Stabilizing the Ring of Fire: A New Formula For the BCS

Pete Dymeck@PeteDymeckAnalyst IOctober 14, 2009

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Ingram #22 and Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide react after Ingram scored on a 36-yard touchdown during their game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)

The Bowl Championship Series is the most debated topic in all of sports on both the collegiate and professional level.

Each year we have some level of controversy and conspiracy. It does not matter. Last year, it was whether or not the undefeated Boise State Broncos should have earned a BCS bid. A controversy around Missouri-Kansas swarmed the BCS the year before last.

Still, we go on, supporting this fraudulent system in place like there is nothing wrong with it, but the only time the BCS is discussed is when it is being looked down upon by people from all walks of life.

Why even debate the thought of a playoff system? You know it is never going to happen. Well, at least not within the next five to six years.

In the time being, we must become aware of what our hand is, show our poker face, and come to terms on how to fix this broken system and how the teams are ranked.

The theory I am about to introduce is no more complicated than swiping your prepay card at the gas pump.

First, we need to utilize the polls. Yes, the dreaded polls. We need to take the mean of every school's ranking in the two major polls (USA Today & AP) as well as add a third poll. For practical purposes, I will use my own rankings for this third poll.

What we do is take the average ranking each team has received throughout the three polls. Next, we add a single point to each schools poll average for each loss sustained.

What this means is that if a school's median poll ranking was 7.67 and said school had one loss, than their poll average would go to 8.67. If they had two losses, it would be 9.67.

From there, we would deduct a single point for each school's victory against a ranked opponent at the time. The point would be deducted from the sum of the median poll ranking and the school's total losses.

Basically it is a three-step process that would not cause too many schools to jump around through the rankings although the USA Today and AP Poll usually differ.

This would also eliminate the need for a computer ranking. This is a mysterious way to offer up a solution. No one can tell us truly how it works. With no transparency, it needs to go. Just bring in another poll.

Before we go any further, here is a link to both the AP and USA Today polls.

Here is what my current top 25 looks like:

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Virginia Tech
  5. Boise State
  6. Cincinnati
  7. Miami Fl.
  8. USC
  9. LSU
  10. Ohio State
  11. Iowa
  12. TCU
  13. Oregon
  14. Kansas
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Nebraska
  17. South Carolina
  18. Houston
  19. Oklahoma
  20. Oklahoma State
  21. Georgia Tech
  22. Penn State
  23. BYU
  24. Pittsburgh
  25. Auburn

Now, we need a name for the formula state above. Since it is a three-step process, how about we call it the "Triple-Option Formula." Since each team can improve on its own destiny by winning games and not completely letting the polls determine where they stand, they have options as to how good they will be, therefore we have the "Triple-Option Formula" or TOF.

Now, by using the formula stated above, here is what the BCS rankings would look like using the TOF.

  1. Alabama - 0.00
  2. Florida - 0.33
  3. Texas - 2.67
  4. Virginia Tech - 3
  5. Boise State - 4.33
  6. USC - 5.33
  7. Miami Fl. - 7
  8. Cincinnati - 7.67
  9. Ohio State - 9
  10. LSU - 9.67
  11. Iowa - 10.33
  12. TCU - 10.67
  13. Oregon - 13
  14. Kansas - 15.33
  15. Nebraska - 16
  16. Penn State - 17.33

I think you get the picture. Now, with this new BCS strategy mixed with the hypothetical TOF, we still have a clear picture as to who is worthy of being where.

As you can see, Penn State is not rewarded for their soft non-conference schedule and the fact that they have not beaten any ranked opponents keeps them at the tail end of the BCS Top 16.

Obviously, these would change because if Alabama and Florida stay unbeaten, they will meet in the SEC Championship and someone has to lose. But, due to the prestige of both schools in this current season, by gaining one point in losing, whichever team that loses could possibly stay in the BCS National Championship picture, deservedly so.

Some people may not like that fact but just revisit the Florida-Florida State rivalry and see what happened not too long ago with those two schools.

Now, using this philosophy and the thought that the Rose Bowl still gets to keep its Pac-10/Big Ten showdown unless it is impeded by the national championship, here are what the bowl games would look like.

Orange Bowl - Boise State versus Miami Fl.

Sugar Bowl - Cincinnati versus LSU

Fiesta Bowl - Texas versus Virginia Tech

Rose Bowl - USC versus Ohio State

National Championship - Florida versus Alabama

Also, it would not reward teams that go undefeated because they played in a weak schedule as compared to the other schools. So, unless Boise State topped each poll and remained undefeated, it would be very hard for them to make it to the national championship with their schedule.

Also, if we wanted to use this formula for playoff seedings in the day that we do, somehow, see a playoff system in place, here is how the first round would look.

16. Penn State vs. 1. Alabama

15. Nebraska vs. 2. Florida

14. Kansas vs. 3. Texas

13. Oregon vs. 4. Virginia Tech

12. TCU vs. 5. Boise State

11. Iowa vs. 6. USC

10. LSU vs. 7. Miami Fl.

9. Ohio State vs. 8. Cincinnati

This is something to chew on. Of course nothing is perfect but anything is better than the current system in place.

I hope it opened up some minds, made some of you guys think, and maybe someone can use this to come up with an even better formula as to deciding who is who when it matters in college football.


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