New York–I’m up here for a few days doing some work for The CBS College Sports Network and getting ready for the College Football Hall of Fame dinner tonight.
It’s a great event and just about everybody who works in the sport is in attendance. We should be talking about another great college football season and the anticipation of what looks to be an incredible BCS championship game between No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon.
But what are we talking about today during this large gathering of college football people? We’re talking about a damned computer that wasn’t programmed right.
The problem is simple: One of the computers (Wes Colley’s rankings) that is used in the BCS formula did not properly update its information. The formula was missing one game. As a result LSU was No. 10 and Boise State was No. 11 in Sunday’s final standings. The error was caught, corrected, and new standings were released on Monday with the position of the teams reversed.
The error did not have an impact on the bowl lineup. But I promise you that it sent a shiver down the collective spine of the BCS commissioners. What if this error had happened near the top of the standings? I’m not talking about the top two. That disaster would be obvious.
But what about this? Wisconsin was No. 5 and Ohio State No. 6 in the final BCS standings. If those two spots had been reversed, Ohio State would have gone to the Rose Bowl instead of the Badgers.
What if your job was to tell Ohio State that a mistake was made and that they, after the invitation was extended on Sunday, were not going to the Rose Bowl after all? What kind of storm would that cause? A big one.
Give Wes Colley (brother of former Georgia player Will Colley) some credit. He caught the error and fixed it. But Colley is the only one of the six computer polls who release his formula so that others can check the math and the methodology. The people who run the other five computers simply say “trust us. We got it right.”
But if they don’t get it right, who will know?
If you already hate the BCS, this just solidifies your opinion and throws another log on the fire of disdain you have for the process. If you’re not quite sure this certainly undermines your belief in the system. Transparency remains a major problem in the BCS . The coaches vote in secret until the final ballot. The computers, except for Colley’s, work in secret and ask us all to trust them.
Sorry. That’s not good enough.
This is a problem for the BCS, which is already being hammered on a lot of different sides. People are writing books called “Death to the BCS.” People feel passionately about this issue.
This needs to get fixed. Now.
Tell the computer guys that they have to release their formulas or allow an independent person to double check their math each week. There have to be more checks and balances in the system if it is going to remain credible.
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