Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Last Days of BCS

For college football, this is 1991. The Berlin Wall has fallen. The Soviet Union is scheduled to be dissolved. There is a fin de siecle feel to things. No matter what happens, we know for certain that the much-maligned BCS will be consigned to the ash heap of history at the end of the season.

Few will mourn the passing of the BCS while we leap into a new, unknown age. But some day, we might look back to the BCS era with some fondness, reminiscing about when there was so much transparency to how things are settled. Under the College Football Playoff, there will be no BCS standings, no formulas, no publicly available polls and computer rankings to dissect. The fate of the playoff aspirants will be decided in a smoke-filled -free conference room on the last day of the regular season.

So while we can - and for the last time - we have put together the simulated preseason BCS standings. The method is the same as before: We used the AP poll to stand in for the Harris poll and the median rankings of 24 computer ratings to replace the six "official" computer rankings to produce a facsimile of what the BCS standings would look like 10 days before the season's first kickoff.

Even though computer rankings tend to be very volatile early in the season, you can already see some patterns emerging. Three of the six official BCS computers will have a preseason ranking, with Sagarin and Massey basing theirs on the expected strength of schedule and outcome while Billingsley basing his entirely on the rankings at the close of the previous season.

The simulated standings do not closely conform to the two polls, even though they account for two-thirds of the standings and are nearly identical. We can clearly forecast that one top team will have a lot of trouble with the computers: Louisville.


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