So, it turns out that not everyone is pleased with the BCS. We’ve known that for about a decade. However, I have to say that Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has a… unique point-of-view on what could fix the system. From Monday afternoon’s article on ESPN.com:
“I think the BCS and how we do it with these computers, I think we’re ruining it. And the playoff isn’t going to solve it, either. They’ve got to change how we pick the top teams in this country. It’s not working. I think it was better in the old days when you did it by the eye test and you didn’t have a championship game.”
Well there’s that. Now, as we know already, human pollsters are… well, human. They cannot put aside their natural bias when attempting to apply selection criteria, and it tends to materialize in the following ways:
1) Programs that have been successful in the past will get an immediate boost, regardless of the body of work of that program in the current year. Alabama and Oregon fit that mold perfectly.
2) The human pollsters really stick it to you after a loss, especially if you’re not a part of that elite group of recently-successful teams. An example of this is the aforementioned FSU squad, who plummeted from 4th to 11th – not in the BCS standings, but in the USA Today poll – after dropping their close game to NC State.
3) Not all computers are created equal. This is perhaps the most important statement of them all. To fully appreciate – or despise – the computers, you have to take each one on the strength of their own merits. I wrote an article last year (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT) about the differences in the computers, and I think we can all agree that Jeff Sagarin’s system needs some… tweaking. It was true then, and considering his ranking this year, it’s still true. (Highlights: Florida and Georgia ranked ahead of Oregon, Alabama falling to 9th, and FSU/Clemson not being ranked at all.)
But Sagarin’s bullshit should not tarnish 6 other pretty solid computers. Some of the others are still questionable at times, but are mostly consistent with one another. They still vary widely from the humans, and that’s the point – the computer takes bias, emotion, and feeling out of the equation altogether, leaving you with 1’s and 0’s. The computers ranked Bama and Ore. lower than Kansas State and Notre Dame, even before Bama lost… and it was tough to argue.
As it stands now, the only computer system with a damn bit of sense is Richard Billingsley’s, which is the only one that doesn’t have Florida 3rd in the country. (Colley Matrix has them 2nd!!) If you look at Billingsley’s ranking, it is pretty hard on FSU and Clemson, ranking them 17th and 14th respectively. But every team ranked higher is arguably more deserving, based on W/L and/or strength of schedule. Want a better ranking? Cut out the Furmans and the Savannah States from the schedule, guys. Take a page out of Notre Dame’s book, playing all FBS teams and only one (Navy) that was not in a BCS conference. That’s how you get recognized, even if you do lose.
The bottom line is this: the BCS, as flawed as it is, is still superior to having a bunch of folks get together in a big conference room and say “this team is #1″. A playoff is the fairest way to determine the best of the best of the best (with honors), which is why every single other freaking major sport does it. Is it perfect? Of course not, as the definition of “perfect” differs based on who you’re talking to. But it’s a hell of a lot better than the archaic system that Jimbo would like us to get back to.