THE BCS RANTFBofS Ray Ratto wastes ten minutes of our lives making some sort of point about how the BCS has corrupted college football here.
For the uninitiated, Ratto is a San Francisco Chronicle writer who occasionally writes about college football and has a vote in the AP poll. He knows about as much about college football as my mother. He ostensibly covers Cal and Stanford, but if you put a gun to his head he couldn't give you the O-Line depth chart at either school. He'd rather be writing about the Warriors, I guess, and it shows in his laziness and lack of enthusiasm for the subject. This is the same clown who ranked Virginia Tech #10 and Georgia Tech #24...the day after GT beat the Hokies 38-27...in Blacksburg.
There is a point to be made about the BCS, which is that it should be done away with as quickly as possible. This won't happen, so here are some suggested improvements:
Scrap the Spurrier rule - In statistics, the larger your sample size, the easier the analysis. The sample size for a college football season is 12 games - not very large at all. Wouldn't it behoove the computers to analyze as much information as possible? Isn't margin of victory a pretty important piece of information? Jeff Sagarin calls the elimination of MOV "politically correct," and he's dead on. Today, the machines give Ohio State as much credit for beating MSU 38-7 in East Lansing as Notre Dame did for winning by a field goal and the grace of God.
Scrap the Orrin Hatch rule - Why does Boise qualify for a BCS game if they're ranked 12th in the BCS? Because Orrin Hatch said so, that's why. He told the NCAA that he would haul their ass before Congress if they didn't cook up a better plan for the smaller conferences (he was thinking of BYU and Utah at the time). Voila - a stupid, indefensible rule! (By contrast, I actually like the rule that would allow Boise and their ilk to go if they're ranked higher than another BCS conference champion)
Scrap the special dispensation for the Domers - See above.
Get rid of the opening polls - This year's opening ESPN poll had six SEC teams - Auburn (OK), Florida (yep), LSU (why?), Georgia (why?), Tennessee (OK) and Alabama (what?!?!). Two of those teams clearly didn't belong in the Top 25, and one doesn't belong (LSU) until they beat at least a mediocre football team. But with opening polls, you'll never find out how good a team really is! Alabama will go 3-0 out of conference against Cupcake Tech, and when they suck wind in conference, well that's just 'cuz the SEC's so durn tough. No it's not. It's because they suck. Better to start polling after week 4, when presumably everyone outside the SEC has played a real opponent.
Better yet, get rid of the Harris and ESPN polls altogether - Ratto is right about one thing - the Harris Poll is an joke. The ESPN Coaches poll is even worse because it's populated with voters who BY DEFINITION don't watch lots of football games because they're focused on the one in which they are participating. It's also insanely political, as Mack Brown proved in 2004 by selling himself like a ten-dollar street whore to opposing coaches. If you have to have a poll, take the Master Coaches Survey. These are tough old men (Terry Donahue excepted) who know football and have nothing but time to watch game after game after game.
Put Strength of Schedule back into the formula. We need to give our SEC friends every incentive to schedule real non-conference games. On the road, occasionally. You can't control how good your conference is, but you can control whether you play Arkansas State in November. I'm looking at you, Tubby.
So a better system would be 1/2 computers (with MOV), 1/4 Cranky Old Man poll, and 1/4 Strength of Schedule. And an even better system would be no system at all. At least in the old days, we knew it wasn't scientific and we could have fun, honest debates about Alabama v SC in '78 or Washington v Miami in '91. Teams got to big bowls by winning their conferences - a pretty objective standard. The Rose Bowl was the Rose Bowl, not some consolation match for BCS also-rans from any old conference. The old system wasn't perfect, but at least it didn't lie to your face.