Bowl Championship Series Tweaks Guidelines
July 2, 1999
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
Say goodbye to maximum adjusted deviation.
The Bowl Championship Series on Wednesday modified its guidelines forselecting teams, adding more computer rankings and dropping its most perplexingterm.
The BCS also toughened eligibility standards for the four major bowls and,in a move seemingly aimed at the Big East, set up a mechanism that could stripweaker conferences of automatic bids.
Maximum adjusted deviation was used last season in the event of any unusualdifferences in the computer rankings. Don’t even ask how it was determined.
“The concept is still there,” said Southeastern Conference commissionerRoy Kramer, chairman of the BCS, “but it’s done in a much simpler way.”
The BCS standings are determined through four factors: a combined ranking inThe Associated Press media poll and ESPN-USA Today coaches poll; computersurveys; strength of schedule; and won-loss record.
This season, the BCS will again use the computer ratings of Jeff Sagarin,The New York Times and the Seattle Times. But it also will consider RichardBillingsley, Dunkel Index, Kenneth Massey, David Rothman and Matthews-ScrippsHoward.
“It’s always good to get a second, third, fourth or fifth opinion,” Kramersaid.
A school’s lowest ranking from the eight computer services will be thrownout, eliminating the possibility of a team being hurt by an unusual differencein one of the polls. That process takes the place of maximum adjusteddeviation.
The BCS took no action to address one of the major concerns from its debutseason – the exclusion of a worthy team such as Kansas State.
Last year, the Wildcats were relegated to a minor bowl even though they lostonly one game – the Big 12 championship in overtime – and were ranked No. 3 inthe final BCS standings.
“We still feel the bowls, after you get past the 1-2 game, need to havesome regional flexibility,” Kramer said. “You can’t take two West Coast teamsand play in Miami. You’ve got to have regional ties to make the bowlssucceed.”
The BCS is considering whether to add a fifth game to its lineup, providingspots for two more at-large teams. While Kramer described the talks as “verypreliminary,” he didn’t rule out another bowl game as soon as 2001.
For now, champions from the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Atlantic Coastand Pac-10 receive automatic bids to the BCS, which also includes two at-largeteams.
The 1-2 teams in the BCS standings are matched in a national title game thatrotates among the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls. The other six teams aredivided by the remaining games.
The 2000 title game will be held Jan. 4 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Last season – the first for the BCS – teams were eligible for at-largeberths with either eight victories or by finishing no lower than 12th in theBCS standings. Now, teams must have nine regular-season wins over NCAA DivisionI-A opponents and at least a No. 12 ranking.
Kramer said the main purpose of the stricter standards was to give schoolsmore flexibility in making deals with bowls outside the BCS.
“Last year, we were holding up a lot of teams with eight wins that wedidn’t need to hold,” he said.
Beginning this season, each of the six BCS leagues must show it is worthy ofthat status. If a conference’s automatic qualifiers failed to average at leasta No. 12 BCS rating over a four-year period, it could be stripped of the bid.
The decision seems most directed at the Big East, which has been criticizedfor sending subpar champions to the major bowls. Last season, Syracuse (8-4)finished No. 15 in the BCS rankings and was routed by Florida 31-10 in theOrange Bowl.
“It’s a very logical move,” Kramer said. “As other conferences expand andgrow, there should be an opportunity for change to occur.”
Kramer scoffed at complaints that the average fan can’t comprehend the BCSand its complex formulas – even with the deletion of maximum adjusteddeviation.
“This is much easier to explain than a subjective poll,” he said. “Youdon’t know why anyone voted the way they did in a subjective poll.”