NCAA Football

How the BCS Rankings Should Look

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The initial BCS rankings are out and everyone is already hot n’ bothered. Oregon is a consensus #1, but ranked second in the BCS. Oklahoma has the top spot, but is a distant third in both human polls. What about Boise State, do they have a chance? Is Auburn going to get shut out again or will their conference schedule boost them up? After all, Auburn is in the SEC.

You don’t have to be a computer nerd to understand the BCS formula. Its pretty easy. First, ignore the rankings in the human polls and focus only on the “points” a team has. For the coaches poll, take the points and divide by 1485; for the Harris poll, take the points and divide it by 2850. Take those two numbers and add them together. That combined number counts for 2/3 of a team’s BCS points.

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The final third of the BCS is comprised of six computer polls that all have their own method to ranking teams. The #1 ranked team gets 25 points, #2 gets 24 points and so on down. Then throw out a team’s best and worst ranking, add up the four middle rankings and divide by 100. That number accounts for the final third of the BCS ranking.

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Believe it or not, the computer’s third has more value then the human polls. The Harris and Coaches Poll usually mirror each other and the point allocation allows for the lower ranked teams to have more of a chance, thus emphasizing the computers. For instance, Oklahoma is ranked #3 in both human polls and in a sport where only the top two teams get in, the difference between #2 and #3 is huge!. However, when you use the points to convert rankings into a decimal point, the two teams are separated by only less than a tenth of a percent.

College football is famous for not having a playoff, so we decided to rank the four top teams. We left TCU off this list because after long analysis, we feel the only way the Horned Frogs get in is all four of these teams (and LSU) lose. We also left LSU off this list because they are the most likely to lose of the top rated BCS teams and are projected to lose this weekend at Auburn.

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AccuScore is a statistical forecasting engine that uses player stats, history and tendencies to project what will happen in games that have not yet been played. While the BCS computers rank teams on weekly basis, AccuScore has taken a different approach. At this point in time, we have identified four (4) legitimate contenders for the two spots in the BCS Championship Game:

They are: Boise State, Oregon, Oklahoma and Auburn.

We created a round robin format where each team played each other and then re-ran the simulations 10,000 times.

Unlike the BCS formula, AccuScore factors in all player data, which means we account for margin of victory and potentially running up the score. This creates more gaudy stats for Boise State and Oregon who have multiple blowout wins, and a more realistic stat line for Oklahoma who won what can be perceived as close games vs. Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati.

The best basis for ranking these teams would be how they played against one another. Here are our rankings:

1. Oregon
2. Boise State
3. Oklahoma
4. Auburn

Regarding Oregon (3-0): The Ducks beat Oklahoma by 3, Auburn by 5 and Boise State by 1 point.

Regarding Boise State (2-1): The Broncos beat Oklahoma by 1, Auburn by 5 and lost to Oregon by 1 point.

Regarding Oklahoma (1-2): The Sooners lost 30-27 to Oregon and 29-28 to Boise State; their only win was a four point victory over Auburn.

Regarding Auburn(0-3): The Tigers lost to both Oregon and Boise State by 5 points, and Oklahoma by 4 points.