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Computers will remain a part, with changes

4/29/2004

PHOENIX -- Computers will remain a part of the process to
determine the teams to play for the national title in the new
formula being worked out by the Bowl Championship Series.

Their role, however, will not be so big as to skew the process
as they did in the selection of Oklahoma for the BCS title game
last season, even though the Sooners were ranked No. 3 in both
human polls, behind USC and LSU.

BCS coordinator Mike Tranghese, commissioner of the Big East
Conference, revealed those components of a new formula still being
put together, and discussed at length by BCS member athletic
directors and other conference officials on Wednesday.

While he revealed few other details, he said all four "models"
being considered would have had Oregon, instead of Nebraska,
reaching the title game after the 2001 season, and USC making it,
rather than Oklahoma, last season.

The formula used last season had USC at No. 3 in the BCS
rankings, even though the Trojans were No. 1 in both The Associated
Press and ESPN-USA Today polls. The ESPN-USA Today poll, determined
by a vote of coaches, automatically gives its national title to the
winner of the BCS title game. The AP poll has no such requirement.

As a result, LSU won the BCS national championship after
defeating Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, while USC was voted the champ
in the AP poll after topping Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Tranghese said the BCS expects to unveil its revamped formula in
early June.

"These models were embraced," Tranghese said. "Now it's a
matter of testing some of them. I think we're in the final stage of
saying this is exactly how we're going to do it."

The BCS has rejected a proposal that would ban any team that
didn't win its conference championship from the national title
contest. Oklahoma advanced to the title game against LSU last
season despite losing to Kansas State for the Big 12 championship.

"We're not going to put that rule in because I can create a
scenario where a team doesn't win its championship, where the
public would yell and scream that they ought to be there, or the
polls would say that they're No. 1 or 2," Tranghese said.

He said computer polls are needed to tweak inherent problems
that exist in The Associated Press and ESPN-USA Today polls.

"The human polls are flawed, and the public doesn't want to
hear that," Tranghese said. "They're flawed because they start
from a position that is incorrect. You can't rank a team that
hasn't played a football game."

For example, he said if one team was ranked first and another
No. 25 in the preseason poll, and both win all their games, there
is no way for the team that started with the lower ranking to
overtake the No. 1 team.

There was a lengthy conversation about the creation of a fifth
bowl to give access to conferences that are not part of the BCS,
but there were no conclusions and that process was far from
completed, Tranghese said.

Meanwhile, a proposal for a fifth bowl game after the other four
BCS contests to determine a national champion appeared headed
nowhere, at least for now.

Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said his member university
presidents are unanimously against it.

"They are philosophically opposed because they believe that its
the next step toward a full playoff that they're completely,
totally opposed to," Hansen said.

Most BCS conferences have a similar view, Hansen said.

"I think there's general support for 'try everything first and
then only as a last resort look at that,' " he said.