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Nine Conference Games Makes BCS Sense


Posted Jun 10, 2008


One of the worst issues that occurred in college football was in 2004 that saw Auburn run the table only to be left out of the national title game. It would be determined that both the Tigers schedule and low starting position were keys to this single event that kept the SEC from a fifth BCS Crown in the nine championship games now played.

One of the worst issues that occurred in college football was in 2004 that saw Auburn run the table only to be left out of the national title game. It would be determined that both the Tigers schedule and low starting position were keys to this single event that kept the SEC from a fifth BCS Crown in the nine games now played.

After investigating this, it was both true on the surface, and underneath as well. Yet, it could have been avoided down in Toomer’s Corner with scheduling the main focus. Exactly how did the PAC 10 jump so high in the math polls that it saw the SEC’s best team left behind and out.

Simple, the PAC 10 plays nine conference games, while the SEC plays only eight conference games during the new 12 game schedules. The plus one scenario has already taken place within the nine-conference game schedule that many have no clue about what is happening.

It used to be that the SEC formula was an eight game conference schedule with the three non-conference opponents. It was what got Tennessee ahead in the first BCS match up in 1998 by playing the big schools across the board, while losing only four games in a five year span.

LSU used the format in 2003, as rumblings from the west coast began emerging with a rising Southern Cal program in the polls. While it will always be debatable as to who deserved the tilt with Oklahoma, it is the plus one conference game that makes the real difference now.

Any PAC 10 opponent is worth more BCS weight than and Division 1 AA program that Auburn had padded their schedule with at that time, currently still are. The worst team in the PAC will always be greater than anyone outside of Appalachian State -- a true BCS killing program that is certainly much smaller than the one other BCS derailing program in Boise State.

Looking at 2007, PAC 10 cellar dwellers Stanford or Washington State would bring much more weight than do a Georgia Southern, Citadel or Western Michigan possibly could in the number tally for '08.

The ACC may have just figured this new nine game tactic out, and it appears is taking the lead in capitalizing on the real numbers – the BCS final numbers that are handed out the following springs of each season that might possibly be tinted green – or is that gold.

The PAC 10 claims it is used to avoid a conference championship game by playing a round robin during the season, but that is not all it accomplishes in the end. Simply looking at Southern California’s 2008 schedule shows, twelve big time 1-A opponents with nine of them in the conference itself.

As an example, Auburn shows eight conference games, and only one non-conference game that is 1-A worthy in West Virginia. The Tigers have scheduled Louisiana Lafayette, Southern Miss and Tennessee-Martin in ’08. While the Trojans ’08 non-conference games are against Virginia, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

The BCS is a math formula, the same as any computed formula, is no different than the one you use to calculate fuel mileage in your vehicle. Plug in those numbers and out comes the answer simply put. It is not that complicated to compute and to understand, were not talking poll logic here – only simple addition and division. What goes along with the simple addition and division is another story when the questionable computations are made.

Obviously in 2008 Southern Cal will outweigh Auburn, should a scenario similar play out this upcoming season as it did in ‘04. While it is very true the middle and lower SEC teams are stronger opponents than other conferences middle and lower, it is the cupcakes that are being brought in that are an undoing with eight game schedules.

The SEC rotates one permanent opponent in the opposite division with one playing for a two-year span to make up eight conference games in two - six team divisions. This leaves them with an 8-4 format to calculate in the final math polls.

Oklahoma of the Big 12 will play the eight conference game schedule in 2008, but they have loaded up with Division 1AA Tennessee-Chattanooga, 1A Cincinnati Washington, and TCU.

Adding the Division 1A teams will push the Sooner’s math numbers higher with one cupcake game against the Mocs for Oklahoma this season, as TCU is always a Mountain West leader.

The SEC should have two schools in the top of the polls early in Florida and Georgia, to make the run based on the eight game schedules, where an Auburn program will start in the middle of the polls, and play cupcakes while hoping, then ranting to the media for poll respect.

Outside of Tennessee there is little chance another SEC school is on the horizon in 2008, while it is possible Alabama could become a contender, the buck is still going to stop with the two top conference schools in BCS fairness.

Unless the SEC athletic directors wise up quickly, they may see another school looking in from the outside, just as what 2004 brought to the land of Dixie. With twelve games being played, the math numbers must increase by one digit -- to nine.

College football is truly by the numbers, from the stat numbers, schedule numbers, final score numbers, poll numbers, computer formula numbers, and those BCS numbers that everyone seeks. After all, the big buck truly stops with several trailing zeros and that is what it is all about with a plus one game played within the conference itself. –n-

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