The Best Way to Rank College Football Teams Is Here. It’s called the BCS.

For two decades, college football fans spent most of their waking hours on message boards and Twitter crying about the BCS. It was really productive.

Still, the BCS was pretty much universally accepted as the worst postseason format in all of sports. Teams from all over the country play wildly different schedules, are then rated by a computer system that literally no one understands, before two teams are selected after conference championship weekend to play for the title.

Then the BCS era ended and the College Football Playoff era began, and there was celebration everywhere. Finally, a fair way to decide the national champion!

Well, sort of.

The worst part about the BCS wasn’t the number of teams that played in the championship. It’s that the championship teams were basically selected by robots. When the Playoff era began, it brought in a new selection system along with it. Of all the changes that came with the Playoff, the Committee was the best part of it all.

Even in the new system, there will almost always be controversy. In 2015, it was Ohio State making it over TCU/Baylor. In 2017, it was…Ohio State again, making it over Penn State. No matter the selection process, there will be deserving teams on the outside looking in. It’s why I think the Playoff should expand to eight teams ASAP.

In the meantime, we’re stuck with four, and I think we’re headed for a LOT of debate over the final four teams in 2017. It’s going to get messy.

Think about this: we’ve got two teams in the SEC who would have to royally screw it up to not finish 12-0. The Big 12 has three teams in the top 10, and a conference championship game that will likely pit two of them against each other in a rematch. The Pac-12 doesn’t have a single team that looks playoff-worthy and it’s not even November. Oh…and then there’s Notre Dame…

I tweeted out my new JP Top 10 on Saturday night, and of course the debate quickly turned heated. The fact of the matter is, after Alabama, TCU, Georgia and Penn State, it’s REALLY hard to distinguish an order between the next 6-8 teams. The next six weeks should be crazy.

When I rank teams every week, I try to put myself in the shoes of a committee member. I try to sort teams into order based on the strength of their wins, but also the quality of their losses. Losing a close game to a great team is better than a so-so win against a so-so team. For example, what’s more impressive: losing by one to Georgia, or beating Baylor by eight? I say losing to Georgia.

As the season grows longer, it gets harder and harder to try and apply this method without actually lining up each teams’ resume beside one another. Which is why I’ve invented a new way to rank the best teams each week. For the rest of the season, after each week I’m sorting every teams’ games in order from best performance to worst, then comparing them side-by-side to every other team like I’m scoring a boxing match. The first “round” will compare each team’s best performance, with the better performance earning that team the win for that round. I’m calling it the Boxing Card System. For short, we’ll call it the BCS.

Confused? It’s actually a lot easier than the old BCS! Here, take Alabama vs TCU for example:

  Alabama TCU SCORE
Best Game W 24-7 vs FSU W 44-31 @ Ok St 10-9 Alabama
  W 59-0 @ Vandy W 31-24 vs WVU 10-9 TCU
  W 66-3 vs Ole Miss W 26-6 @ KSU 10-9 Alabama
  W 45-7 vs Tenn W 28-7 @ Ark Draw
  W 41-9 vs Ark W 56-36 vs SMU 10-9 Alabama
  W 41-23 vs CSU W 43-0 vs Kansas Draw
Worst Game W 41-10 vs Fresno W 63-0 vs Jackson St Draw
TOTAL     Alabama 69 TCU 67

Make sense? The first row is the first “round”. Alabama’s 24-7 win over Florida State (with a healthy Deondre Francois), was slightly more impressive than TCU’s 13-point win at Oklahoma State, in my opinion. So Alabama wins that round. TCU’s win over West Virginia was a little more impressive than the Tide’s 59-0 shutout over Vanderbilt, so the Horned Frogs win round two. After seven rounds, the judges (AKA me) have it at Alabama 69-67.

How about TCU vs Georgia?

  TCU Georgia SCORE
Best W 44-31 @ Ok St W 20-19 @ Notre Dame 10-9 TCU
  W 31-24 vs WVU W 31-3 vs Miss St 10-9 TCU
  W 26-6 @ KSU W 45-14 @ Vandy Draw
  W 28-7 @ Ark W 41-0 @ Tenn 10-9 Georgia
  W 56-36 vs SMU W 53-28 vs Mizzou 10-9 Georgia
  W 43-0 vs Kansas W 31-10 vs App St Draw
Worst W 63-0 vs Jackson St W 42-14 vs Samford Draw
TOTAL     TCU 68 Georgia 68

It’s a tie! What do we do?? The tie goes to the better win. In this case, TCU’s 13-point win at Oklahoma State is a little better than Georgia’s one-point win at Notre Dame. So right now TCU is my number two team, and Georgia is third.

But who’s fourth, Penn State or Notre Dame? Gotta be Penn State right? The Nittany Lions are undefeated, have the Heisman favorite at running back and they’re undefeated. It’s college football, so undefeated > 1-loss, period.

Not so fast my friends!

Check out Penn State vs Notre Dame in the BCS:

  Notre Dame Penn State SCORE
Best W 42-14 vs USC W 42-13 vs Mich 10-9 ND
  W 38-18 @ Mich St W 21-19 @ Iowa 10-9 ND
  L 20-19 vs UGA W 31-7 @ NW Draw
  W 49-20 @ BC W 45-14 vs Ind Draw
  W 33-10 @ UNC W 33-14 vs Pitt Draw
  W 49-16 vs Temple W 52-0 vs Akron Draw
Worst W 52-17 vs Miami U W 56-0 vs GA St Draw
TOTAL     ND 70 PSU 68

This goes right back to what I said earlier. A close loss, like Notre Dame’s to Georgia, is every bit as good to me as beating a mediocre Northwestern team. Penn State’s resume is so bad right now. The win over Michigan, who is arguably not even a top-25 team right now, is their best performance this season. Notre Dame has two wins clearly better than anything on Penn State’s resume, and its loss is nothing to be ashamed of. For that reason, Notre Dame moves ahead of Penn State this week and into fourth in the BCS.

I followed the system to rank the 10 best teams in college football right now.

  1. Alabama
  2. TCU
  3. Georgia
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Penn State
  6. Clemson
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Ohio State
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Virginia Tech

It’s a new era in college football. The BCS 2.0 is here, and it’s better than ever. I’ve finally found the fairest way to rank the best teams in the country! All week long I’ll tweet out head-to-head comparisons between top-20/top-25 teams using the BCS.

If there are any teams you want to see compared, tweet me @JoshParcell. Let’s have some fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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