Blog Entry

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:01 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 3:11 am

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the Inside College Football crew discussing which of the BCS components is least credible. It's a little too constrained by brevity for my tastes, but I'm glad there's a discussion being framed around the demerits of the system. That said, I'm generally of the opinion that since all three components have grave issues of integrity, arguing about what might be the worst of the three is sort of missing the point.

The Harris poll is not conducted openly like the AP poll, even at its most basic levels, and that's a major problem. The coaches poll, as I'm sure you're all tired of hearing from me by now, is a joke until the last week, and even then the coaches don't appreciate the scrutiny and would love to opt out of making their ballots public. But for as ill-informed as the polling is, at least the one poll that has the consequential heft to it is open, so at least we can see what makes up that component of the BCS rankings when it matters. That is the best thing I can say about any aspect of the BCS.

And as for the computers, the formulas should be made public and verifiable, period (currently, only the Colley algorithm is public). We shouldn't have to wait until a televised Sunday night BCS reveal to see what the computer rankings are; we ought to be able to figure them out for ourselves and ensure their accuracy. Otherwise, who's to say that a certain computer ranker wouldn't just game the stats and nudge a team a place or two -- just a little bit -- at some  friendly AD's request? I'm sure they would all thunder that such a thing has never happened, but computer poll operator Kenneth Massey openly admits that it could for the right price. That's a pretty enormous red flag, no?

Now, the point Randy Cross makes at the end of the clip above, that the BCS usually gets the right two teams into the title game at the end of the year, is correct. That was the job it was created to perform -- to select the two best candidates to play in a national title game -- and by and large there aren't many complaints about its ability to do that. OK, forget what I said above, that's the best thing I can say about any aspect of the BCS.

The problem, however, lies in A: that it's still not a playoff, and B: the rankings are used for purposes other than selecting a national championship matchup. Specifically, they're used for the purposes of assigning at-large BCS bowl invites, which means they play a role in the allotment of BCS bowl prize money. So we've got a system that controls the disbursement of over $100 million dollars in total, every year, and the computers specifically are being run by processes operating under no official supervision. If that game hasn't been rigged, nobody in the NCAA is even trying. Is this not college football? Are we not ever operating in the gray areas when it comes to money and ethics? Heck, is this not America?

Seriously, we take minutes out of games to look at instant replay just to spot a ball, or to stare at whether a receiver's toe stayed in or out of bounds. We argue over minutiae on the field, and regulate the food given to recruits and athletes off it. And don't you dare give one of the kids money, because the NCAA can audit their bank accounts. But where millions of dollars and the highest-profile postseason bowls are concerned, the selection process is purportedly mathematical, but really just runs on a few people's word. That is utter insanity and a mockery of this great sport.


Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:21 pm

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

The BCS system, by and large, has been about 90% accurate in determining the two "best" teams to play for the NC.  Not bad considering the great debates that emerged during previous NC crowning methods.  Obviously, "best" is based on varying definitions and is in the eye of the beholder (fan).  The real problem I have is not with the amount of money generated/dispursed, but that this mythical BCS body has now dictated the current changing conference landscape we're in.  Each conference not only wants to exist, but be considered an AQ to meet BCS consideration.  I don't know why all 120 FBS institutions couldn't just agree to boycott the BCS to force elimination of the AQ requirement.  If all conferences had equal opportunity for ranking and consideration, there should be no complaints about teams no getting their shot provided their competition was viable and they proved their merit on the field.

As far as a playoff goes, I was initially not in favor, but after doing some additional brainstorming I have come up with a plan that would not only accommodate up to 8 (deserving) teams, but would also not extend the all.  This year for example, quarter-final games would be played on Dec 17 using existing bowls.  Semifinals would be played on Dec 31 or New Years day also using existing bowls, and the NCG would be 7 days later.  It would not extend the season, but only increase the number of games within the season for the teams in the playoffs, which is fair.  The BCS rankings could still be used to determine the final 8, but they MUST have won their conference AND be selected in BCS rank order.  So, last year's AQ UConn would not have been selected, even though they won their would have been Nevada or Boise if I'm not mistaken, who were ranked higher in the BCS standings.

Since: Oct 19, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:00 pm

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

$$$$ - play off will never happen - $$$$

Playoffs mean that the season will run into College Basketball - networks won't let it happen.

Coaches Poll:  At best they watch game highlights or look at game stats (which we all know never tells the whole story).

Harris Poll:  only a select few get to vote?  I also don't understand who they mean "administrators." &n
bsp;Are these guys AD's?

I belive that the computer polls should be verified by an outside source, but.....

Do these guys on the clip actually think they can understand the STATICAL formula?  Most of these guys are ex-players (college major: basket-weaving)  or broadcast majors.  They CAN"T even read and understand the formula much less verify it!!!!

STUCK in BCS limbo.     


Since: Jun 6, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:11 pm

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

The BCS is the biggest scam in NCAA history.

The formation of mega conferences is the perfect senario for a PLAY OFF SYSTEM.

Get rid of the computers and play W's against W's until a single team remains.

It's a no brainer.     


Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 10:37 am

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

fantastic post, especially the last paragraph. 100 million dollars is disbursed based on trusting a few computer geeks?

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:12 am

Which BCS component is least credible? All of 'em

I never liked the computer rankings for what the article says, the formulas are not public and can be fixed. I trust the polls more than the computers.

The old BCS formula used to have a strength of schedule component, a loss penalty, and a quality win component. All of those components were objective, clear to all, and objective (as opposed to the computer rankings). Of course, the stupid BCS gets rid of these components and keeps the worst criteria of all.

I wouldn't trust the BCS with scissors.

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