What's wrong with the BCS? Look no further than the two polls that account for two-thirds of the BCS Standings.
This week's Simulated BCS Standings are just about as good as the real thing, with nearly 90 percent of the data for the actual standings available - both the Coaches and Harris polls and four of the six computers.
But the near-fatal flaw of the BCS Standings becomes immediately evident as soon as the Harris Poll is released. With another year potentially to be dominated by parity - only 17 teams remain unbeaten after four weeks - the standings will have the final say on who gets to play in the BCS national championship game. And yet again, the standings will be heavily influenced by two highly biased and unreliable polls.
Let's count the ways:
1. The Harris Poll doesn't come out until the fourth week of the season, ostensibly to free the voters from preseason prejudices. Guess what? It's just not happening. The top 10 of the Harris Poll has the exact same 10 teams from the AP Poll, and in the exact order, except for Nos. 8-9 Ohio State and Oklahoma traded places.
2. If the Harris Poll was to be free of preseason biases, how would you explain the fact that Oregon is ranked No. 23 and Cal at No. 21? The Ducks just destroyed the Bears by 39 points. The two teams have identical records at 3-1. And Oregon played a considerably tougher schedule than the Bears did, with games against three ranked opponents. If the Harris voters indeed voted on the basis of pure performance, there is no way that Cal should be ranked ahead of Oregon. ... The same goes for Penn State being two spots ahead of Iowa.
3. The credibility of the Harris Poll is again highly questionable, with voters putting teams like Iowa State, Kansas State, Washington and Texas Tech in the top 25.
4. The Coaches Poll has the same sort of problems, as usual. And since both polls do not release the individual ballots to the public until the final vote, there is little or no transparency in the process.
As long as these two polls get to dominate the BCS Standings, the BCS will always lack a certain amount of legitimacy. With so much money and prestige on the line in the biggest intercollegiate sport, it's in many ways mind-boggling that a system can continue to thrive with so little checks and balances to ensure fairness.
Then again, big-time college sports isn't really about fairness, is it?