Income inequality has become a hot topic for debate in the wake of the Occupy movements that have sprung up around the world during the past few months. In short, the Occupiers are protesting an economic system in which, they believe, 99% percent of us are barred from the riches and opportunities hoarded by the ultra-rich 1% at the top of the financial food chain.
In other words, it's a world in which Boise State plays in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22 against the unranked Arizona State despite being ranked as the nation's No. 7 college football team in the final BCS standings.
According to those who rallied in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland and so many other places around the country, the elited monied class is actively working against the world's wealth being distributed in a more equal fashion according to merit rather than social standing. At the (acknowledged) risk of oversimplifying two extremely complex problems, this all sounds sort of like what Boise State coach Chris Peterson said after learning that his team was bound for Vegas for a game to be played before Christmas.
"Everybody is just very tired of the BCS," Petersen told The Idaho Statesman, "I think that's the bottom line. Everybody is frustrated. Everybody doesn't really know what to do anymore. It doesn't make sense to anybody. I don't think anybody is happy anywhere."
This is the fourth year that Boise State has entered the bowl season as one of the Top 10 teams in the nation yet not received a lucrative invite to a BCS game. Of course, the Broncos weren't the only teams not to land a BCS spot -- and the ensuing payout -- that the rankings indicated they had earned.
"Why are we even voting if they're all left out of games like that?" Petersen continued. "It doesn't make any sense. I don't know who it makes sense to. I haven't heard anybody say, 'This is pretty good.' Everybody goes, 'This is really bad.'"
Along with Boise State, Kansas State and Arkansas were passed over by the BCS despite being ranked among the top 10 schools. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech and Michigan were tapped by the BCS' Sugar Bowl despite being ranked 11th and 13th. Michigan's selection was especially galling to some as they were tapped ahead of Michigan State despite the fact that Michigan State had beaten them head to head and earned a place in the Big 10 Title Game, where they lost to Wisconsin. With a larger national following and one fewer loss by virtue of staying at home while conference title games were being played, the Wolverines rested their way into a much larger pay day.
The infographic below not only shows approximately* how much each school participating in a college football bowl game this year will earn but also shows the geographic distribution of the wealth. Not surprisingly, SEC country seems to be raking in the cash. As you'll see, Boise State is tied for 19th-highest bowl payout despite having the seventh best football team.
*Bowl payouts listed are approximate in some cases and culled from a variety of sources. Payouts can be divided among schools in the same conference as the bowl participant, widely affecting the dollar amount that ultimately goes into a school's coffers.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this graphic listed the University of Missouri and the University of North Carolina as receiving $1,650,000 each. It has been corrected to list both schools as receiving $1,150,000. The graphic also improperly referred to Ohio University as University of Ohio. That error has been corrected as well.