On How We All Make Bowl Predictions

In an email from a friend:


Are you allowed to give personal BCS predictions, or would that be some sort of conflict of interest or something? How do you see the BCS bowl matchups playing out?

I think he was kidding when he asked about the conflict of interest. But he (Trace Hancock) raises an interesting question: not just how I see the BCS bowl matchups playing out, but how as a collective (fans, journalists, coaches) we see the BCS bowl matchups playing out. Fans have no input, but journalists and coaches do — they compose the human polls that the BCS takes into account. These people are supposed to rank teams based on what has happened (the past) as opposed to anything else (the future, aka the next BCS rankings and possible bowl matchups). But do they adhere to this? I wouldn’t. Let me explain:

Trace is a big Oregon Ducks fan and so he’s watching the BCS very closely. While Oregon sits in the coveted number 2 spot in the current BCS standings, anyone who has even an inkling of how the BCS formula of formulas works knows that Oregon — while most likely winning the remainder of their games –is in big trouble if they want to win a BCS championship. I think it’s safe to assume they, and Trace, do. The reason is that the 4th and 5th ranked teams (Kansas and Missouri) still play each other. The winner of that game will get to play Oklahoma (the 3rd ranked team) in the Big 12 Championship. The winner of the Big 12 Championship will gain enough strength of schedule and enough momentum in all of the computer polls to leap from Oregon in the BCS. In fact, Oregon’s only hope now is for LSU – the number 1 ranked team — to lose.

Now say you’re a journalist and you’ve figured out all of the above, but in your gut you still think Oregon is more worthy than any Big 12 school to play for the national championship. What can you do? You use the power you have (an AP vote) to rank the Big 12 schools lower. If collectively several journalists and coaches do this, this will have an influence on the human polls that influence the BS standings. It’s called manipulation. The BCS system does not take this into account and is another reason the BCS is broken in its current state.

To sum up, my point is that everyone is predicting the bowl match-ups right now, and if you thought there was a team being wronged — you would use the power the system gives you to right the wrong. So let me say it one more time: let the teams decide who is best on the field and get rid of the human and computer influence on the outcome of college football.

As for my predictions of bowl matchups:

BCS championship: LSU vs. Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Ohio St.

Orange Bowl: Kansas vs. West Virginia

Fiesta Bowl: Arizona St. vs. Georgia

Sugar Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. USC


4 Responses to “On How We All Make Bowl Predictions”

  1. Trace Says:


    Good work. You’re usually full of shit, but I like the approach you’re taking here. However, there is one glaring omission in your formula. It doesn’t take into account Team Uniforms. Everyone knows that Oregon has the most obnoxious uniforms in college sports. I’m here to say the Ducks have been unfairly penalized in the polls because of it. Clearly, Oregon would be #1 if their uniforms didn’t inspire such disgust and hatred in the hearts of AP writers and coaches. So, you need to tweak your formula a little bit to take this into account. If you are truly endeavoring to remove the human influence from the BCS system and make it fair and transparent, you’ll need to make this change. Otherwise, I’m not sure if it will be taken seriously.



  2. Walter Hubert Says:

    My question is, will the BCS committee allow two big 12 teams to play for the championship as they should based on records and talent. No, probably not because they shun the midwest when ever it comes to making selections. They figure the viewers will be less (less money) if they don’t put a team like LSU or West Virginia in. The proper match up at this point is Kansas and Missouri since Missouri beat Oklahoma. If Missouri beats Kansas in todays game it should be Missouri (#1) against Oklahoma (#2) or WestVirginia (#3). But you watch, after Missouri wins they will still be sent to the cotton bowl

  3. millercharley Says:

    If Missouri OR Kansas wins out, they have a spot in the BCS championship — I think everyone assumes this. But you are right the loser of the Missouri – Kansas game will be shun from any chance at a rematch for the championship… much like the Ohio State vs. Michigan game last year when some wanted a rematch of those two schools in the BCS championship.

    Here’s my feeling: It’s important to not have 2 schools from the same conference play for the national championship simply for the sake of competitive balance. The Big 12 crowns their own champion through their own process — so if a team comes up short in the Big 12, why are they more deserving to get a 2nd chance than say the SEC, Pac 10, Big East, of Big Ten champion? More importantly: what would the repercussions be is the 2nd place Big 12 team actually beat the Big 12 champion in the BCS championship? This would mean the 2 teams split their head to head matchups most likely and doesn’t really signify one as being better or more deserving; it just means they won the 2nd game when it counted more.

  4. millercharley Says:

    I should note: my system could in theory place 2 schools from the same conference in the BCS championship.

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