Don't Hate the BCS, Hate the Humans

Boomer SoonerContributor IJuly 21, 2009

Seems like we have a consensus: everyone hates the BCS.  

Some hate it because they don't feel their team has a fair shot at a championship from the get-go: see any Utah post the past six months.  Others hate it because of the way voters screw their team at the end of the year: think Michigan a couple years ago, Auburn a few years before that.  

Small schools claim it's all about whose fans travel the best.  

The Associated Press told the BCS to take their poll and shove it—they couldn't participate and keep a "clean conscience." 

No one believes that every coach with a vote sits down on Sunday and watches every top 25 game. That and am I crazy or is the Coaches Poll the largest conflict of interest ever thought up? 

The other thing we all seem to agree on is that a playoff is the only logical way of determining a true champion.  Well, everyone but me. 

I’m afraid the season will be changed by a playoff and I like the season the way it is.  I love our bowl season.  I don't care if the bowl sucks—I'll still watch it because it's the best thing going.  I don't want to risk the bowl mystique disappearing.  

And so what if Division II has a playoff—they don’t have great bowl games either.  Teams fight hard to get to a bowl and their fans deserve the payday.  I also don't want CFB to turn into NCAA Basketball where the regular season isn't important—where players are rested for the next round and the other bowls are left behind.

I'd be a fool to like the system we have now though.  My point is that everyone's mad at the system for the wrong reasons.  The computers aren't the reason for the madness, it's only 1/3 of the formula.  Humans make up 2/3's of it—the Coaches and the Harris Voters.  

But computer polls don't come out in July—creating preseason bias.  Computers don't rank teams according to their prestige or what they did last year.  Further, better than humans, computers can COMPUTE exactly what the strength of schedule is—never once looking for help from ESPiN or Rivals.  

Why is it we care what the coaches think anyways?  Or for that matter, the Harris Voters?  Why do we let coaches politic for their teams?  Are they trying to sway the computers or the voters?  

So how do we fix this, oh great thinker?  I'll tell you:  get rid of the human element.  No human polls from this point forward and only computer polls starting at the beginning of the fifth week.

 There, no preseason bias.  All teams are equal at the beginning of the season, given credit for their accomplishments, SOS figured and good objective ranking established.  Done. 

Then bring back the Strength of Schedule.  There, no pattycake schedules.  Who's gonna play pattycakes when you might miss out on the BCS by a few hundredths of a point that SOS can make up?  

Then bring back margin of victory.  What—you're telling me a blowout and a squeaker count the same?  Not hardly.  And this way it can be computed and factored, so no human bias/error is involved in the margin of blowout, etc.

Now about the computers: we have six that are used.  Keep the formula the same—each team’s highest and lowest are thrown out and the middle four are used—keeps bias out.  Maybe we add a few to water down any perceived imbalances.  The computers don’t have to be identical in how they rank teams, and can each be tweaked season to season as needed.

Then the postseason remains the same.  The BCS gets its money.  The other bowls retain their allegiances and fanbases...and money.  No corporate complaints, which counts for a lot...of money.  Every team gets their shot at the title... and a lot of money.  Everyone's happy.

What you get is a season that has equality at the beginning, no voter bias throughout the season, no politicking at the end of the season and the two un-biased best teams in the country.

Don't get me wrong, I like the playoff idea but if we think it'll solve the complaining, we’re wrong.  All we're doing is shifting the whining from No. 3 to No. 9-12 in the country.  They have the same beef and every bit as legit. 

Think of how many one- and two-loss teams are from No. 9-12 in most polls—they will all think they could have competed in a tournament.  It won't end until there’s 16 teams in and the regular season is ruined the way basketball's is—all in the name of fairness to everyone.  

And does anyone think the top 16 teams have a legitimate claim to be No. 1 every year?  
Further, CFB postseason is 100 percent dependent on fans traveling, which they cannot do three to four times every December/January for a playoff.

Look, Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was the Berlin wall taken down in one day.  We can’t make the BCS share money—and let’s not kid ourselves, money is what it is all about.  The BCS has proven their monopoly is bullet-proof.  What we can do is change the way the BCS is calculated, to the fairest possible extent. 

Look, the BCS has told us that “the offseason interest and fanatic debates are more important than giving us a real champion.”  Let’s stick it to the man.

Regardless of the automatic bids to the BCS, if we take the humans out of the polls and start them later, each team from every conference will have the same path to get ranked: schedule and play well.  That’s the fairest system I can think of, while keeping the fat cats fat.

Now, can we as humans call a spade a spade and admit our own biases, letting go of the controls to the computers in the name of fairness?  Or will we continue in denial of the truth—that humans are the problem…that we would rather be entertained than given a true champion?


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