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BCS Explained

The first BCS standings were released earlier today. This is the ninth season using the BCS formula to determine who plays for the national championship. The top two teams at the end of the season will meet in Glendale, Arizona in the BCS National Championship game on January 8th, 2007.  

The current formula has three equal parts.

  1. A team's point total in the Harris Interactive Poll as a percentage of total points (max 2850).
  2. A team's point total in the USA Today Coaches Poll as a percentage of total points (max 1575).
  3. An average of six computer polls with the high and low discarded.  
Let's take a look at how Texas was ranked 9th with 0.6841 points in the initial poll.

In the Harris poll, Texas is ranked 5th with 2360 total points.
So, the first part of Texas' score is 2360 actual points / 2850 total points = 0.828

In the Coaches poll, Texas is ranked 5th with 1341 total points.
So, the second part of Texas' score is 1341 actual points / 1575 total points = 0.834

The third part is a little more complicated. There are six computers rankings used by the BCS: Anderson/Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Ken Massey, Jeff Sagarin, and Peter Wolfe. Each produces a top 25. The top ranked team is awarded 25 points. The second ranked team is awarded 24 points. This continues until the 25th ranked team is awarded just a single point. If a team is not ranked in the top 25, they are awarded no points. The computer rankings take into account who you beat and where but not by how much.

Texas is currently ranked 17th, 7th, 17th, 15th, 16th and 18th in the six computers. These correspond to 9, 19, 9, 11, 10, and 8 points each. The highest and lowest are thrown out and the rest added together. The total is then divided by a possible 100 points.
So, the last part of Texas' score is 9 + 19 + 9 + 11 + 10 + 8  = 39 / 100 = 0.390

Add up each of the three parts and divide by three.
(0.828 + 0.834 + 0.390) / 3 = 0.6841.

Texas is getting killed by the computer rankings up to this point in the season. This will improve as we play tougher competition. Even though we played Ohio State, our overall strength of schedule is heavily deflated by Sam Houston State, Rice, and North Texas. As long as we continue to win, our computer rankings will improve as we add Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M to the mix.