Monday, December 6, 2010

Garbage In, Garbage Out: BCS “Glitch” causes teams to be ranked wrong

Via Jerry Palm, BCS Guru, writing in a special piece for CBS Sports.

The final BCS ratings show LSU ranked 10th and Boise State 11th. But I discovered a mistake that would switch the order of those teams. The Broncos should be BCS No. 10.

Wes Colley's final rankings, as submitted to the BCS, were incorrect. The Appalachian State-Western Illinois FCS playoff game was missing from his data set. I will spare you some of the gory, mathematical details, but the net result of that omission in Colley's rankings is that LSU, which he ranked ninth, and his No. 10, Boise State, should be switched. Alabama and Nebraska, which he had 17th and 18th, would also be swapped.

The impact on Nebraska and Alabama is negligible. Nebraska is still the 17th ranked overall computer team either way. The Huskers' BCS score would go up slightly, but they wouldn't still rank 18th. Colley's ranking is discarded for Alabama because it is the worst ranking for the Tide. But LSU and Boise State are so close in the overall BCS standings (.0063) that this one error switches the order. Boise State should be 10th in the overall BCS standings and LSU should be No. 11.

This may not seem overly important, especially since neither team qualified for a BCS game either way. It may be important though because the Mountain West, Boise State's new home, is making an effort to become an AQ conference. This week's data -- the final regular season standings -- is part of the basis for making that determination. Every little bit helps, or at least it could.

But the bigger point is that nobody checks the BCS computer data. We should all be grateful to Colley for having a system that is open, accountable and verifiable. The BCS owes us an entire system that is open, accountable and verifiable.

A little more ammunition for the Playoff Agitators.  Which, if you ask me, a 4-team, 8-team or even 16-team bracket simply changes the argument over who should be the #2 team in the final BCS rankings to who should get an at-large bid to the tourney.


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