Is The BCS System Really That Bad?

Submitted by mcberry on June 30th, 2008 at 7:03 PM

Let me start off by saying that I don't necessarily believe in what I am about to say.  I don't disagree either, however.  It is simply something that crosses my mind from time to time when the bowl season comes around and people start their yearly clamoring for a playoff system.  Basically, why is that people assume that the BCS system is wrong so often.  The most common argument is that the game is played by people and the champion should be decided by people.


The logical fallacy, however, is that people are more skilled than computers to make the call of which teams are better than others.  This is rather arrogant of us as humans.  Granted humans are arrogant in general (heck some people even think that they are important enough that their actions have an impact on the global climate that has been around and developing for millions of years).  The main problem with the BCS system isn't the fact that the MNC is decided by computers - the problem is the algorithms that are used to determine said champion.  

What algorithm should be used to determine the national champion?  I have no idea. There are, seemingly, infinite stastics that could be taken into account when determining a champion.  Somewhere out there, though, I am sure a perfect formula does exist to determine a true national champion.  Anytime a decision needs to be made, regardless of circumstance, math can be applied to aid in the decision and come out with the proper answer - football should be no different.

Until this golden formula is discovered we are stuck with lousy algorithms and biased humans.  So heck, let's just have a playoff already - for now at least it has to be better than the alternatives.


Anonymous Coward (not verified)

June 30th, 2008 at 11:18 PM ^

It's beyond me how can anyone believe that a mathematical formula can be used to rank football teams. Were that true, there would be no need to actually play a championship game because the algorithm would have already determined the best team.


July 1st, 2008 at 10:08 AM ^

My question with the whole system is judgement. Say Ohio State runs through the Big Ten again, and goes to the Championship game and loses. Say they do it the next year.  Do they tweak the system to make the Big Ten more like a mid major?  At what point do we step in and no longer allow the computer to place them in the title game?


July 1st, 2008 at 11:46 AM ^

I don't have as much of a problem with the computers as I do with coaches voting and the bias/peer pressure to a) vote for yourself, or b) vote within your conference. Add that to the fact that these coaches are so busy that they don't even have the chance to see any of the other teams play each week besides their own (and the opponents they are scouting) and it makes you wonder why the coaches have any power in the process.

If you are to use the coaches going forward, the Coaches Poll should at least use ALL Division 1-A coaches (and not the 60-ish they use now). This would at least increase the sample size and hopefully get less biased results.

Of course, my real solution (if the BCS remains) would be to put together a NCAA Basketball-esque committee of people and have them watch tons of games each week played by the major championship contenders. Then, have them convene together to discuss the merits of each team, weigh team schedules, computer rankings, RPI, etc. and create a match-up in that way.