The Bowl Championship Series is based on a wonderful concept — pairing the top two teams in the nation in one bowl game. For those of us who grew up when that didn’t happen every year, we think that’s a plus.
But here’s part of the problem with the BCS process: The six computer rankings the BCS uses as part of its formula aren’t allowed to consider margin of victory.
The ratings Jeff Sagarin provides for USA Today take margin of victory into account. Alabama is No. 1 in those rankings, ahead of Kansas State at No. 2, Oregon at No. 3, Texas A&M at No. 4 and Notre Dame at No. 5. In fact, the Tide has a reasonably comfortable margin over K-State.
(Click here to see his complete list.)
Sagarin also does a “politically correct” rating for the BCS, which doesn’t include margin of victory. Alabama is ninth in that list. Notre Dame is first and Kansas State second.
Why hamstring the computer rankings this way? If you trust them enough to be part of the process, trust them enough to figure out a fair way to rank teams.
Those of you who have followed what I’ve written over the years already know what a big fan I am of Sagarin’s computer ratings.
Sagarin is a mathematician and 1970 graduate of MIT. He developed a basketball rating system that the NCAA tournament selection committee uses to help fill out the field. USA Today publishes his basketball and football ratings. The basketball ratings are especially helpful.