July 2, 1999 - by

Bowl Championship Series Tweaks Guidelines

July 2, 1999











BCS Press Conference Audio

By PAUL NEWBERRY

AP Sports Writer

Say goodbye to maximum adjusted deviation.

The Bowl Championship Series on Wednesday modified its guidelines for
selecting teams, adding more computer rankings and dropping its most perplexing
term.

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 strip
weaker conferences of automatic bids.

Maximum adjusted deviation was used last season in the event of any unusual
differences in the computer rankings. Don’t even ask how it was determined.

“The concept is still there,” said Southeastern Conference commissioner
Roy 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 in
The Associated Press media poll and ESPN-USA Today coaches poll; computer
surveys; 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 Richard
Billingsley, Dunkel Index, Kenneth Massey, David Rothman and Matthews-Scripps
Howard.

“It’s always good to get a second, third, fourth or fifth opinion,” Kramer
said.

A school’s lowest ranking from the eight computer services will be thrown
out, eliminating the possibility of a team being hurt by an unusual difference
in one of the polls. That process takes the place of maximum adjusted
deviation.

The BCS took no action to address one of the major concerns from its debut
season – the exclusion of a worthy team such as Kansas State.

Last year, the Wildcats were relegated to a minor bowl even though they lost
only one game – the Big 12 championship in overtime – and were ranked No. 3 in
the final BCS standings.

“We still feel the bowls, after you get past the 1-2 game, need to have
some regional flexibility,” Kramer said. “You can’t take two West Coast teams
and play in Miami. You’ve got to have regional ties to make the bowls
succeed.”

The BCS is considering whether to add a fifth game to its lineup, providing
spots for two more at-large teams. While Kramer described the talks as “very
preliminary,” 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 Coast
and Pac-10 receive automatic bids to the BCS, which also includes two at-large
teams.

The 1-2 teams in the BCS standings are matched in a national title game that
rotates among the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls. The other six teams are
divided 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-large
berths with either eight victories or by finishing no lower than 12th in the
BCS standings. Now, teams must have nine regular-season wins over NCAA Division
I-A opponents and at least a No. 12 ranking.

Kramer said the main purpose of the stricter standards was to give schools
more flexibility in making deals with bowls outside the BCS.

“Last year, we were holding up a lot of teams with eight wins that we
didn’t need to hold,” he said.

Beginning this season, each of the six BCS leagues must show it is worthy of
that status. If a conference’s automatic qualifiers failed to average at least
a 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 criticized
for 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 the
Orange Bowl.

“It’s a very logical move,” Kramer said. “As other conferences expand and
grow, there should be an opportunity for change to occur.”

Kramer scoffed at complaints that the average fan can’t comprehend the BCS
and its complex formulas – even with the deletion of maximum adjusted
deviation.

“This is much easier to explain than a subjective poll,” he said. “You
don’t know why anyone voted the way they did in a subjective poll.”






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