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College Football Season

BCS Blew Another Chance

by Dave Congrove

The AP's decision to not allow its poll to be used as part of the BCS, coupled with the BCS's desire for voter transparency, would have been the perfect opportunity for the BCS to become a true alternative to the polls by allowing the computers to take control.

Instead, a new and unproven poll - the Harris Poll - was established and instantly given one-third weight in the BCS standings. The Coaches Poll remains as a second component. The average results of six computer rankings comprise the third component.

Can anyone seriously believe for a minute that the "new BCS" is better?

Why do we care what 100 people think? Wouldn't we really be happier with some simplistic semblance of fact rather than a convoluted amalgamation of fact and opinion? I submit to you that we would indeed all be happier with the former, if given the chance to choose.

There's the rub. The voters don't want to be rendered useless so they campaign for the opportunity to participate. The voters are the writers and coaches who want control for they fear the unfettered truth.

Hence, the voters paint computers as the evil component concocted by mathematics geeks who know nothing about college football. But the evil resides elsewhere.

The Coaches Poll, the AP Poll and the Harris Poll are all the same - subjective opinions with no organized basis in fact. The polls are essentially a random assessment - an idiot stew, if you will. My goodness people, they are the very same print columnists and television commentators that all of us rag on every week. They are the coaches that we complain don't know what play to call at a crucial moment of the game. Yet, the majority of us trust those same "morons" to not mess up a top 25 list later that night.

We need to get a grip! It is time to realize that those voters are no different from us. You can write down a top 25 list any day of the week. But if you wrote it down and threw it away, you would write down a different list the next day. You'd be wrong both times, too, because both attempts were just guesses.

Unlike us humans, computers "see" every single game every single week, don't have to fill out a ballot in a rush, can't be afraid to vote their conscience, and ultimately offer an unbiased view of who is better than who, measuring each team on the same set of criteria. The computer will tell you the same thing on Tuesday that it told you on Sunday, right down to the umpteenth decimal point. Its' answer won't change until the next set of games are played.

Computers let the on-field results do the talking, don't care where a team is geographically located and can't know if a team is in an urban metro market or an isolated rural town.

Computers can't be called on the final weekend of the season by a coach and begged to switch their vote. It can't choose to manipulate the rankings on the final weekend to alter the results. A computer's actions can be monitored and verified.

Whether you, or I, or any human being likes the computers findings is unimportant. They are not supposed to support our opinion. They are supposed to deliver the raw, honest truth.

At the end of the day, if there were no human polls and only an averaging of computer rankings to digest, we might all be amazed at how many people would take a deep breath, sigh, and utter to themselves - "hmmm, so that's the way it is".

To borrow a phrase from Robin Williams, "Reality. What a concept."

Writers would still write that computer rankings are concocted by mathematics geeks who know nothing about football. TV announcers would still state lies and rumors about what factors the computers weigh. Coaches would still lose games with the prevent defense. But they would no longer be able to screw up the BCS.

Send your comments and questions to Pre-Game Feedback.

Read more about the BCS:
Whining About Whining About the BCS

Computer Rankings and National Titles
Lack Of Quality Leadership Opens BCS To Annual Controversy


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