Sugar Bowl: Stop Complaining, it’s a case of Dirty Hands

December 7, 2011

Political Theory


Yap, yap, yap, the Sugar Bowl this year sucks, yap, yap, yap, my team deserved to be in it, yap, yap, yap, we beat a team that’s in it, yap, yap, yap, the BCS stands for bull s**t….

Am I the only one that is tired of hearing all of this? This is the system that we have, LIVE WITH IT. Every year when the BCS Bowls are announced there is relentless complaining and “yapping”, but until the system is changed there is no point in complaining, it will be the same year after year. The BCS Bowl system isn’t much different from our government structure: CAPITALISM. I can sum up one main point of capitalism in one word: MONEY. Money means ALL in our current society, so why do people not expect that to be extended to our Bowl System? I’m not saying that the system is right, but people expect large bowls to not even consider money? The BCS Bowls are one of the highest grossing sporting events in the U.S. year after year. So where does Hollis’ issue of dirty hands come into this problem? Well it happens when the teams are selected. If you don’t know about the selection process, here is an explanation. Once automatic qualifying teams are into the bowls, the controversy and dirty hands problem arises during the at-large selection process. Bowl-eligible teams SELECTED by the bowls themselves fill the remaining spots in the BCS bowls. The bowls have the freedom to choose ANY team they want in the top 14 of the BCS standings. This year possible at-large spots came down to Boise State (7) Kansas State (8) Virginia Tech (11) Baylor (12) and Michigan (13). The Sugar Bowl had a rare occasion where they were allowed to take two at-large teams. As many of you know the Sugar Bowl first selected Michigan and then Virginia Tech. This has been the source of much controversy as higher ranked teams Boise State and Kansas State were “unfairly” passed up, even though they had better seasons that the two selected teams. If we look at this closer we are presented with a problem of dirty hands stemmed from United States Capitalism.

When a team gets a automatic bid to a BCS game, that teams conference is paid 22 million dollars in net revenue, and when a second team from the same conference gets in, an additional 6 million dollars is paid to that conference. So the BCS is paying 28 million dollars for these teams to play in their bowl games! Now considering the money they are spending, wouldn’t it be wisest for the BCS to select the team(s) that would bring along the most revenue so they can make a profit, and also profit the cities businesses where the bowls take place? The total economic impact of the BCS games on the hosting cities is estimated by the BCS at over 1.2 billion dollars! In the Sugar Bowls case, this 1.2 billion dollars is much needed to help repair the city of New Orleans, so they are benefiting the whole city by bringing in more big name teams. So why was Boise State and Kansas State passed up in favor of Michigan and Virginia Tech? Well, to put it plainly Michigan and Virginia Tech are very highly followed football teams, and according to a statistics study, Michigan has the 2nd largest fan base in college football, and Va-Tech has the 13th, whereas Boise State and Kansas State sit at 57th and 60th respectively. Now when you can make an unfair decision to take the 2nd and 13th biggest followed teams compared to 57th and 60th, why would you not? The decision that the Sugar Bowl made to choose Michigan and Virginia Tech could be considered as dirty, but think of the enormous positive benefit it is going to have on the economy. New Orleans is going to receive over a BILLION dollars. Ticket sales for the game are going to be through the roof. In the first 24 hours of sale, 13,000 of the allotted 17,000 tickets to U of M were already sold. This is going to result in plane ticket purchases, gas purchases, food purchases and much more. The BCS is not the only benefactor of choosing two storied programs over smaller schools that may have had a better season. The city of New Orleans and overall economy will be receiving a larger impact by Michigan and Virginia Tech being chosen as well. So according to Hollis, the Sugar Bowl participated in a Dirty Hands decision. They made a decision that was unfair to some, and passed up more deserving teams, but overall the benefit of this decision will outweigh the consequences, thus being a prime example of the Dirty Hands theory.GO BLUE

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13 Comments on “Sugar Bowl: Stop Complaining, it’s a case of Dirty Hands”

  1. jacobdockser Says:

    There is no doubt that the selection of Michigan and Virginia Tech was the the result of the Sugar Bowl’s desire to generate as much money as possible. The Truth of the matter is that there are so many, rather meaningless, Bowls now that the goal has diverted from a good matchup to reward good teams, but a greed of making as much money as possible off of these Student-Athletes.

