July 16, 2010

USC shouldn't throw wrench in BCS standings

While USC is eligible to be ranked in the computer polls, officials don't expect the Trojans' absence from the other two BCS components to effect this season's standings.

Because it is on NCAA probation, USC is ineligible for the coaches' poll and for the Harris poll, two of the three components used to determine the BCS standings. Neither poll permits its voters to rank programs who face a postseason ban.

The BCS standings combine the coaches' poll, the Harris Interactive poll and the average of six computer rankings to determine the final standings. BCS coordinator Bill Hancock doesn't anticipate USC's ban having an effect on the final standings.

"They would be in the computer rankings," Hancock said of the Trojans. "I don't think USC not being ranked would affect how voters view their opponents."

USC also is ineligible for the Pac-10 title but remains eligible for The Associated Press poll, which has not been included in the BCS formula since 2004.

The nearest comparison to USC's situation is Alabama's 2002 team. The Crimson Tide faced a bowl ban that season and finished 10-3. Alabama was not eligible for the coaches' poll, but finished 11th in the AP poll. Alabama's absence from parts of the BCS formula did not impact the final standings. Ohio State and Miami, the nation's only undefeated teams, played for the national championship, and two of the three teams that beat Alabama -- Oklahoma and Georgia -- earned automatic BCS bids as league champs.

"Alabama is the closest parallel, but the formula is completely different," Hancock said "It's certainly not apples to apples."

Since 2002, the BCS formula has undergone significant changes: The Harris poll replaced the AP poll, strength of schedule and quality wins were removed as standalone components, and computer rankings considering margin of victory were prohibited from the formula.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.


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