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College Football – BCS Explained

College Football – BCS Explained

Replacing what was known as the Bowl Alliance, the Bowl Championship Series is the most recent effort to crown a National Champion. The Conference commissioners and the Notre Dame AD are the administrators of the BCS. Through a rating system that identifies the teams who are to play each other at the end of the season for the National Championship are the two teams who got the highest ratings.

Originally, the BCS consisted of four bowls namely Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta but since the beginning
of the season in 2006, a fifth BCS game, serving as the championship game has been added. This system simply means that instead of the original eight teams who will be playing in the BCS games, with the addition of the fifth bowl. The championship game will rotate between the four BCS stadiums. This year’s championship game will be held at the Fiesta with next year’s game at Sugar, then Orange and the Rose.

There are three elements serving as the basis for the Bowl Championship Series: the Harris Interactive Poll, USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the Computer Rankings. Only the Harris Interactive Poll and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll are manually-operated. These two human elements are responsible for gathering and combining all the specific voter’s votes at the end of every week. Once the votes are gathered, the relative strength of each team will then be calculated through a special formula, where a perfect score is 1. Teams that follow will be assigned a number less than the number 1. A team’s final BCS average is determined through an arrived average of the three elements.

In 2005, the AP decided that it no longer wished to take part in deciding a national champion, so the NCAA created the Harris Interactive poll. Harris Interactive is a market research company specializing in internet research. After it was commissioned by the NCAA, the Harris Interactive developed a poll for college football as replacement for the AP poll. 114 voters coming from a group or previous players, coaches, administrators, and past and present media comprised the poll. Each week, the top 25 teams are identified through the poll voter’s submitted votes. The first poll is submitted only at the second half of September and no longer passes a poll prior to the season or at the post-season.

The USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the second of the two “human” elements are all composed of members of the American Football Coaches Association making up 61 Division 1-A head coaches. Each of the head coaches submits his or her ballot containing his or her top 25 picks every week. Unlike the Harris Poll, the Coaches’ Poll also submits a pre-season and post-season poll. The team that automatically gets the number vote is the winner of the BCS National Championship and also the recipient of the Waterford Crystal National Championship Coaches’ trophy.

The last of the three elements is the computer poll. Consisting of six various calculations, each of the programs were chose in 1998 with BCS’s inception. The six people responsible for the programs are Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Masey, Jeff Sagarin, and Peter Wolfe. The computer program does not use a margin of victory and they each use different formulas to calculate strength of the schedule. The teams also go through a top 25 ranking with the computer poll. The computer element is created through the four computer rankings used by each of the teams. The highest and lowest teams in the computer rankings are dumped and the remaining four are averaged.