    While all 4 of the aforementioned teams deserved to play in the BCS, Michigan and Virginia Tech were selected so the sugar bowl could make more money. No doubt about that. But I do take issue with you saying that the BCS did this to generate more money (via tourism) for New Orleans. I do not think that had anything to do with the decision. I believe it purely came down to the Sugar Bowl’s desire to sell tickets. Michigan’s 2nd largest fan base will fill the seats, and unfortunately for themselves, Boise State and Kansas State, cannot.

  2. benjadler Says:

    The BCS is the system we have, and we endorse (or at least endorse enough to keep it around). Teams like Oklahoma State, that got snubbed from the title game, and teams like Baylor, Kansas State, Michigan State, and Boise State that complain that they were snubbed by the system have bought into it. This is just like electing a politician in a democracy who then commits an act of dirty hands. We elected him, therefore we share in his/her dirty hands. The same thing applies to the BCS. The coaches, players, universities, and fans approve of the system (or enough to keep it around) so therefore, we must all suffer the consequences of human voting or computer calculation errors. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy expressed it perfectly when he stated that the BCS was the system that he, his team, university, and OSU fans bought into and they had to accept the fact that they were not selected to play in the title game.

  3. blakesimons Says:

    It is without a doubt that the current system in place for college football postseason is flawed to some extent, at least from a fairness aspect. The system is inequitable to certain geographic regions (e.g., Boise, Idaho) and demographics. I’m a huge Michigan football and college football fan, but personally, I do not believe we deserved to make a BCS bowl, and I certainly do not think Virginia Tech deserved to make a BCS bowl. At the end of the day, as you stated in your post, money rules all and these bowls are just trying to make a profit. They don’t research the most equitable bowl scenario or the outcome with the two most deserving teams. They find the most profitable matchup.

    Now, while most would consider this to be immoral and wrong, they are doing it to benefit the economy, the host city, but also, themselves. The debate over whether this situation is a case of dirty hands falls in the question if BCS bowls, like the Sugar Bowl, are truly acting in favor of society as a whole. This would not be a case of dirty hands if the Sugar Bowl representatives were acting in their own favor (to increase TV ratings, per say); however, if the Sugar Bowl is acting, like you said, to stimulate the economy and benefit the whole city of New Orleans, then the case for dirty hands can be made.

  4. mrau188 Says:

    This is not necessarily a case of dirty hands outright but it does make sense a little bit. The goal for each bowl is to make as much money as feasibly possible because they only have one event a year to make as much money as they can. So when the sugar bowl realized they could get Michigan and Virginia Tech they knew that they would make a lot of money. Even though they were not the teams that truly deserved it the most because of their performance during the regular season, they were stills elected nonetheless. Also both have a very devout fan base that spreads all across the country and knew that if michigan was put into the game fans would travel from all over the country just to see them play. Both are wealthy universities and they know that they can make fans pay a lot of money just so they can see their teams play. It is going to be a great game and i hope michigan wins. LETS GO BLUE!!!!

  5. rmwells3 Says:

    There is an established system already intact which we abide to and follow. To say that is it isn’t a money making business is obviously false, but at the end of the day they are still adhering to the established system. They must decide who to give the at large bids to, i agree, but they are free to interpret who the best remaining at large teams are. Kansas State used to be a power house and have a huge alumni and fan base that would just as capably as Michigan show up to the Sugar Bowl. For me, the issue here isn’t that they choose the best money making schools, after all Boise State has been placed in two BCS Bowl Games in the past 5 years, but an issue of how do you actually know who is better of those remaining at large teams. Boise State plays no one talented except TCU for the entire course of the year and then expect to play in BCS over a team like Michigan that has a competitive game week in week out!! I think not! The only way to settle this is to create a playoff system; a 16 team playoff tournament based on the rankings. The last standing gets the national championship.

