Looking For A Few Nice Cupcakes

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - September 28, 2005
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With the college football season going into the fifth week, it’s once again time to bash the BCS - not that this is a planned yearly event or something that has been thought about for weeks. Further reading will prove that.

But with this year’s abundance of preconference cup-cakes on the dinner table of nearly every major university, we can comfortably reason that no sooner had the BCS announced it would eliminate the strength of schedule element from its rankings, teams would cut ties to anyone with a pulse.


Florida State got off on the right foot by beating mighty Citadel 62-10. Boston College went after Army (44-7). Virginia Tech, with the talent to get to the big game, offered up Ohio University (45-0). Even lowly Duke got in on the act by hosting Div. 1-AA VMI - the 40-14 victory sure to be one of the Blue Devils’ few this season.

Now let’s not jump all over the ACC for scheduling such weak opponents. No conference had a bigger soft spot for the “who the hell are they” schools than the Big 12. Ushered in for the easy paycheck and a thorough spanking were Div. 1-AA opponents Appalachian State, Maine, Stamford and Sam Houston State, plus unchallenging 1-A teams Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida International.

Not to be outdone was the Big Ten. When Indiana goes 3-0, you know someone is just not trying. Among the teams tackled by the major Midwest major were Kent State, Temple (the ACC’s favorite whipping boy), Ball State, Rutgers and Florida Atlantic. And that’s just in week one. Week two saw the importation of powerhouses Nicholls State (1-AA), Akron and, yes, you guessed it, Temple one more time.

The SEC found time for two 1-AAs and four Sunbelt (3-17 out of conference) teams while the Big East, the absolutely worst BCS conference, took on few tougher than Buffalo.

To find what goes into determining the participants for the mythical national championship game, a trip to the BCS web site is in order. It reads: “This year, the BCS Standings will include three components: USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings.” It goes on from there, but here’s the point. When a paragraph begins with “this year” it makes you wonder what’s on tap for “next year.”


The original design behind the BCS was to reduce the effects of imperfect humans who at times had shown tendencies to play favorites. Computers have no friends therefore they are above such trivial matters. Of course when the machines became the problem because of their inability to reason, the cry went out yet once again.

The newest creation eliminating the need to play anyone of any ability resulted in the BCS conferences opening up with a .756 winning percentage. If we take away the two weak links in the exclusive chain, the ACC and the Big East, that number jumps to .796. We left out the WAC, MAC, Sunbelt, Mountain West and Conference USA, which are technically eligible to play in one of the big games, but will never get there without divine intervention. Possibly if those groups improved on their 34-76 preconference schedule their chances may get a boost.

The message is clear. To move up in the rankings, it is better to be Texas Tech (one Sunbelt and two Div. 1-AA schools) than Notre Dame (Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State, Washington, Purdue, USC, Tennessee and Stanford).

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