The Washington Post

BCS football rankings if academics mattered

(Dave Martin — Associated Press)

What would the BCS football rankings look like if academics were taken into account? The nonprofit New America Foundation tells us in an analysis that looks at the 25 schools ranked in the Bowl Championship Series.

In the BCS rankings, No. 1 is Notre Dame, No. 2 is Alabama, No. 3 is Florida, No. 4 is Oregon and No. 5 is Kansas State. The foundation’s analysis shows:

* The No. 1 school would be Northwestern University, which is ranked 20th in the BCS, if academic issues mattered. The school in Evanston, Ill., has the highest graduation rate among the ranked, with 90 percent of its football players getting a degree, and there is no difference between black and white players.

* The top-ranked BCS team, Notre Dame, is fifth on New Foundation’s list, and No. 2 Alabama (whose black football players have a lower graduation rate than its white players) is 7th.

* The team that is last on New America’s list is Florida State, which ranks 12th on the BCS list, and, in fact, has the only negative score because there is “a 67 percentage point disparity in graduation rates between white and black players.”

*Rounding out the top five on the New America list is No. 2, Northern Illinois; No. 3, Boise State, No. 4, Stanford.

You can see the whole list and statistics explaining the rankings here.


(Correction: An early version of this post listed Kansas rather than Kansas State. It is now correct.)

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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