  6. jrmeller Says:

    Money, money, money, money. Like you said, that’s what this all comes down to. The BCS is a morally questionable system, one of many established in the United States. Every single year, there is at least one (if not more) team that is skipped over and not invited to partake in one of the BCS bowl games. Michigan was selected over Boise State, Baylor, Kansas State, and Michigan State to participate in this year’s sugar bowl. All the teams had a great year, and all are equally deserving to play, but putting a product that includes one of the most storied college football programs, with one of the most supportive fan bases is a no brainer. Michigan is notorious for having a fan base that travels in packs to watch its team, and has a network spanning all over the nation. By putting the U of M in the bowl game, not only will the city of New Orleans which is still economically unstable from the lasting effects of Katrina), but All-State, which sponsors the game, will earn maximum profits for their decision.

  7. zrobbins24 Says:

    I agree that people should just accept the BCS system the way it is. Let’s face it: until it changes, we have to deal with it. Personally, I like the large number of bowl games and watching teams that television networks do not normally broadcast. However, I believe that the four BCS bowls (not including the national championship game) should serve as the quarterfinals for a playoff that includes the top eight teams. That way, the four bowls still occur and the tradition of using the Rose Bowl and the other stadiums continues.

    Anyway, getting back to the issue of dirty hands, I believe that in some way, the BCS has dirty hands. A lot of the BCS is about making the most money possible. New Orleans will definitely benefit from Michigan and VaTech playing in the Sugar Bowl, but do not forget that the National Championship will also be played there a week later. Michigan fans will definitely travel there and the selectors knew that. However, I disagree with the VaTech selection. Boise St. should have been offered an invitation, because they had a more than deserving season this year (lost only one game by one point because of a missed field goal) and had a strong showing at their previous BCS bowl games proving that they would be able to sell tickets. Yet, the BCS decided to select VaTech over them because they believe that they will be able to sell more tickets and bring in more money. Thus, dirty hands did apply to this situation because the BCS did not chose the teams that did more during the season or were higher ranked, but those that will make them more money.

  8. cobyj17 Says:

    Interesting insight on their decision making process. However, I think the capitalist argument can only take you so far. At some point, you must draw the line as to what is simply unfair. While the BCS may have other interests at stake, their purpose as an institution is to pick the most deserving teams to play in the biggest games based on the quality of the team.

    They may be raking in the dough this year, but the BCS is risking their future economic viability by picking teams that may not be deserving of a bid. The more discontent caused by the BCS, the more likely that pressure from fans will force the system to change. There is already considerable widespread displeasure with the current playoff system. In fact, the United States Federal Government has even debated getting involved in changing the system. The more the BCS makes their decisions off of money instead of a team’s success, the more they put their future in jeopardy.

  9. carweiss Says:

    Honestly, I am so sick of hearing everyone bad mouth the BCS system. Although I wish there was a playoff because I do believe that this system has it flaws, we all have accept it for what it is. I probably would be more upset if Michigan hadn’t ended up in the Sugar Bowl, but there really is no clear answer to what should happen instead of the BCS. I thought the picking of Alabama over Oklahoma State was perhaps a bit ridiculous (although they did lose to Iowa State rather than LSU) and I understand the upset cries from Boise State, but people need to understand how truly complicated this whole process is and realize that, as your post states, it is all about the money. The only game that can really earn the name of true bowl game is the national championship game as those two teams rightfully deserve a spot on the big stage – no matter how many fans will follow. The rest of the system is like a corrupt government in which there is no “right” answer, only the solution that brings in the most money. Clearly, there is dirty hands, but how else is the system supposed to operate? This is a money-making business and it will continue to be so even if a new system is put in place. Dirty hands in this situation is an inevitable event and society just has to accept it.
    I think this season really caused a stronger uproar than in the past few years, and I hope that some new system is implemented because, honestly, who doesn’t want a playoff and more college football?

