College Football: Look Again at the Consensus Preseason Poll Before the BCS Poll

Tim McGheeCorrespondent IIIOctober 1, 2010

The Bowl Championship Series of the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision is quickly approaching the first weekend of the BCS standings.

The components are two polls called “human polls” and an amalgamation of six computer ranking services called “computer polls.”

The human components comprise of a) a coaches’ poll of 65 FBS head coaches published by USA Today, and b) a poll of 114 ex-players, ex-coaches, and other college football experts established and operated by Harris Interactive, Inc., an international research firm.  Each human poll contributes one-third to the total rankings on the BCS poll.

The computer component is calculated by combining the outputs of six computer college football ranking services.  Each computer ranks the teams according to its preferred algorithms.  The rankings are combined, with that combination comprising the final one-third of the total BCS poll.

The developers and operators of the computer services are Jeff Anderson, Richard Billingsley, Wesley Colley, Peter Wolfe, Kenneth Massey, and Jeff Sagarin.  These six services claim key differences that set them apart from the other five.  However, to be a BCS computer service a) scoring margin of victory is to be ignored and b) strength of schedule must be considered.


Computers and football.  It’s funny.  I’ve seen both sides.  I am a nerd who, while I was a nerd, still started and played as a regular on a rather good high school football team.  Looking through both sets of eyes, I find rich irony in that historically college football players made fun of nerds, while now through the Bowl Championship Series nerds determine the degree of success of college football players.

I like that.



Before the BCS poll takes off, I want to share with you yet another poll. 

In an attempt to set a preseason benchmark, I took six highly regarded preseason polls and derived what I call a 2010 preseason consensus.

The six 2010 preseason polls are from:

  • The Associated Press Top 25
  • USA Today Coaches’ Top 25
  • The Sporting News
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Lindy’s
  •, as published in Yahoo! Sports

I scored each team as ranked in each of the six polls using the method of the Associated Press and the USA Today, which is 25 points for a first place vote, 24 points for a second place vote, and on and on. 

For my preseason poll, only 15 teams were scored.  That gave enough scores to allow for an accurate, functional, and reasonable preseason Top 20.


The Consensus 2010 Preseason Top 20 Poll

  1.       Alabama
  2.       Ohio State
  3.       Boise State
  4.       Texas
  5.       Florida
  6.       TCU
  7.       Nebraska
  8.       Iowa
  9.       Oregon
  10.       Wisconsin
  11.       Oklahoma
  12.       Virginia Tech
  13.       Miami
  14.       Pittsburgh
  15.       North Carolina
  16.       Oregon State
  17.       LSU
  18.       Penn State
  19.       Georgia Tech
  20.       Florida State

You can quickly see from this consensus poll that history has surpassed it.  Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Texas are craters that the electronic, print, and Internet media have already dealt with.

My explanation for why I did this anyway is:

When the initial 2010 Bowl Championship Series college football poll is released, it will represent the second time in six weeks during which all media participants are working within a baseline of information with all the information.

The first time was 2010 preseason.

All that we knew then were suppositions, and there were a lot of them.  And, that was the last time all of us had all the information.

Look over the Consensus 2010 Preseason Top 20 Poll before you examine the initial 2010 BCS poll.  Get your bearings then flow along with the remainder of the season.


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