What Is the Top 25 Standings on the BCS Poll?


Quick Answer

The Bowl Championship Series standings was a way to rank the college football teams that most deserved to play against one another for the national championship and other major bowl games. The BCS system was used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision from 1998 to 2013.

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Full Answer

When the BCS standings were first compiled, the system used an average of the coaches' polls, by the Associated Press, ESPN and USA Today, as well as an average of three computer rankings compiled by outside experts. The BCS system also took strength of schedule, margin of victory, and number of losses into account when ranking the top 25 teams in the country. In the system's early years, the process gradually added more computer rankings. The system also added a "quality win" component, which rewarded a team for defeating a top-15 team in the BCS standings.

At the end of the 2003 season, the Associated Press poll ranked the University of Southern California as the top team in the country. However, the BCS system called Louisiana State University and the University of Oklahoma the top two teams, and placed those teams in the national championship game instead of USC. Because of public outrage, the BCS was further tweaked so that polls were weighted more than computer rankings. The NCAA replaces the BCS system in 2014, when college football shifted to a committee selecting four teams to a post-season playoff.

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