  10. jrphilli Says:

    Our world is full of dirty hands. In situations like this when the system allows for someone to pick from a batch of teams, they are not going to base the descision on who deserves it, who is the better team, no it is always about the money. Now, is this fair, no, but it is the system we all have allowed to happen. But it is not the BCS fault for being money hungery, because aren’t all sports about the money, professional and colleigate. If people want to fault them for picking two teams that will bring them the most money, then they can also be mad at all the television channels that play sports, because they are not going to play the team that won the most games, they are going to play the game of the most popular teams because that is what brings them the most money. Now the BCS may have dirty hands because they obviously skipped over teams with better seasons for the more popular teams, but in the end there decision will end up helping the city of New Orleans, and the schools playing,and their conferences. So, an unfair decision needed to be made so that other people would benefit.

    The BCS may have made an unfair decision, but who is to say it is unfair. They have a million bowls for the eligible teams, so they will get a bowl, just not as much money. So, is that what all the fuss is about, who is getting more money. When money is what is on everybody minds, and people will do what ever to get it, including getting dirty hands. The main purpose of most sports is to generate money. In a world where the money is disburse to make the rich richer and that its, this system is fair to them. When people make so much money off of one event, that the people helping them get that money are not seeing we have a problem. Now, yes college football could work on their system a little better, because compared to other systems there is a pick and choose, rather then by your ranking and season. But, hey that is football, and nobody has changed it yet.

    Now, in the mist of all the people disappointed by this and the people talking about this, whatever decision they made, all the money they are going to make is not going to help that fan that bought a ticket, it is going to put money in the hands of a few and New Orleans. So, the decision the BCS makes still will not put anymore money in our hands then if they picked Boise State and Kansas State.

  11. sgbraid Says:

    First off, let’s agree that the BCS system is solely on money — and on money only. There is no way to debate that statement after this year’s developments. The Sugar Bowl passed up two more-deserving teams in favor of raking in a bigger profit. There’s nothing wrong with it, we just have to agree that the BCS System is run that way.

    You pose the question,

    “So the BCS is paying 28 million dollars for these teams to play in their bowl games! Now considering the money they are spending, wouldn’t it be wisest for the BCS to select the team(s) that would bring along the most revenue so they can make a profit, and also profit the cities businesses where the bowls take place?”

    In a way, yes, it is wise — but only from the standpoint of being overly greedy. Your next statement says that the BCS makes 1.2 Billion dollars. Thats a ton of money! paying a team 22 million dollars in nothing compared to 1.2 Billion dollars. It’s proven that small schools like Boise State and Kansas state will not affect the ratings, and in turn, affect the amount of profit this Bowl games will make. Last year, TCU — a school on the same level of Boise State and Kansas state in terms of their fan base — played Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Rose bowl profits did not suffer, and this leads me to believe that the Sugar Bowl would not have suffered much if they had chosen Boise State or Kansas State to participate in their bowl game.

  12. wjpetok24 Says:

    I’m not quick to argue the 2012 Sugar Bowl selection of Michigan and Virginia Tech as a case of dirty hands simply because the BCS selection process has proven itself flawed since its inception in 1998. The BCS assumes a lot of criticism every year and its imperfect nature always finds a way to disappoint certain Universities deserving better postseasons.

    This year, the unlucky teams (Boise State, Kansas State, Arkansas, Michigan State) reflect the larger problem in the realm of college athletics. Corporate greed and corruption are commonplace, ripping away opportunities at national attention and prominence for schools in dire need for their economic standing. Though Michigan’s attendance in the game benefits myself personally, I understand the plight of the fans from Boise and Kansas State. The direct revenue from a BCS game could elevate their athletic programs to new heights if given the opportunity.

    Regardless, If i was in the business of running a bowl game, searching for the most revenue and business to my game/city, I’d try to bring in the most popular programs. It is just business, and Michigan was lucky enough to benefit from a strong fan base and national appeal.

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