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BCS panel changes formula for standings

If the adjustments were in place last season, Miami would have had a shot at the national title.

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 13, 2001


The Bowl Championship Series has revised its formula for selecting teams to play in its designated title game, changes that would have added up to Miami -- not Florida State -- against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl last season.

The adjustments, announced Thursday, include a quality-win component that will award bonus points in the BCS' mathematical formula for beating a team rated in the top 15.

"To some degree this is an evolution in terms of the formula," said BCS coordinator John Swofford of the Atlantic Coast Conference. "It needs to be made better, and if we can make it better, then we feel like we should do so.

"We realize it can confuse people when we change it, but these are substantial and quality changes in the formula that are better for the game and better for our football programs."

Also, there will be less importance given to margin of victory, which has been a main concern in the first three years of the BCS.

Had the new rules been in effect in 2000, the title game would have been Miami vs. Oklahoma. Bonus points for Miami's wins against Florida State and Virginia Tech would have pushed the Hurricanes ahead of the Seminoles in the final standings.

Oklahoma beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl to win the national title last season, with Miami beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl and finishing No. 2.

"The system we were under last year was a work in progress, but a good starting point for defining a true national champion," said Miami coach Larry Coker in a statement. "I believe scoring margin needed to be evaluated, and the adjustments made to that factor are definitely a move in the right direction.

"I also am encouraged by the addition of a quality-win component. While I agree that the head-to-head game outcome should be weighed, I think it should only apply if the top-ranked opponent plays the second-ranked opponent.

"As for last year, we knew the rules that were in place and we knew the situation. It didn't work out for us, but that fact should never diminish our season."

Swofford said changes would have still been made even if the Seminoles had beaten the Sooners.

"The issues would have still been there, I just don't think they would have been quite as high on the radar screen publicly as they were before the game," Swofford said. "But those issues would have stayed on our plate in terms of the BCS."

The BCS standings use the Associated Press media poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, eight computer ratings, strength-of-schedule and win-loss records in determining its overall standings.

In addition, the BCS will replace two of the eight computer services next season, including the Dunkel Index, which depended heavily on margin of victory. Also out of the mix is the New York Times computer ratings.

The eight computer rankings to be used in 2001 are operated by: Richard Billingsley, Kenneth Massey, David Rothman, Jeff Sagarin, Scripps-Howard, Seattle Times, Peter Wolfe and Wes Colley.

The bonus for quality wins will range from a high of 1.5 points for a win against the top-ranked team to a low of 0.1 for a victory against the 15th-ranked BCS team. Should one team defeat the same top-15 team more than once in the regular season, quality points will be awarded once.

The bonus points will be awarded on a sliding scale per week, depending on where the opponent was ranked that week, and be added to each team's final point total.

"I am pleased that the leadership of the BCS is constantly improving the formula for participation and selection," Miami athletic director Paul Dee said in a statement. "This is an excellent improvement."

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