Blog Entry

The Polls expose the problems with the BCS

Posted on: August 21, 2010 7:07 pm

The USA Today Top 25 Coaches poll came out at the beginning of this month and its results highlight the problems with voting in order to determine which teams will play in the college football national championship game.

To start with, 53 teams received votes for a top 25 poll, if the voters 'resolution' is that blurred when trying to come up with a top 25, how can one have faith in their determination between the second and third best teams that are fighting it out in order to play in the mythical national championship game, that's assuming they got the number one team right in the first place.

Alabama may very well end up looking like the best team in the country this year, but they were voted number one less than a week after opening training camp, even though nine starters on defense are not returning. The team wasn't even in pads much before the 'experts' proclaimed them number one, however, it was not unanimous as a number of voters did cast their top vote for Ohio State.

In most years, there are teams that surprise, some say come out of no where, but in the current system (BCS) they would be left out of the title hunt just because the 'experts' didn't see them coming. The lack of pre-season attention (votes) will seal their fates. Some teams, e.g. Utah and Boise State, don't surprise anyone with their success and are still left out due to conference biases and the unfair nature of the current system.

Voter's reasoning for voting a certain team a certain spot vary, from conference affiliations, rivalries, past employment, east/west coast biases, etc. Many times the coaches entrusted with voting don't do it themselves and pass that duty onto an assistant whom probably hasn't had time to view all the games involving all the teams in the chase.  All the uncertainty in voting could be easily done away with by implementing a playoff, I vote that it is long overdue.

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Category: NCAAF
Tags: bcs, playoff, polls, voting

Since: Jul 2, 2010
Posted on: September 12, 2010 6:39 pm

The Polls expose the problems with the BCS

You may have a point, but not in week 1.

1 way to help is to post the ballots with the voters name.

Another is to delay the 1st poll, but early season polls help sell press - this isn't likely to happen.

I often considered a 3rd option - allow early season pollsters to vote ties.  In other words, where desired they can vote teams into tiers.  As the season progresses, the number of teams they can vote as tied drops until you can't have any ties (somewhere around week 6 thru 8).  The published poll is the average (ie - if a pollster voted 3 teams tied at 1 thru 3, they are all ranked 2 on his ballot).  Using tiers wouldn't be a requirement, just an option (they can still vote 1-2-3-etc. if they want).

I think the pollsters would prefer it - they have a general opinion, but they would likely confess they aren't confident about ranking 14 thru 17 in a specific order with little to go on, but do have confidence with the teams in that range.

It would help with the reluctance to jump teams - they aren't moving them between rankings, just between tiers - they won't fully commit to a set 1-2-3... ranking until mid to late season.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or