Football Helmet Will College Football Ever Have A Playoff?

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Current BCS System

Proposed Playoff System

Other Playoff Systems

Works Cited

The BCS (Bowl Championship Series) system was put in place to allow college football to have a true champion. The system replaced the old Bowl Alliance system. The Bowl Alliance system had many flaws and would often crown two champions. The BCS was set up to allow the number one and two teams to play for the title. The BCS formula is very complicated and confusing. The main objective of the system is to find a way to rank the teams and align them to the right bowl game.

The BCS has four bowl games they can choose to send the top ranked teams to. The top two teams will play for the title and the others are selected to bowls based on several other factors. Factors like location, fan support, conference tie ins, and so on. A team can earn an automatic bid to a BCS bowl by winning a BCS conference title. The BCS conferences are the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, PAC 10, and Big East.

The system the BCS uses to rank teams is complicated. The basics of the system are to average the AP and ESPN Coaches poll, add the number of losses, figure out strength of schedule, and average out seven computer rankings. These four parts are then added up and the team with the lowest score is the top ranked team. The system is similar to golf, it is better to have a low score.

Strength of schedule is figured out by dividing your opponent’s wins and losses. This percentage gives you 2/3 of the formula. The other 1/3 is figured by dividing your opponents, opponents wins and losses. In 2001 the BCS added quality wins to the strength of schedule rankings. A quality win is figured by defeating a top 10 team. The system is set on a sliding scale were a team receives 1.0 points for beating the top team and .01 for beating the tenth ranked team. This number is then subtracted from your BCS total giving you a lower score.

The computer rankings are one of the biggest mysteries of the BCS system. Seven chosen people have come up with their own way of ranking the teams. Each system is independent of the other. These chosen people plug their formulas into the computer system. Each team will then drop its lowest computer score and then take the average of the other six.

This is the basics of how the BCS system works. The system may not be flawless but it has improved over the previous Bowl Alliance system. The BCS at least has a system that tries to place the two best teams in the championship game.


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Copyright© 2003 Bruce Varnadore