It's not rocket science
By Joe Biddle
This is the final year of the BCS formula that determines the two teams that will play in the BCS Championship Game. Hold your applause.
The two teams are selected by a formula originally used in ancient days that pitted a lion against a human being. The man was selected by a group of sports media, a computer with a sundial hard drive and a bunch of Olympics coaches.
If the lion won, it got to eat its prey. If the gladiator won, he got to live. Not a bad prize, huh?
The BCS formula is very similar. A panel composed of 114 voters from media, former football players and coaches turn in their top 25 every week. Its official name is the Harris Interactive College Football Poll and it counts one-third of the formula.
Six computer rankings are in the mix, another one-third of the formula. Some of them use strength of schedule and other data to determine their votes. The highest and lowest numbers are thrown out, leaving the average of the other four rankings.
The final third part of the BCS pie belongs to the Coaches Poll. It consists of 59 active football coaches. You hear of a coach giving his ballot to a sports information employee to fill their ballots in.
That will all go away after this season. As a voter since its inception, I could not be happier.
You see, I don’t trust computers, football coaches or media to determine the two best teams that will play in the championship game.
Let’s face facts. Sports writers, TV sportscasters and radio talk show hosts don’t have the time to evaluate teams. They are usually covering a game on Saturday, driving to and from a game. How much time do they have to see all the games they need to see every week? Coaches are even worse. They see one game on Saturday. Theirs. They see the opponent and maybe catch some highlights Saturday night.
Saturday’s games handed voters an almost impossible job of sorting out the top 25 teams in order.
For starters, six former teams in the Associated Press’s Top 25 poll were upset, including No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 Georgia and No. 12 Oklahoma. Stanford and Oklahoma lost to unranked teams and Georgia lost to No. 25 Missouri. All together, six ranked AP Poll teams tasted the agony of defeat. Four teams that were ranked last week, lost games Saturday to unranked teams.
And how do you know the No. 24 team is better than the No. 25 team?
I had 5-1 Auburn at No. 25 in this week’s Harris Poll and Wisconsin No. 24. Wisconsin is 4-2, but beat Northwestern, which was ranked No. 19, 35-6. Their losses were at Arizona State and No. 4 Ohio State. Auburn lost at LSU, beat Mississippi State and No. 24 Ole Miss.
Fans love to debate rankings. It’s a no-win situation because it is largely subjective. They are quick to get their knickers in a twist if they feel their team is being disrespected.
Newspapers don’t help. Many of them still publish the AP poll, even though it is not included in the process to determine the top two teams.
There has been some controversy about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice possibly being a part of next year’s playoff panel. Why not? It’s not rocket science.
Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.