The Alabama Crimson Tide joining the national championship game sparked a national outrage, but it was a formal, practiced outrage. We knew the rematch was coming, whether we liked it or not -- and very few liked it -- but at least we were prepared. The Virginia Tech Hokies to the Sugar Bowl, on the other hand?
During hours of scouring bowl projections and putting together my own, I never once saw Virginia Tech mentioned as a potential BCS team. The Hokies had been blown out on national television the day before by a three-loss team that had itself been blown out by N.C. State, all of which tends to whittle the BCS predictions list.
Once Michigan was slotted as an easy financial investment into the Sugar Bowl, the game could've still guaranteed itself a profitable matchup by picking up Boise State, whose fans travel well, or nearby TCU. But it chose Virginia Tech, whose noteworthy attribute coming into the season was that soft schedule.
Did the Sugar Bowl pick the best ACC team available because it couldn't select a SEC team? The game has gone without a SEC team only 10 times since 1935, and most of those 10 included ACC or other southeastern teams. The last SEC-less Sugar was in 2000, when Virginia Tech played Florida State. So there's a culture to upkeep.
If that's somehow the case, the Sugar should be praised for taking the massive public relations hit in the name of tradition, but it's still a shame that the Hokies gained entry into a windfall game. The Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks, and Georgia Bulldogs were all more deserving than were the Hokies, but were forbidden by BCS rules, as was southeastern-ish TCU, which has actually beaten a good team, and Baylor, which has beaten several.
If you can't be talked into taking Boise State, at least take a team that was able to beat it.
As always, fault lies with the BCS, not at all with Virginia Tech, and only somewhat with the Sugar, which should've expanded its geographical concern out to Dallas just this once.