Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/4/11
A tweet by redshirt freshman Tony Lippett in the wee hours after Saturday's loss in the Big Ten championship game to Wisconsin summed up the feelings of many at Michigan State. "There is no way them bums down the street should go to a BCS game over us and that's real talk," Lippett, a defensive backreceiver, tweeted. Actually, there is a way, and it happened. While Michigan State (10-3) defeated Michigan (10-2) and also won the Legends Division title, the Spartans lost out on a BCS at-large bid to the Wolverines. Michigan will face Virginia Tech (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 in New Orleans. Michigan State settles for the Outback Bowl, where it will take on Georgia (10-3) Jan. 2 in Tampa. The BCS' sole purpose is to create a match-up for the national championship. The rest of the BCS bowls, if they have an at-large selection, are permitted to take any eligible team. The Michigan brand name, along with the fact the Wolverines haven't appeared in a big-time bowl in recent years and have a high-profile player like quarterback Denard Robinson, made them attractive to the Sugar Bowl. To be eligible for a BCS at-large spot, a team must finish in the top-14 of the final BCS standings. The loss to Wisconsin, despite coming in the conference championship, dropped Michigan State from No. 13 to 17. Michigan, which didn't play, jumped from No. 16 to 13. The BCS standings are a combination of three elements: the USA TODAY Coaches' Poll, the Harris Poll and a variety of computer rankings. In the end, Michigan qualified for the BCS at-large while Michigan State didn't. None of it sits well with the Spartans. "Michigan sat home (Saturday night) on the couch and watched us," senior quarterback Kirk Cousins told reporters in Saturday's post-game interviews. "We played our hearts out. I don't know how you can get punished for playing, and someone else gets to sit on the couch and get what they want. "If this is the way the system is, I guess it's a broken system." That's simply how the bowl business works -- for better and often for worse. The bowls are most interested in selling tickets and getting higher TV ratings. They take the marquee programs with storied traditions whenever they can get them. At times, that comes at the expense of teams that arguably deserve those bids more based on how they performed on the field. Michigan State is moving up in the college-football world with back-to-back 10-win seasons, but the Spartans are a long way from breaking into the elite crowd. It might not seem fair, but that's how it goes, much to the frustration of the little guys on the block. "I believe we deserve a BCS bid," Michigan State receiver B.J. Cunningham said. Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, who can be one of the more outspoken Spartans, chose not to get into the debate when asked after the Big Ten title game whether it would be difficult to take if Michigan received a better bowl invite than Michigan State. "Not really," Worthy said. "We can't really worry about the BCS now. Whoever we end up playing in the bowl game, we're going to get up and be ready to play. Whether it's in the BCS, whether it's not, Spartans travel well, we'll be ready." Extra points Asked following Saturday's game about his future intentions, Worthy said, "I'm not thinking about nothing about the future. All I can say, I'm a part of Michigan State as we speak right now. That's the goal for next year (to return to the Big Ten championship game). Whether I'm here or not, that's the goal. As a team, we will be back here next year." Worthy, a fourth-year junior defensive tackle, could opt to enter the NFL draft. Many people assume he'll do just that because he's been projected as a probable early first-round selection. ... Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the head-coaching vacancy at Illinois. ... The Little Caesars Bowl -- Dec. 27 at Ford Field in Detroit -- will feature Western Michigan (7-5) against Purdue (6-6).
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