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BCS mixes change into bowl formula

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

NEW YORK -- Once again, college football has changed its formula for determining which teams play in its national championship game.

The Bowl Championship Series on Tuesday eliminated the margin of victory calculation used in the computer ratings portion of the BCS standings, and also reduced the number of computers used from eight to seven.

"By eliminating margin of victory, it takes the idea of how you win and puts it in a proper perspective," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who serves as the BCS coordinator this season. "The coaches didn't want it and the athletic directors didn't want it. We're putting more value in the strength of schedule."

In addition, teams will receive bonus points for wins over opponents in the BCS' final top 10 instead of the final top 15 as they did last season.

The margin of victory change is not a drastic measure, but it shook up the computer ratings lineup. Out are Herman Matthews and David Rothman, both of whom decided not to eliminate margin of victory from their ratings. The New York Times poll is in after a year's absence.

"They told us they'd remove the margin of victory element and that they wanted consideration," said Tranghese, adding that at least nine other computer services also made pitches. "They've been in it before, and have been good partners."

The computer ratings count 25 percent in the BCS standings -- the other elements are The Associated Press media poll and the USA Today/ ESPN coaches poll, strength of schedule and won-loss record.

If the margin of victory change had been in effect last year, there's a good chance that Oregon -- not Nebraska -- would have played Miami for the national title in the Rose Bowl.

In four of the eight computers that did not use margin of victory in 2001, Oregon was second in one and third in the others. In the four that did, Oregon was sixth in one, seventh in two and eighth in the other.

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