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A Look Inside The Computers That Help Make Up The BCS - Part I

We all know the BCS rankings are determined by a wacky formula. But while the rankings were once seemingly impossible to understand, with all the publicity its received over the past few years, it's become a little easier. This is the beginning of a three-part series that will take a brief look at the six computer rankings that factor into the BCS formula.

The first thing to factor in is that a team's highest and lowest computer rankings are eliminated when determining their overall BCS ranking. This is presumably done to get rid of any anomalies that may exist in any given computer ranking.

Jeff Sagarin Computer Rankings

The Sagarin rankings are perhaps the most well known of the six. Sagarin doesn't only rate college football, but covers virtually every major sport. Jeff Sagarin also isn't just some overnight sensation - he's been providing ratings to USA Today for 25 years.

Sagarin's rankings are determined by a number of factors including won/loss record, strength of schedule, record vs. top ten teams, and record vs. top thirty teams.

The Sagarin rankings for the BCS don't take into account margin of victory - rather, it looks only at if you win or if you lose.

Anderson & Hester


The Anderson & Hester ratings, named after Jeff Anderson and Chris Hester, in the words of their website, are about "showing which teams have accomplished the most - to date." The system is operated under the website, Anderson Sports and provides statistical analysis for baseball and basketball in addition to college football.

Like the Sagarin ratings, Anderson & Hester's system also looks at Won/Loss record, strength of schedule, and record vs. top ten teams. But instead of factoring in the record against to thirty teams, it utilizes a team's record vs. top 25 teams. These rankings are also similar to the Sagarin rankings in that they do not factor in margin of victory.

Anderson & Hester's system also doesn't begin providing rankings until after week five. This prevents giving highly-ranked preseason teams a 'head start' so to speak.

Part II of the rankings will take a look at Richard Billingsley and the Colley Matrix ratings.