Blog Entry

BCS fumbles final standings

Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:51 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 9:23 pm

If you read Jerry Palm's scoop Monday, then you know we came close to the end of the Bowl Championship Series.

Palm discovered, by simply checking the math, that Wes Colley's computer rankings -- one of six computer indexes used to determine BCS standings -- were wrong in the final BCS standings. It was a minor glitch -- Colley missed the Appalachian State-Western Illinois score. Minor -- this time. It caused a switch in the standings between No. 11 Boise State and No. 10 LSU.

But what if the mistake had changed the order of the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams? In other words, changed which team was playing in the national championship game. The outcry would have burned the BCS to the ground. Trust me, I know these people. You thought the commissioners were upset with the Cam Newton NCAA decision last week? They have actual control over what occurred on Monday. Imagine BCS director Bill Hancock telling No. 2 Oregon, "Woops, sorry. Our bad. TCU is really supposed to play for the national championship."

Court battles would have been the beginning of the controversy. Picture Oregon having to get a court injunction to play for the national championship. In the end the BCS would have ended. It would have lost total credibility. I know, I know, it doesn't have much credibility with the public now. But at least most of us accept Oregon-Auburn as the "right" national championship game.  After this kind of screw-up, I imagine the bowls would have advocated a switch back to the old system.

At least in the arranged bowl marriages of the past, schools had somewhat of a say in things. This is potential death by arithmetic. Boise's elevation did enhance, in some small way, the Mountain West's quest for automatic qualifier status in 2012 and 2013. Boise's recent success will be applied to the Mountain West during a four-year evaluation of the BCS worth of all conferences.

Suddenly we're all thinking the same thing: How many BCS errors haven't been caught? Are the right teams even playing?

The only reason Palm caught Colley's error is that Colley makes his formula available. None of the other five masters of BCS computer indexes release theirs, not even to the BCS. That's right, the BCS assumes their numbers are right. Colley was wrong because he relied on a database assembled by fellow BCS computer honcho Peter Wolfe. Wolfe told me that Colley had picked up his scores before they were updated with the App State-Western Illinois game.

Kind of adds new meaning to the BCS motto: Every Game Counts.

This is a database, Wolfe said, that he meticulously maintains and is cross-checked by Jeff Sagarin, probably the most well known of the BCS computer guys.

"This is my 10th year, every year there are 4,000 games. That's 40,000 games," said Wolfe from Los Angeles where he is an associate clinical professor at the UCLA medical school. "I do my best. I'm sorry this happened. In general this is unfortunate, we're all human. I do this because I'm interested in it. If my name is on something, I want it to be right."

Hancock was in touch with Wolfe Monday asking what had happened. There was a subsequent BCS release Monday night that quoted Hancock: "I was deeply disturbed when I learned about this today. This error should not have happened and is unacceptable." Hancock added that the issue will be "near the top of the agenda" during the spring BCS meetings.

Is the potential there to infect the whole system with bad math? Not in this case. Wolfe's scores are accessible to anyone on his website. Colley just happened to use the numbers before they had been updated. The core issue here remains that aside from Colley, the computer guys do not reveal their formulas.

"It is something we have developed," Wolfe said. "It does have some [proprietary] value."

Like me, you're probably wondering why the BCS can't find six guys who will make their formulas public.

"You're right," Wolfe said. "It is trust."

With a national championship now potentially at stake, the BCS, then, is asking us for what dwindling trust is left.

"We don't know if any of these guys are right ...," Palm said. "Could you imagine if we had to change who played in the BCS title game today?"

Already have. It would have been a disaster, leading to a real death to the BCS.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:17 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

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Since: Oct 12, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:32 am

BCS fumbles final standings

How did the Appalachian State-Western Illinois game tell us anything about whether or not Boise State is better than LSU?

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2010 8:03 pm

BCS fumbles final standings


This is your dumbest post yet.


Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2010 7:14 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

When the BCS sent out its final rankings Sunday night, the press release contained a quote from coordinator Bill Hancock. "Once again, the BCS has delivered," Hancock said.
The BCS delivered all right. It delivered a mistake.

wow! really??? we as fans knew this was a scam and these so called computers have been in question for YEARS! not for one second did i think these computers were true and guess what...they havent. and lets make all of them public and have a person outside of football check it weekly. do you think things will change then??? 

one by one this fraud way we determine a national champion in college football is being outed. this thing needs to blow up in their faces. and what morons...we go back to the old ways....HOW ABOUT WE actually make a plan that works....a PLAYOFF and if you have at least 8 wins you get a bowl. they wouldnt even need half the idiot bowls of 6-6 teams playing in them. its not that tough to figure out. CHEATS! WE KNEW IT and BUSTED!

