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Year Two of the BCS Adds New Wrinkles

Aug. 14, 1999

By The Associated Press

Year Two of the Bowl Championship Series will bring a few new wrinkles to the process of selecting the teams to play in its national championship game.

The BCS made a mostly successful debut last season, with Tennessee beating Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl and becoming the unanimous choice as the national champion.

This time, the BCS modified its guidelines for selecting teams by adding five new computer ratings and toughened eligibility standards for its four bowl games. Also, a process is now in place that could strip weaker conferences of automatic bids, a move aimed at the Big East.

The BCS standings are determined through four factors: a combined ranking in The Associated Press media poll and USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll, computer surveys, strength of schedule, and won-loss record.

The series will again use the computer ratings of Jeff Sagarin, The New York Times and the Seattle Times. But it also will consider Richard Billingsley, Dunkel Index, Kenneth Massey, David Rothman and Matthews-Scripps Howard. A school’s lowest ranking from the eight computer services will be thrown out.

Champions from the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Atlantic Coast and Pac-10 conferences receive automatic bids to the BCS, which also includes two at-large teams.

The 1-2 teams in the BCS standings are matched in a national title game that rotates among the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls. Using a regional format, the other three bowls select the remaining conference champions and at-large teams.

The 2000 title game will be held Jan. 4 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Last season, teams were eligible for at-large berths with either eight victories or by finishing no lower than 12th in the BCS standings. Now, teams must have nine regular-season wins over Division I-A opponents and at least a No. 12 ranking.

Also, each of the six BCS leagues must show it is worthy of that status. If a conference’s automatic qualifiers failed to average at least a No. 12 BCS rating over a four-year period, it could be stripped of the bid.

Last season, Big East champion Syracuse (8-4) was 15th in the BCS standings and was routed by Florida 31-10 in the Orange Bowl.

One of the misconceptions of the BCS involved Kansas State, which ended up in the Alamo Bowl after losing only one game – the Big 12 championship – and finishing third in the final BCS standings. The feeling was that K-State, which lost to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl, deserved to play in a BCS game.

“We still feel the bowls, after you get past the 1-2 game, need to have some regional flexibility,” BCS chairman Roy Kramer said. “You can’t take two West Coast teams and play in Miami. You’ve got to have regional ties to make the bowls succeed.”

The first BCS standings will be released Oct. 25.