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Media Double Standard: BCS Strength of Schedule

Squarely in my sights: Craig James, Mark May, Lou Holtz (ESPN). Tom Deinhart, Olin Buchanan (Yahoo, Rivals).

Theory: These journalists are no better than the common message board flamer.

The Evidence - Case Study #1, Oregon 2010 NCG Participant
>Final record for teams played: 63-81
>Final Top 25 teams on Schedule: 1, Stanford

Oregon 2010 Schedule W/L
New Mexico* 1-11
Tennessee* 6-6
Portland State* 2-9
Arizona State 6-6
Stanford 11-1
Washington State 2-10
UCLA 4-8
USC 8-5
Washington 6-6
California 5-7
Arizona 7-5
Oregon State 5-7

BCS SOS rankings
A&H B C M S average
51 57 59 29 19 43

Case Study #2 - Historical BCS Computer SOS final rankings

Historical BCS SOS rankings for #1/2 ranked teams (reverse order SOS str):
Date Team A&H B C M S average
12/2/2007 Ohio State 60 n/a 72 55 60 61.75
12/6/2010 Oregon 51 57 59 29 19 43
12/7/2009 Texas 47 36 42 46 44 43
12/4/2006 Ohio State 33 37 48 31 38 37.4
12/4/2005 USC 28 n/a 42 39 20 32.25


Based on Historical *Results* we can establish precedent that teams having an average SOS ranking anywhere from 1-60 are "Worthy" of achieving a #1 or #2 ranking in the BCS System. Individual computer rankings (1 of 6) can have a team SOS ranking anywhere from 1-72 and be "Worthy". Remember, this is not a projection - this is empirical fact. These are outcomes of the BCS ranking system itself.

Let's take another example. Last season TCU was the leading Non-AQ in the BCS polls and one Auburn loss away from facing Oregon in the Corn Chip Championship bowl. Were the pundits and talking heads united in a crusade against TCU Strength of Schedule? No, not all. In fact what we heard was how TCU was worthy - a big time program. And did TCU step up and beat a Wisconsin team that was highly regarded? Yep. So what type of SOS ranking did this powerfull TCU team have?

Date Team A&H B C M S average
12/6/2010 TCU 60 69 83 60 81 70.6

Again we have evidence that computer SOS scores as high as 70 are "worthy" in the eyes of many pundits - including our quite vocal and opinionated pseudo-journalists at ESPN.

For context, let's look at Boise States final SOS scores from last season:

Date Team A&H B C M S average
12/6/2010 Boise State 65 76 61 54 69 65

Now let's look at BOise States current SOS from this season:

Date Team A&H B C M S average
10/31/2011 Boise State 31 77 39 41 30 43.6

Will we end up higher or lower than last season? There is no way to accurately predict that right now. If I were to wager, I would say we end up with a slightly better SOS. Oddly given ESPN coverage, ESPN's own Brad Edwards thinks so as well. But that is aside the point as the season has not finished. As of right now our SOS looks quite solid and is clearly in the range of previously "Worthy" BCS championship game contenders.

It seems clear that the BCS computer SOS rankings are a convenient lever for the establishment, nothing more. This is a blatant double standard applied to the *only* objective measure of "Schedule Strength" that we are provided. And it's more than just ESPN that lacks integrity on this topic. There are journalists from a variety of outlets who choose to apply this "Schedule" argument selectively - blatantly so.

If any journalist wants to claim eyeball test and provide critical analysis as to why they think one team is stronger than the other I fully respect their opinion whether I agree or not. But this bully pulpit bashing of teams over SOS with no basis in fact or critical assessment is the type of journalism we should only see in tabloids or Blogs.

This type of journalism is amatuer hour, bush league at best. The fact that the system that decides collegiate post-season play at the higheset level institutionally supports it is nothing short of sad and embarassing.

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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