Since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, only MIT graduates and savants (aka "Rain Men") have possessed the mental acuity necessary to comprehend the BCS' many nuances.
What about the average Lay-Z-Boy-sitting, pretzel-eating, ripped-jersey-wearing college football fan? How is it possible for he or she to understand the most nefarious mathematical formula since E=MC2?
Benny, that's how.
The nation's top-rated BCS computer, Benny, recently decided to open his hard drive and banter, on the record, about what critics often call the most muddled ranking system in sports.
Below is the exclusive interview, verbatim, conducted by this very fortunate B/R featured columnist.
Tom Baer: Benny, please explain how you determine a team's BCS ranking.
Benny: First, I factor in a school's record, conference and strength of schedule. From there, I look at the head coach's hair style, the "loveability" of the mascot, the coolness of the helmet(s) and uniform(s), the quarterback's GPA, the cheerleaders' skirt length and, of course, the end zone paint scheme.
All of those ingredients are then tossed into a mathematical blender and—voilà—you have yourself a BCS ranking.
TB: Do you have a least favorite team?
B: Oh sure, I can't stand Boise Sta...oh wait, I'm a computer; I play no favorites.
TB: Speaking of Boise State, why do you and the Broncos have such a strained relationship?
B: It's the uniforms, man. And that turf. I swear, those unis and that field are meant for 2110, not 2010. Way too futuristic for my sensibilities. I prefer old school, like Alabama and Penn State.
TB: But the Nittany Lions aren't ranked.
B: Computer glitch.
TB: If you, and only you, chose the national championship matchup, which teams would you select?
B: Alabama, for one. Aside from the ultra-traditional helmet and uniforms—which, as you know, I very much appreciate—Greg McElroy's GPA is quite high and Nick Saban has spectacular hair. And what mascot personifies manliness more than Big Al? Unfortunately, even I can't fudge the numbers when a team has two losses.
TB: And your second championship team...?
TB: Um, they're on probation.
B: Have you seen the Trojan cheerleaders? Whew-wee! Those skirts give new meaning to the word "mini"; they are definitely worth major computer points, probation or no probation. When I see those enchanting ladies on the sidelines, I forget about the whole Reggie Bush saga.
TB: OK, Alabama versus USC is your dream title contest. Realistically, though, who will meet in Glendale this season?
B: Probably Oregon and [gulp] Boise State. I figure Auburn will lose to 'Bama or South Carolina, and Boise State will pass TCU and hold off LSU for the No. 2 BCS spot.
TB: Onto Ohio State. Why are the one-loss Buckeyes ranked so low in the BCS?
B: Brutus, plain and simple. What is he, a mutant? Seriously, I don't trust a mascot with a buckeye head and a human body. If OSU had a better mascot, they would be No. 4, not No. 8.
TB: What about the whole Cam Newton ordeal? Do you or the other computers take into account off-field activities?
B: Absolutely not. We at the BCS have our own shady pasts, so who are we to judge others?
TB: Last question: Which team outside the BCS Top 25 should be ranked?
B: Tennessee, for two reasons. One, the orange and white checkerboard end zones are second-to-none in college football. Two, Smokey is just so darn cute. Awesome end zones plus an adorable mascot should equal a ranking. Much to my chagrin, I'm not the only computer in town.
When broken down, the BCS doesn't seem so evil. If computers like Benny continue to proudly serve college football, who needs a playoff?
Long live Benny and the BCS.