Nov. 12, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Less than 24 hours after his one-loss Florida State football team was ranked No. 10 in the latest BCS standings, Jimbo Fisher didn’t mince words at his weekly press conference when asked about the system that yearly determines the participants for college football’s five premier bowl games.
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“I think it stinks. I think the BCS and how we go with all these computers and all this stuff, I think we’re ruining it,” Fisher said. “I’m going to tell you what, the [impending] playoff which we have right now ain’t going to solve it either. What’s the playoff going to solve? I mean you’ve still got the same situation. They’ve got to change how we pick the top teams in this country.
“You’ve got to change it; it’s not working.”
Fisher’s irritation with the system stems not just from the fact that his Seminoles are ranked behind three two-loss SEC teams (LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina) in the BCS standings but in the formula that is used to determine them.
In addition to utilizing rankings from the weekly USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive College Football Poll — both of which are produced by people — the BCS also employs a combination of six computer polls (Jeff Anderson & Chris Hester, Richard Billingsley, Wes Colley, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe) to determine its weekly standings.
“If we’ve got to let a computer tell us who is the best team, we’ve got an issue,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a major problem and I think it’s got to be fixed.”
“The human element has got to get back in this game,” he added.
To illustrate Fisher’s point, both the USA Today Coaches Poll and Harris Poll this week kept FSU ranked No. 6 in the nation after the ‘Noles improved to 9-1 for the first time since 2000 by beating Virginia Tech on the road.
But the computers weren’t nearly as kind. Florida State is No. 17 in the Anderson & Hester, No. 18 in the Billingsley, No. 15 in the Colley, No. 27 in the Massey, No. 16 in the Sagarin and No. 17 in the Wolfe.
The Massey, for example, has, among several other struggling teams with multiple losses, 5-5 Missouri ranked ahead of the Seminoles this week. Clemson — a 9-1 team that lost to Florida State earlier this year — is rated ahead of the ‘Noles in five of the six computer rankings.
“It’s too much about who you play and not how you play,” Fisher said.
The computers simply don’t like the opponents that FSU has beat up on this season and a loss at NC State certianly doesn’t help.
They don’t place any importance on the Seminoles’ wins over Murray State and Savannah State to start the season even if the only reason that FSU played the latter was because West Virginia backed out at the last moment. The computers also don’t like that the seven other teams FSU has beat this year are currently a combined 34-35.
Had FSU not lost a one-point game to the Wolfpack on the road last month, there’s a chance that Florida State would still be on the outside looking into the national championship game as it stands right now because of the computers.
So the question remains, how does the process get fixed?
Fisher thinks it’s the coaches that should decide who plays for championships because they are most knowledgable about the sport.
“I don’t think writers could do it better than coaches could do because it’s what we do and we understand the true guts of the business,” Fisher said. “[Coaches] understand the importance of winning. You understand how you win. Coaches understand the grind. Any win is hard.”