Bowl Championship Series revamps its ratings system, computers will take a smaller role

by Kent Erdahl

The Bowl Championship Series ironed out yet another wrinkle in its formula for college football standings last week.

The BCS, which determines the teams that play in the National Championship game and the rest of the Bowl Championship Series games, announced that it will rely on a leaner statistical ratings system.

The revamped system will drastically reduce the amount of computer influence, which BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said will help clarify the top-two teams.

Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he thinks any change should be an improvement.

“Anytime efforts are made to make it better it only makes sense,” Maturi said. “Obviously we don’t know where it will lead, but it looks like a step in the right direction.”

The new system will use three components instead of five; the AP writers’ poll, the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and computer rankings. Each component will count for one-third of a team’s overall ranking.

“In analyzing the BCS standings, we wanted to develop a ranking formula that would be simpler and more precise,” Weiberg said.

The new formula will rely more heavily on the results from the two major polls, almost guaranteeing a consensus No.1 and No. 2.

In the past the BCS combined the two polls into just one component. The three eliminated components – strength of schedule, team record and quality-win factor – had each carried more power than the individual polls.

By relying on the two polls, the BCS will basically ensure that computers will not get in the way if both the media and coaches agree on the top-two teams.

If still not perfect, the system should at least relieve some of the tension between the two polls. The new method will tally all the points a team receives in each poll instead of averaging and combining them, as in years past.

“This formula goes a long way to eliminate some of the controversy surrounding previous match-ups as we continue to improve the system,” Weiberg said.

The remaining component will consist of six different computer rankings. A team’s highest and lowest computer ranking will be thrown out before figuring the average.