BCS Announces Changes to Formula

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DALLAS - The Bowl Championship Series has announced changes to the way the BCS Standings are compiled. The changes will be in place for the 2004 college football season.

In announcing the changes, Big 12 Conference Commissioner and BCS Coordinator Kevin Weiberg noted, "In analyzing the BCS standings we wanted to develop a ranking formula that would be simpler and more precise.”

The BCS statistical rating system determines which teams play in the National Championship game, and which are eligible to participate in Bowl Championship Series games. The new system will include three components: the rankings of the Associated Press media poll, the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and a computer average. Each component will count one-third of a team’s overall BCS ranking.

The previous rating system included five components: the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls, computer rankings, strength of schedule, team record and a quality win factor.

Under the new system, which was unanimously approved by the 11 Division I-A commissioners, Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, the BCS Athletic Director Advisory Committee and the Presidential Oversight Committee, a team will have a "percentage” score from each of the three components. These percentages will be averaged to determine a team’s BCS ranking.

In the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls, the formula will no longer average the weekly rank of each team. Instead a team will be evaluated on the number of voting points it receives in each poll. A team’s AP score will be its points in the poll divided by a possible 1800 voting points. The same formula will apply to the USA Today/ESPN poll and its 1500 voting points.

Six computer rankings have been retained for 2004: Jeff Sagarin, whose rankings are published in USA Today, Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey and Dr. Peter Wolfe. The New York Times, which participated in 2003, withdrew. A team’s highest and lowest computer ranking will be discarded from figuring a team’s computer poll average. Points will be assigned in inverse order of ranking from 1-25. The four remaining computer scores will be averaged and the total will be calculated as a percentage of 100.

"It was apparent to us that just using the average rankings of the polls was not an adequate comparison of the level of voting support for each team,” Weiberg said. "A top-ranked team could be one point ahead of the second-ranked team, or it could be 200 points ahead. Using the actual voting points in the formula allows for a more accurate ranking in the BCS poll. This is especially important when there is marginal separation between a No. 2 and No. 3 team.”

The new system was applied to the results of previous seasons to help serve as an indicator of fairness and accuracy.

"The purpose of the BCS is to match the nation’s top two college football teams in an end-of-season bowl game for the National Championship,” commented Weiberg. "This formula goes a long way to eliminate some of the controversy surrounding previous match-ups as we continue to improve upon the system.”

The top two teams in the final BCS poll will meet in the 2005 FedEx Orange Bowl on January 4 to determine college football’s National Champion.

Example of the BCS Ranking Formula:

       AP Poll 	   Coaches 	Computers   
       1800 Pts    1500 Pts     100 Pts       BCS Average
 X    1760  .978   1440  .960   94   .940      .959          
 Y    1712  .951   1411  .941   91   .910      .934
 Z    1642  .912   1376  .917   89   .890      .906

Projected National Championship Game Match-Ups From Past Years Under New Ranking System:

Year  No.1             No. 2            Bowl
1998  Tennessee        Florida State    Fiesta
1999  Florida State    Virginia Tech    Sugar
2000  Oklahoma         Florida State    Orange
2001  Miami (FL)       Oregon           Rose
2002  Miami (FL)       Ohio State       Fiesta
2003  LSU              USC              Sugar

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