NEW YORK -- Once again, college football has changed its formula for determining which teams play in its national championship game.
The Bowl Championship Series on Tuesday eliminated the margin of victory calculation used in the computer ratings portion of the BCS standings, and also reduced the number of computers used from eight to seven.
"By eliminating margin of victory, it takes the idea of how you win and puts it in a proper perspective," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, who serves as the BCS coordinator this season. "The coaches didn't want it and the athletic directors didn't want it. We're putting more value in the strength of schedule."
In addition, teams will receive bonus points for wins over opponents in the BCS' final top 10 instead of the final top 15 as they did last season.
The margin of victory change is not a drastic measure, but it shook up the computer ratings lineup. Out are Herman Matthews and David Rothman, both of whom decided not to eliminate margin of victory from their ratings. The New York Times poll is in after a year's absence.
"They told us they'd remove the margin of victory element and that they wanted consideration," said Tranghese, adding that at least nine other computer services also made pitches. "They've been in it before, and have been good partners."
The computer ratings count 25 percent in the BCS standings - the other elements are The Associated Press media poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, strength of schedule and won-loss record.
If the margin of victory change had been in effect last year, there's a good chance that Oregon - not Nebraska - would have played Miami for the national title in the Rose Bowl.
In four of the eight computers that did not use margin of victory in 2001, Oregon was second in one and third in the others. In the four that did, Oregon was sixth in one, seventh in two and eighth in the other.
Oregon finished No. 2 in the media and coaches' polls, but fourth in the BCS standings.
"It's possible there could have been a different team in there last year," Tranghese said. "It was a very close call and if I recollect, Oregon won about a half dozen games by less than a touchdown."
The 2000 season ended with Miami believing it should have played Oklahoma for the title instead of Florida State after beating the Seminoles in the regular season. Before the 2001 season opened, the BCS added a bonus-point plan that would have put Miami in the 2000 title game if it were in place at the time.
Tranghese and his fellow commissioners whose conferences are in the BCS also discussed adding an oversight committee to play a role if problems arose with the final BCS standings.
"There was genuine interest in a human element," Tranghese said. "But if we are going to make a change there has to be a consensus and there was not. We thought the stakes were too high to put that in the hands of a few individuals."
Tranghese said he's well aware the system is far from perfect.
"We'll never get a system that will satisfy everybody," he said. "We'll evaluate it every year to see if it's better. Hopefully, this is a more appropriate and fair system."
The seven computer ratings for the upcoming season are Anderson & Hester, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Colley Matrix, Richard Billingsley, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today, the New York Times and Peter Wolfe. The team's worst rating will be discarded and the average of the top six will be used.
The first BCS standings will be released Oct. 21.
With a 12-game schedule this year instead of the usual 11, teams will need a 9-3 record and top 12 ranking in the final BCS standings to be eligible for one of the four BCS games - the Fiesta, Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls. The Fiesta Bowl plays host to the national title game on Jan. 3.
The BCS was formed in 1998 in an effort to match the top two teams in a national title game. The Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern conferences, plus Notre Dame, are BCS members.
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