What the BCS Top 25 standings would look like ahead of Week 9 of college football
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What the BCS Top 25 standings would look like ahead of Week 9 of college football

Ashton Pollardabout 1 month
Article written by:Ashton PollardAshton Pollard

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What was supposed to be one of the quieter weekends of college football had a few upsets brewing in the first half. Unfortunately for fans of chaos, many of them did not pan out. Oklahoma, Cincinnati and Oregon won narrow contests against unranked opponents, but Penn State was not as lucky, falling to Illinois in a 9OT thriller

As a result, the BCS simulation rankings look very similar to last week, although there is a major shake up at the very top.

BCS rankings ahead of Week 9

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0) 
  2. Cincinnati Bearcats (7-0)
  3. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1)
  4. Oklahoma Sooners (8-0)
  5. Michigan Wolverines (7-0) 
  6. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) 
  7. Michigan State Spartans (7-0)
  8. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1)
  9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)
  10. Ole Miss Rebels (6-1)
  11. Oregon Ducks (6-1)
  12. Kentucky Wildcats (6-1)
  13. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1)
  14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-0)
  15. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)
  16. Baylor Bears (6-1)
  17. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1)
  18. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2)
  19. San Diego State Aztecs (7-0)
  20. Auburn Tigers (5-2)
  21. SMU Mustangs (7-0)
  22. Iowa State Cyclones (5-2)
  23. UTSA Roadrunners (8-0)
  24. BYU Cougars (6-2)
  25. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (6-1)

The top-four teams in the BCS rankings simulation match the top-four teams in the AP Poll. Last week’s BCS standings had Georgia and Oklahoma at the top, but this week’s list has Cincinnati in the No. 2 spot. If the national championship was played today under the old system, the Group of Five’s Cincinnati would face the Bulldogs. 

Like last week, the computers still do not like Oregon; they are No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 12 here. The Ducks pulled out the 34-31 win over UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, but it was their fifth game of the season decided by one possession. None of Oregon’s next three opponents have a winning record, and the three teams have a combined six Power Five victories. In other words, Oregon will have the chance to put up some style points in the coming weeks, but as they learned in the close victory over now 2-5 Cal, wins are not guaranteed. 

Outside of Oregon, the BCS rankings closely mirror this week’s AP Poll. Eighteen teams either have the same ranking in the two polls or their BCS spot is within one spot of the AP Poll designation. Both polls are peppered with Group of Five teams in the latter half, with a total of five teams. The SEC leads all conferences with six selections itself, followed by five from the Big Ten, four from the Big 12, two from the ACC and one from the Pac-12. Notre Dame and BYU are independent.

While many of the higher-profile matchups in the SEC have already taken place, the Big Ten and the Big 12 will be sorted out in the coming weeks. This weekend is a huge one for the Big Ten, as Michigan heads to East Lansing for a date with Michigan State, and Penn State plays Ohio State in Columbus.

From BCS to CFP

Prior to the current CFP system, college football was governed by the BCS, whose final rankings were computer generated, and two teams faced off in the national championship to conclude the season. The system also created matchups for four additional prestigious bowl games: the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. 

The BCS formula used a number of factors to produce its list. There were three components to the rankings, with a mix of human and computer generated thoughts: the Harris Poll, the Coaches Poll and the computer rankings. All three parts were weighted equally. 

The Harris and Coaches Polls had values assigned to each spot in reverse order. For example, in the Harris Poll of 25 teams, the top team receives 25 points, the second team receives 24 points, etc. The Coaches Poll had a similar scoring system, although there were fewer voters involved.

The third part, the computer rankings, included six additional polls: Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin’s USA Today and Peter Wolfe. In the end, the final values assigned to each team in the three categories are averaged, and the BCS rankings were produced.

Beginning in 2014, the CFP replaced the BCS. Two semifinal games are played around New Year’s Day, and the games take place on a rotating basis at six of the country’s top bowls – the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The two winners advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship. That game is played on a Monday night in the second week of January.

The CFP selection process is more subjective than the BCS, as the teams are decided upon by 13 people and there is no longer a strict computer component. The selection committee is composed of athletic directors, former coaches and student-athletes, and others in the college administration world. The current chair of the committee is Gary Barta, the athletic director at Iowa.

“The selection committee ranks the teams based on the members’ evaluation of the teams’ performance on the field, using conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and comparison of results against common opponents to decide among teams that are comparable,” the website says.

Additionally, there is a board of governors made up of presidents and chancellors from the 10 FBS conferences plus Notre Dame which governs the administrative actions of the CFP.

Alabama is the reigning national champion and holds the most CFP wins at eight. In total, the SEC and the ACC each have eight playoff appearances, driven largely by Alabama and Clemson’s near-constant presence at the top in recent years. Technically, all FBS teams have equal access to the playoff; there are no automatic qualifiers. 

College football remains the only college sport in the country without an officially NCAA-sanctioned championship. At its core, the CFP is really a television contract currently owned by ESPN.