USC Tops Initial BCS Football Standings

Oct. 18, 2004

USC sits atop the initial Bowl Championship Series standings that were released Monday (Oct. 18).

It is the first time in its history that USC was No. 1 in the BCS standings.

'It's nice to be recognized in that top position at this early point of the season,' said USC head coach Pete Carroll. 'But we realize it's all based on past accomplishments. Now we must try to maintain it. All we're focused on is our next game against Washington. We want to maintain a positive direction with our season.

'I've never really understood the BCS process. And at first look, this year's updated process confuses me once again. I'm not sure how some of the other teams worked out to being where they are. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

'So, other than it's nice to be recognized, we're not putting a whole lot of stock in it at this time. There's a lot of season left and it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.'

The top two teams in the final BCS standings will meet for the national championship at Miami's Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

Miami currently is No. 2 in the BCS poll, slightly ahead of Oklahoma.

The top two teams in the first standings never have met for the title since the BCS began in 1998.

At the end of last season, USC was ranked first in both the media and coaches' polls but sat third in the BCS standings behind LSU and Oklahoma, who went on the play in the Sugar Bowl.

LSU beat the Sooners while USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, leading to a split national championship and an overhaul of the BCS formula.

This year, the formula consists of three evenly weighed elements: a team's percentage of points in both the media poll and coaches' polls and an average of four computer ratings. The formula no longer has a strength-of-schedule component (though the computers do account for it) nor are teams penalized a point for each loss.

The Trojans (6-0), who are coming off a 45-7 rout of then-No. 15 Arizona State, have .9912 points while the Hurricanes (5-0), who staged a furious rally to defeat Louisville, 41-38, are second with .9187 points.

Miami, which is fourth in the media poll and third in the coaches' poll, is just .0026 points ahead of Oklahoma (.9161), which is second in both human polls. The Sooners (6-0) were penalized by a lower computer average than Miami, even though the formula has changed in favor of the polls.

Auburn (7-0) is fourth at .9036 and Florida State (5-1) is fifth at .8072.

Wisconsin (.7255), Utah (.7251), California (.6733), Tennessee (.6331) and Georgia (.6090) round out the top 10.

A team must be in the top six to guarantee a bid to a lucrative BCS bowl game and in the top 12 merely to be eligible. No non-BCS school ever has qualified for a BCS bowl, though Utah currently is just .0004 shy of sixth place.

The final BCS standings come out December 5.

The teams' poll percentages consist of their number of voting points divided by the maximum amount available in each poll, 1,625 in the media poll and 1,525 in the coaches' poll. These numbers better reflect how writers and coaches view relative differences between the teams than a straight average of the two polls.

Six computer rankings are used this season: Anderson & Hester, Jeff Sagarin, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey and Peter Wolfe. The best and worst rating for each team is ignored, with the remaining four totals added together and divided by 100 to produce a ratings percentage.

BCS members include the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conferences as well as Notre Dame. The format calls for the championship game to be rotated among the Orange, Rose, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls.

USC hosts Washington this Saturday (Oct. 23) at 3:30 p.m. in the Coliseum.

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