The Michigan and Michigan State football teams couldn’t both be satisfied when the BCS bowls were announced Sunday. Only one spot remained for an at-large Big Ten team, under the BCS’s rules and guidelines.
Though the Spartans lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, 42-39, they thought they rightfully deserved that spot. Having already beaten Michigan in the regular season, they had a case.
“Michigan sat home tonight on the couch and watched us,” said Michigan State senior quarterback Kirk Cousins after the game. “We played our hearts out — you saw it. I don’t see how you get punished for playing and someone else gets to sit on the couch and get what they want.”
At the time, Michigan sat at No. 16 in the BCS standings, needing to jump two spots into the top 14 to become eligible for an at-large selection. Michigan State was ranked No. 13, and despite the Spartans’ pleas, the Wolverines did hop them in the rankings — ultimately securing a BCS bid over Michigan State.
Moments after the Wolverines learned they were heading to the Sugar Bowl, they didn’t offer much sympathy for the Spartans.
“If (Cousins) wants to go sit on the couch and go watch us play in the Big Ten Championship Game, then he can do that,” said fifth-year senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen. “We would love to trade places and have that chance and have that opportunity.
“All complaints aside, they had an opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl. It was sitting right in front of them to grab and they didn’t seize the opportunity. I think they’ll do well in the Outback Bowl, but best of luck. Best wishes. We’re going to the Sugar Bowl and we’re excited about it.”
In the final coaches poll, which accounts for a portion of the BCS formula, Michigan coach Brady Hoke ranked his team No. 11 and the Spartans No. 13.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had his team at No. 12 and the Wolverines at No. 13 in his final ballot.
Naturally, there was going to be dissension between the rivals.
“I’d rather play in the Big Ten Championship Game — the inaugural Big Ten Championship,” said senior tight end Kevin Koger. “That says a lot about the team that played in it. I would’ve been happy to trade places with (Cousins).”
RIMINGTON WATCH: The Big Ten’s best offensive lineman could soon be named the nation’s top center.
Fifth-year senior David Molk was named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best center. It’s the second-consecutive season Molk has been named a finalist for the award.
Van Bergen, Molk’s roommate, thought the first-team All-Big Ten center was worthy of the distinction.
“Well you know Molk, he’s such a jabber-jaw that he’s so hard to keep contained,” Van Bergen said, tongue in cheek. “That’s all he does is run around the house and tell me how he’s such a better (offensive) lineman than me. And I tell him, ‘I don’t even play (offensive) line.’
“No, I mean, I couldn’t be more happy for Dave Molk and what he’s accomplished. He works so hard and is a tremendous worker. As far as national accolades go, the sky is the limit for him. I know there is still the Rimington to be announced and I think he is the prime candidate for that. I mean, he is the best center in the country — hands down.”
Molk will find out if he wins during Thursday night’s ESPN College Football Awards show. The winner will be determined by picking a consensus first-team center from four All-America teams — America Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
If he wins, Molk would join David Baas (2004) as the only other Wolverine to have won the Rimington.
HARDWARE FOR HOKE: Bo Schemebechler is the only Michigan coach to have won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award — given to the nation’s best coach, as voted on by the FWAA, in Division-I football. In 1969, Schembechler won it in his first season as the Wolverines’ coach.
On Monday, Hoke was named one of the award’s five finalists.
Schembechler (1969) and Lloyd Carr (1997, 2006) were the only Michigan coaches to previously be named finalists.
The announcement came on the heels of Hoke winning both coach of the year awards in the Big Ten, as voted by the coaches and the media, last week.
Hoke’s argument for the award is strong. He guided Michigan to a 10-win season and a Sugar Bowl berth after the tumultuous Rich Rodriguez era came to an end in January.
But Hoke’s competition is stiff. The other finalists include LSU’s Les Miles, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 15.