Gonna revise my theory. Maybe its not necessarily "play a good non-con SOS and you are in", maybe its more like "if you play a horrid non-con SOS, you better have a terrific year or we're throwing you out, and we don't care how tough your conference is".
in other words, playing people doesn't get you in, but not playing people outside your conference may kill you. Colorado had one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the country, and beating K-State 3 times apparently didn't make up for that. Did we get any marginal tournament teams who had a non-con SOS above about 200?
how many emo kids does it take to change a lightbulb?
none they just sit in the dark and cry