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BCS Tweaks Formula For Choosing Teams For Its Title Game

July 12, 2001

By Richard RosenblattAP Writer

The Bowl Championship Series has revised its formula for selecting teams to play in its designated title game, changes that would have added up to Miami – not Florida State – against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl last season.

The adjustments, announced Thursday, include a new quality-win component that will award bonus points in the BCS’ mathematical formula for beating a team rated in the top 15 in the standings.

Also, there will be less importance given to margin of victory, which has been a main concern of coaches in the first three years of the BCS standings.

Had the new rules been in effect in 2000, the title game would have been Miami vs. Oklahoma – the Hurricanes would have finished second in the final BCS standings ahead of the Seminoles and behind the Sooners. Bonus points for Miami’s wins over Florida State and Virginia Tech would have pushed the Hurricanes ahead of the Seminoles in the final standings.

The BCS standings use The Associated Press media poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, eight computer ratings, strength-of-schedule and win-loss records in determining its overall standings.

In addition, the BCS will replace two of the eight computer services next season, including the Dunkel Index, which depended heavily on margin of victory. Also out of the mix is the New York Times’ computer ratings.

The eight computer rankings to be used in 2001 are operated by: Richard Billingsley, Kenneth Massey, David Rothman, Jeff Sagarin, Scripps-Howard, Seattle Times, Peter Wolfe and Wes Colley.

Of the eight, four do not factor in margin of victory, the others render excessive margins negligible.

“After a great deal of thoughtful discussion and research, we believe these revisions will enhance the BCS standings.” said BCS coordinator John Swofford of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“The changes address last year’s concern about excessive margin of victory adversely influencing the computer rankings and the quality-win component encourages teams to play a stronger schedule and gives a significant reward for wins over highly ranked opponents.”

The bonus points for quality wins will range from a high of 1.5 points for a win over the top-ranked team to a low of 0.1 for a victory over the 15th-ranked BCS team. Should one team defeat a top 15 BCS team more than once during the regular season, quality points will be awarded just once.

Oklahoma beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl to win the national title last season, while Miami beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 2.

The Rose Bowl will play host to the BCS’ title game after this season, on Jan. 3, 2002.

Tommy Bowden On BCS Changes

“You are asking the wrong Bowden! The Bowden in Tallahassee should be the one answering the questions about the change in the BCS formula.

“Seriously, I think the changes are good. Now there won’t be pressure on coaches to run up the score at the end of the game. Very few coaches knew exactly what the formulas were, but there was a general feeling that the larger the margin, the higher you would be in the BCS poll the following week. I also think the additional points for wins over BCS top 15 teams is a good idea.

“But, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about formulas and computer rankings. We try to win each game one at a time, then see where we are at the end of the regular season. I think you will find that most coaches feel that way. I would not look for coaches to make drastic changes in their schedules. The best way to have a chance to play in the BCS championship game is to win all of your games.”