BCS Rankings 2010: 5 Things We Learned From the First BCS Poll
The first BCS rankings were released this weekend and thus begins the race to be ranked in the top two spots and secure a spot in the BCS National Championship game.
The BCS is one of the most talked about concepts in all of sports. Many people are against it and would much rather have a playoff to determine the national champion.
Nevertheless, it is the system that we have and for this year we must live with it. By the end of the season it is almost guaranteed that there will be some controversy with the BCS and at least one team that feels it got snubbed.
Here are five things we learned from the first BCS rankings.
The BCS Overrates Ohio State and Misplaces Wisconsin
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Year after year we have seen Ohio State climb up the rankings only to get demolished in its bowl games. Oftentimes, many people have questioned how strong the Big Ten really is.
There is no question that the Big Ten is stronger this season, but once again we saw Ohio State climb the rankings to No. 1 this past weekend. When Ohio State reached No. 1, it fell to the hands of No. 12 Wisconsin.
Now the BCS rankings have been released and Ohio State finds itself ahead of Wisconsin, sitting at No. 10 and Wisconsin at No. 13.
Wisconsin has beaten Ohio State head-to-head, therefore it is ahead of Ohio State in the Big Ten conference to begin with. Furthermore, the only team Wisconsin has lost to is undefeated No. 7 Michigan State.
Ohio State is still getting love from the BCS poll, despite poor recent showings in BCS bowls, namely back-to-back losses in the BCS National Championship game to Florida and LSU.
It is a bit appalling that a team that is ahead of one team in their conference is behind them in the BCS rankings.
The Computer Rankings Value Quality Opponents Over Margin of Victory
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Whenever an argument comes up about who is a better team, the two biggest points people bring up are margin of victory and quality opponents. Sometimes people believe what makes a team great is their ability to blow out opponents. Others believe that it is merely beating good teams that marks whether a team is good or not.
The BCS computers seem to provide an answer to this conundrum—they value quality opponents, not blowouts.
Both Auburn and Oklahoma are undefeated this season, but have won very close games. They have both come very close to losing against quality opponents, but have pulled it out in the end. Oklahoma is No. 1 and Auburn is No. 4.
On the other side, Boise State has blown out several teams this season. But according to the computers, it has not played quality opponents, and therefore they are dropped to No. 3.
A One-loss SEC or Big 12 Team Will Have a Decent Shot at the Title Game
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One again the two conferences that are dominating the BCS rankings are the SEC and the Big 12. Both the Big 12 and the SEC have six teams representing their conferences in the first BCS rankings.
The Big 12 and SEC also present an advantage for their teams in that one loss does not end a team's championship hopes the way it does for many other conferences. There are two major reasons for this.
The first reason is that these conferences are seen as the two strongest conferences. The teams have to face many difficult teams. Due to the difficulty of the schedule, it is possible for the computers to rank a one-loss Big 12 or SEC team above an undefeated Big Ten team.
The second reason is due to the fact that both of these conferences have championship games. Many times the championship game is contested by a one-loss team and an undefeated team. If the one-loss team wins, it wins the conference and prove to be better than the undefeated team. This keeps alive the hope for one-loss teams in these two conferences.
With the difficulty of the schedule in the Big 12 and SEC, it would not be shocking for a team to stumble in the regular season and bounce back and make it to the championship game, even with one loss.
The ACC and Big East Should Not Be Getting Automatic BCS Bowls
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One of the most baffling things about the BCS is that the ACC and Big East winners each automatically qualify for a BCS bowl game.
Both of these conferences were built for basketball, and there is no question that they are among the top basketball conferences in the country. But the BCS is about football and it is absurd that teams are automatically going to BCS bowl games just because they play in these conferences.
The ACC has two teams in the first BCS rankings. Florida State and Virginia Tech, who are ranked 17th and 25th respectively. The Big East's lone representative is West Virginia at No. 20. If the rankings were to hold as they are now, either Florida State or Virginia Tech, and West Virginia would get BCS bowl games, while about 10 teams who are better than them will get nothing.
The ACC and Big East each automatically get teams into the BCS, while a conference like the Mountain West, which has just as many teams in the rankings as the ACC, struggles to get even one team into a BCS bowl game.
If the BCS won't go as far as eliminating all conferences' automatic bids, they should at least take them away from the ACC and the Big East.
The BCS Computer Rankings Still Give Boise State No Respect
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One of the most controversial teams to play in the BCS era has been the Boise State Broncos.
The Broncos have been in BCS bowls several times recently, often pulling off exciting victories, most notably their upset against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Many people who call for a playoff point at the Broncos, saying they should be given a chance to prove themselves.
The problem for Boise State is that they play in the WAC. Therefore, despite what the human eye sees, the BCS computer has not shown them respect.
The BCS is made up of a combination of the USA Today Poll, the Harris Poll and computer rankings. In the first rankings, the computer rankings do not agree with the polls that are conducted by humans. Boise State is ranked as the No. 2 team in the country in both the USA Today and AP polls. The BCS computer ranks them seventh.
Another question is that Oregon is ranked eighth by the BCS computer, and yet they sit second in the BCS poll. Meanwhile, LSU and Michigan State are ranked second and fourth in the computers and sit at sixth and seventh in the polls.
The computer values quality opponents, and that hurts Boise State. Last season Boise State debuted at No. 4 in the BCS poll. They won the rest of their games, finishing undefeated and ended up sixth in the poll.
The human element sees that even though Boise State plays in the WAC, they are a team that could compete with any team in the country. Unfortunately, the computer does not see this and it will continue to hurt Boise State.