Warning, Warning!: College Football Computer Rankings Are Dangerous to the BCS
You know the storyline.
An invading alien threatens to eliminate the space family Robinson.
To protect the family, the computerized robot waves his arms wildly and states, "warning, warning, danger."
Maybe the Bowl Championship Series should be advised of the threat to their world.
The BCS is the select province of the well-to-do football schools. A quick review of the teams invited since its inception in 1998 reads like a "who's who" in gridiron history.
According to the latest "non-biased" Elo-Chess rankings prepared by computer Guru Jeff Sagarin, the No. 1 team in the land is a real surprise.
The scary thought to the BCS Bowls is the Elo-Chess ranking system is used by the BCS to help determine the final placement of teams in the poll.
If sponsors have to ante-up for some of these matches in their precious advertising venues, we may find a change to the system before next season.
Who are the other schools listed in this computer poll? Let's look at the "11 Best 11s" as of the final week in October.
No. 11: Georgia Tech
The ACC leading Yellow Jackets are 7-1 at this point of the season.
No. 11 seems too low for the top team in a "BCS" conference.
Since this position is consistent with the view of the writers and coaches, there should be no real disagreement.
No. 10: Arizona
At 5-2, this ranking appears to be playing with the facts.
The Wildcats have performed above expectations, but losses to Iowa and Washington offset their fine wins over Central Michigan and Stanford.
No. 9: Louisiana State
No argument here. Compares favorably with the view of the writers and coaches.
No. 8: Texas Christian
Undefeated and apparently headed for BCS-action later in the season.
The writers agree with the rating, the coaches have the Horned Frogs two positions higher.
No. 7: Southern California
The Trojans and their followers are no doubt shocked to see the Men of Troy ranked so low.
The writers and coaches have USC as the fourth-best team in the land.
No. 6: Cincinnati
The Bearcats are undefeated and leading a BCS conference.
This rating squares with the view of the writers and coaches.
No. 5: Oregon
Somewhat surprising given the coaches' ranking of 12 and the writers' placement at No. 10.
No. 4: Boise State
Strong statement concerning a unit that goes about the business of defeating everyone put in front of them.
The coaches have the Broncos at No. 5 while the writers have the "Men in Blue" as the No. 6 team.
The Crimson Tide is ranked as No. 2 by the writers and coaches.
No. 2: Florida
For months, the Gator followers have treated this season as an exercise in the inevitable crowning of the first ever back to back BCS Champion.
What does the machine know that others have only suspected? Even coach Urban Meyer seems concerned.
Florida is ranked No. 1 by both the coaches and writers.
No. 1: Iowa
Here is a team every bit as dangerous as they look.
With all apologies to Ohio State and Michigan, this Hawkeye team might be the strongest Big 10 team in the history of the BCS era.
One should note the writers have Iowa as No. 7 and the coaches have them as No. 8.
Now, that is a difference of opinion!
Who are the also-rans?
As shocking as the 11 listed are to many, it is more surprising to find that undefeated Texas, ranked No. 3 by coaches and writers, is only No. 14 in the computer.
The California Bears, with two losses, follow right behind the Longhorns in the No. 15 position.
Of course, the old saying about computers could be true.
Garbage in, garbage out.