Saturday, January 9, 2010

The BCS Decoded

When the BCS Bowl game opponents were announced on Sunday, you knew there was going to more debate than usual. Unbeatens TCU and Boise St were matched against each other in the Fiesta Bowl and immediately the shit storm erupted. Message boards were overwhelmed with BCS is crap talk. Sports writers across the nation were crying about how we needed a playoff. I immediately tweeted that the BCS took the easy way out matching them together. For money reasons, I didn’t think the powers that be wanted a Big 6 team to lose to one of the “little guys.” It seemed there was more BCS hate directed at the Fiesta Bowl matchup than at the five undefeated teams vying for the championship game spots. After Chris and I had lunch with our friend Herbie, I now see the whole situation different. Herbie explained that the BCS determines which teams are eligible and the selection process, but the actual Bowl representatives pick the teams to play in their games. I checked out the BCS website and here is the process in an easier to understand format.

There are a few steps to determine which teams are actually eligible for BCS contention. The top two teams from the final BCS Poll receive automatic bids to the title game. This put Alabama and Texas in the BCS National Championship game. The champions of the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East, and Southeastern Conferences also are rewarded with automatic qualification into the BCS pool. This provision added Georgia Tech, Ohio St., Oregon, and Cincinnati as auto qualifiers. The third step in determining automatic qualification is that if a conference champion from one of the other conferences finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS poll. This added TCU to the pool. The Notre Dame clause is next. If the Irish finish in the top 8 they are guaranteed a BCS bid. Luckily we didn’t have that problem this year. The final two provisions weren’t needed this year as the third and fourth ranked teams had all ready qualified.

If there are fewer than ten automatic qualifiers, the remaining teams are then looked at to determine if they qualify for at large consideration. The remaining berths are comprised of any bowl eligible team that has at least nine wins and finished in the top 14 of the BCS poll. This added Iowa, Boise St, Penn St, LSU, Virginia Tech, BYU, and Florida as at large possibilities. If fewer than 10 teams are eligible at this point, there are other provisions but weren’t needed this year.

Here are the BCS eligible teams:
Automatic Qualifiers
Georgia Tech
Ohio St.
At-Large Consideration
Boise St.
Penn St.
Virginia Tech

The team selection process in done next and conferences are capped at two teams that can be selected. Again the top two teams are in the title game. Some of the conferences have tie-ins to specific bowls unless the conference champion is selected for the title game. The ACC is committed to the Orange Bowl so they get Georgia Tech. The Rose Bowl gets the Big 10 and Pac 10 champions. This year that’s Ohio St. and Oregon. The Big 12 champ typically hosts the Fiesta Bowl while the SEC is teamed with the Sugar Bowl. Since the league champions were selected for the title game, the Sugar and Fiesta Bowl gets to pick a replacement host from the pool of eligible teams. The Sugar gets to select first this season because the SEC champ was ranked number one. The remaining spots in the Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange Bowls are then picked in an order that is rotated yearly.

I don’t know if it this clears things up for everybody but it did for me. After reviewing the process and walking through it, I feel I have a better understanding of it. I can’t badmouth the BCS as much as yesterday but I now think the Fiesta Bowl reps should be bitch slapped. Next question. Would a playoff format work better? Nope but that’s a different story.

This originally was pot on 12/8/2009 on

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