site as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for the other sports station in town. His freelance portfolio ranges media outlets and publications, including gopowercat.com (part of the Rivals network), collegehoopsnet.com and the Miami Herald.
Curtis Kitchen: Currie not to blame for 'Cats BCS miss
by Curtis Kitchen,posted Dec 9 2011 12:01PM
In these types of bowl foul-up situations, where outrage, pride and mass amounts of money are involved, certain people always are looked at first in the blame game. Athletics directors, the professional CEOs of the *amateur* sports landscape, are the lightning rod for criticism when a football team is left out. That has never been more true, especially these days. We've all come to understand the bowl picture really has nothing to do with actual bodies of work. Usually, a backroom handshake far outweighs 10 regular season wins in a BCS conference.
College football open-palm slapped its fans with that reminder this year.
We all know the numbers now - Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 were all left wanting of a BCS at-large bid, while Nos. 11, 13, 15 and 23 either received weak automatic qualifier selections (West Virginia) or flat wrong at-large bids (Virginia Tech and the Wolverines, who needed a full-on propaganda campaign for a week by national media outlets to get votes necessary to move up in polls). After the USA Today Coaches' Poll and Harris poll votes were released, it was painfully clear the level of politics that were involved, with coaches manipulating votes as much if not more than supposed "experts," some of which were quoted as saying they really didn't watch that many games this season.
And then, finally, we saw the unbelievable Sugar Bowl selection fall-out, which boiled down to a Bowl president in Paul Hoolahan spitting on the BCS system and using the good ol' boy network to propel Frank Beamer's Hokies on to the national stage because he was just more "comfortable" with them.
The brazen, public arrogance of the dirty pool players within college football has now matched the corruption of the system. And, for now, there is nothing to stop it. Although recent news has revealed this year's BCS disaster has apparently stirred some of the most ardent system supporters into believing that at least a +1 format should seriously be considered.
That news is encouraging, but, like most change in college football over the years, it comes too late. That good news can't reverse the fact that 40 percent of the BCS' top 10 teams won't play in BCS bowls.
For Kansas State, it's more of the same as the Wildcats now have finished with a BCS top 10 ranking six times and has more BCS rules named after it (1) than at-large bids. How is that even possible? The best part for K-State is that the disease has spread, as we just showed. This isn't a K-State problem any more. There's no K-State conspiracy, or disrespect, or overlooking of that cute little story out on the Plains. In its pompous ignorance, the Sugar Bowl did everyone a favor in throwing enough light on itself and college football's other cockroaches to finally inspire real talk and hopefully change.
Until that happens, however, it leaves people like K-State Director of Athletics John Currie in a tough spot because he is the one who had to face a bewildered team and fan base. He had to try to explain why exactly the meetings and sales pitches he was a part of weren't enough to get the team to New Orleans. To his credit, Currie was as transparent and forthright in taking, and also placing, blame as he could be.
"I let us down," Currie told media, while speaking on a panel at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletic Forum, "because I didn't know the people well enough to do whatever we're supposed to do. If that's what we're going to be about, whoever had a relationship 40 years ago, I don't think that's the thing to stand up and tell student-athletes. 'Hey, you get to do this or this because of somebody else's relationship.'"
Currie is exactly right...sort of. He is right that current matchups should not be based on a Bowl's relationship with a certain program (including where the Bowl and school in question have had money change hands through donation. Va. Tech received $250,000 from the Sugar Bowl for student counseling following the school shooting in 2007. The cause was worthy, but should most certainly be noted in this situation).
However, Currie is not right that he let K-State down. Not even NBA Commissioner David Stern would have had the power to veto the move under this system (though it's rumored he tried since, well, he's David Stern, the original honey badger, and he don't give a crap).
No, you aren't at fault here, John. Not this time. This is on the system. It's just unfortunate and unlucky.