When Texas narrowly leapfrogged Southern California in the Bowl Championship Series ratings two Mondays ago, a familiar turn of events occurred. Scores of analysts began screaming that the Longhorns' move was the latest and most egregious example of why the "C" should be removed from the BCS.
A closer inspection of the standings, though, revealed that the news was really no news; USC was bound to slip back in front in a week.
"It's a nonevent," BCS analyst Jerry Palm told a reporter that day. "If you have to write 1,000 words on this, I feel for you."
The BCS is undoubtedly complicated, comprising humans and computers and decimal points, but television, radio and the Internet all help perpetuate myth and misinformation fostered by the formula. For example, Wes Colley, whose computer rankings are used in the BCS formula, recently heard one television analyst erroneously talk about the "quality victory" component of the BCS formula, which is no longer part of the equation.
"Every time you turn on the TV, there is another sports chat show where they need to sell air time bad-mouthing something," Colley said. "We're an easy target. It's easier just to have some TV show and call us a geek and not even try to understand anything. I'm not looking for a plaque to say, 'I'm okay.' But do your research and give a fair opinion on it."
Most top coaches won't even entertain the nuances of the formula, which comprises two human polls and the average of six computer rankings that are rarely examined or understood. In fact, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer maintains faith that if the Hokies win out, the computers will somehow go "ring-a-ding-ding" in his team's favor.
-- Eric Prisbell