Since: Aug 24, 2010
Posted on: December 7, 2010 5:49 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

LCD:  Big conferences have told the BCS, we do not wish to play any AQ school in a major bowl.  So With these instructions the computer programs are adjusted by properly weighting their SOS, which explains the crazy volatility during the last several weeks.  BSU (non AQ) vs Utah (non AQ) is OK.  Just as BSU vs TCU last year was OK.  No one has access to how these computer programs are weighted.  It is not a question of errors, but dishonesty that is the central issue.    

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2010 5:09 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

Kenealy(I got no respect)13:

The playoff senario is one I love.  To think we have winners of those games playing in another top game just a week later.  It would be the best thing ever, with people glued to every game.  But Auburn, as the top seed getting Bama again and Oregon getting Nevada seems a bit unfair.  For that reason I would actually prefer they let every conference champion into the field of 16, so that you can give the top teams the Sun Belt, Conference USA or MAAC champion in the first game.  Or at least have a selection commitee to avoid such a first round match up(in state rivalary, or in season repeat) for you're top team.

However, If we started the season knowing we were looking for the top 16 teams for a playoff, the voters and the BCS rankings would have made sure that Nevada would be 17 or higher (probably replaced by Nebraska).  Heck, they might even find a way to get Boise out of the top 16.

With this realization that our BCS computers are actually ran by humans that can make errors, and we only can check the work of ONE of the six, I don't think the BCS rankings could reliably be used to determine who the top 16 really are.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:45 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

The BCS and NCAA cannot see the forest for the trees. Obviously, the only reason college football is set up this way is for $$$.  That's the way it's always been, and always will be under the current (and even old) bowl game/BCS structure.  There is little to no interest in determining which teams are actually the most deserving in playing for the National Title.  Maybe all these bowl committees and BCS conferences are content with their piece of the pie, and don't want to risk losing any of it.  But can you imagine how popular a 16 team playoff would be???  The money to be made on that is ENDLESS!!  Look at the amount of excitment there is EVERY year around the NCAA basketball tourney.  Having 8 incredible matchups in one weekend would have to be a gold mine.  Then to follow up with three more weekends of great college football, ending with a National Championship Game.  It actually makes me sad to think that for years, and years, this has been ignored by the decision makers.

Example, if we went by the top 16 in the BCS standings, here would be the first round matchups......

Alabama(16) vs Auburn (1)
Arkansas (8) vs Mich State (9)

Stanford (4) vs Va Tech (13)
Wisconsin (5) vs Mizzou (12)

Oregon (2) vs Nevada (15)
Oklahoma (7) vs Boise St (10)

TCU (3) vs Okla St. (14)
Ohio State (6) vs LSU (11)

And that still leaves A&M, Nebraska, Utah, South Carolina, Miss. St., WVU, FSU, Hawaii, and a slew of other decent teams left to play in random bowl games? 

Sickening that it's not done this way, absolutely sickening.

Since: Jul 2, 2010
Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:58 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

Will Boise Truck Driving School fan just shut up and go away now?? For the love of God. A recent huco constantly whining how the should be in the championship game, SICKENING.  Not too long agao, you where a JUCO, ffs.University of Pheonix-Boise campus,lmao.

Since: Aug 21, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:51 pm

BCS fumbles final standings

I have to agree. Although teams have to play I-AA teams for the almighty dollar, there should be a rule saying they can only play 1 a year... Or instead of I-AA teams just play a game against a MAC or WAC or SunBelt team. They are in same I-A field. I like the idea of not counting those wins as wins but counting the losses. Maybe give 2 losses. Michigan should never lose to App St and Va TEch should never lose to James Madison. Inexcusable. Lately the Big 10 has been playing some decent to great OOC games, but once they go to 9 conference games I have a feeling those 3 free dates are going to become crap. I think strength of schedule should be included back into the BCS. Give teams more incentive to schedule tough OOC games. Give the fans what they want and reward teams for coming out of their panzy shells. That's just my 2 cents. Or if we go to a 4-8 team playoff, 1-2 losses wont look as bad if they came against top tier competition.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:57 am

BCS fumbles final standings

This article makes me wish that either of the service academies would go 12-0 in the very near future. Can you imagine the BCS having to wait another week to see if either would become BCS bowl-eligible or get to No. 1 or No.2 in the final BCS rankings. And they would probably get more respect than Boise St., TCU and Utah. Think of the possibilities!!!

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