Why the Ducks are #3 in the BCS, A Basic Explanation

OK Duck fans, I get it. We are all just a bit ticked off to say the least. After sitting at #2 in the human polls for several weeks now, the BCS has knocked Oregon down a notch to #3. But why?

To understand how Florida State was able to jump Oregon in the BCS, despite sitting 3 spots below them (before this week) in the human polls, we have to first understand the BCS formula. Let me first say, the formula is pretty complex and confusing. You could spend hours, as I have, trying to sort it all out and even then, you’re likely to get frustrated. I can’t promise to give an entirely accurate breakdown, but I’ll do my best.

The BCS standings are comprised of 3 parts:
1. The Coaches Poll
2. The Harris Poll
3. Computers

Both polls involve humans (coaches, pundits, current and former players and media). In each poll, each team is given a score based on their rank (for each vote) For example, the #25 team will be awarded 1 point, the #24 team will be awarded 2 points and so on. Once the points are added, a percentage is assigned.

The computers involve 6 computers that are programmed with formulas developed by humans. Each of these formulas are based on different opinions and theories. This is where things get messy.

Some of the computers take into account and weigh different things such as location of win, the previous year’s results, wins and losses and the big one…STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE. Honestly, it’s all pretty subjective and some formulas aren’t even known to the public.

It’s important to note that none of the computers factor in margin of victory (not good for Oregon).

So, if the Ducks were #2 in both human polls, how did they drop?

The Ducks were given a #4 ranking by the computers, while Florida State was given a #1 ranking, giving them just a slight advantage over Oregon. Although the exact reason why the computers put FSU at the top may not ever be completely understood, it likely had a lot to do with strength of schedule. At this point, although Oregon has slaughtered every opponent, they have only played one ranked team (Washington) who has now has 2 losses.Β  Basically, the fact that FSU beat a then ranked #3 Clemson this weekend, gave them a cyber boost (Don’t shoot, I didn’t say it was fair).

What now?

As annoying as it is to see our Ducks get beat out by computer, aka idiot, polls, it really doesn’t matter at this point. If strength of schedule is really the measure they’re up against, the Ducks will top FSU in no time, as long as they keep winning- even if FSU also wins out. The Ducks will face at least 3 ranked teams in their remaining schedule, while the Seminoles face just one. That should be enough to get Oregon to that National Championship. The computers can only be so stupid.

6 Comments on Why the Ducks are #3 in the BCS, A Basic Explanation

  1. I love reading your posts πŸ™‚ But, I will have to say…..no matter how much explaining….nobody will ever be able to “understand” the BCS ratings. Ever…..we just have to be happy that this is the last year! πŸ™‚ Again, I love it πŸ™‚

  2. Win The Day! When Oregon does this, they are in! Buff said. Nicole covered this solution very well!!!! GO DUCKS!!!!

  3. I really enjoyed your article Nicole! It is becoming apparent that more and more women know more about football than we get credit for. I’ve been a fan for over 50 years now, and own my own sports fan social network. Thank you for explaining the BCS system….well done.

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