BCS computers byte the Irish
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
By RALPH D. RUSSO
Southern California and Texas are at the top of the first Bowl Championship Series standings. But Notre Dame has a long way to go to become eligible for one of college football's four big-money bowl games.
The first-place Trojans are No. 1 in both the USA Today coaches' poll and the Harris Interactive poll, and they graded out best in the six computer rankings. USC had a BCS grade of .9923 and a solid cushion over the second-place Longhorns (.9591) in the standings released Monday.
But second is as good as first in the BCS because the top two teams in the standings after the regular season play for a national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4.
"I care because we are a great team," Longhorns quarterback Vince Young said. "We deserve it because of how hard we're playing. But the BCS is wild. If you just take care of your business, everything else will fall into place."
Texas has a big lead over third-place Virginia Tech (.9067). Georgia (.8933) is fourth and Alabama (.8220) fifth.
Lagging behind is Notre Dame (.3985). The Fighting Irish are 16th because of a poor showing in the computer rankings.
To become eligible for selection to either the Sugar, Orange or Fiesta bowls, Notre Dame (4-2) needs to finish the season with nine wins and be in the top 12 of the final BCS standings.
"You start worrying about the BCS and what bowl you're playing in, then BYU comes in and ends up beating you, which they are capable of doing, which we'll talk about [today], then you've made a bad miscalculation," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said shortly before the BCS standings were released Monday.
You won't find the rookie Fighting Irish coach railing against the BCS or for a playoff in college football.
"I could care less," he said. "Really, I could care less. I mean, whatever it is. Just tell me where we're going and I'll be there."
The BCS formula is the same as last season, with each poll counting for one-third of a team's grade and the computer ratings making up the remaining third. The highest grade possible is 1.000.
After a thrilling 34-31 loss to USC on Saturday, Notre Dame was 11th in the Harris poll and 12th in the coaches' poll. But the Irish are no better than 22nd in the BCS's six computer rankings, and they are not even among the best 25 teams in the country in computer rankings put out by Richard Billingsley and Kenneth Massey.
With seven weeks left in this season, there are seven unbeaten teams in Division I-A - USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, Texas Tech and UCLA.