BCS Simplifies In Hopes Of Finding True Champion

July 15, 2004

AP Sports Writer

The Associated Press poll will count for one-third of each team's rankingunder the new formula Bowl Championship Series officials unveiled Thursday intheir latest attempt to find a simpler, more equitable way to determine anational champion.

Under the new formula, which begins this season, the AP writers' poll, thecoaches' poll and a combination of computer rankings will each count forone-third of a team's overall BCS ranking.

Strength of schedule, team record and quality wins, three components usedunder the old system, have all been eliminated.

'In analyzing the BCS standings, we wanted to develop a ranking formulathat would be simpler and more precise,' said BCS chairman Kevin Weiberg, thecommissioner of the Big 12 Conference.

In three of the last four seasons, there have been at least three teams withlegitimate claims for a spot in the BCS title game.

Last year resulted in a split national championship, with LSU winning theBCS title game over Oklahoma and Southern California protecting its top rankingin the AP poll by defeating Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Coaches who vote in the USA Today-ESPN poll are obligated to name the winnerof the BCS title game the national champion. Writers in the AP poll are underno such obligation.

BCS officials consulted mathematicians to help come up with a new formulathat would give them a better chance at ensuring the top two teams in bothpolls meet in their title game.

'This formula goes a long way to eliminate some of the controversysurrounding previous matchups as we continue to improve upon the system,'Weiberg said.

The new formula will no longer average the weekly rank of each team.Instead, teams will be evaluated on the number of voting points they receive ineach poll. A team's score in the AP poll will be divided by 1,800, which is themaximum any team can receive. A team's score in the coaches' poll will bedivided by 1,500.

The final component will come from six computer rankings. A team's highestand lowest computer ranking will be thrown out and the other four will be usedto determine a figure to add to those from the two polls.

Had the new system been in place last year, it would have pitted USC and LSUin the title game. In 2001, Miami would have played Oregon instead of Nebraska,which made it over the Ducks despite a late-season 62-36 loss to Colorado thatknocked the Cornhuskers out of the Big 12 title picture. In 2000, the gamewould have pitted Oklahoma and Florida State - the two teams that made it -with Miami being left out despite having one loss, and having handed theSeminoles their only loss of the season.