Starting today, and continuing as long as the 'Dores keep this magical season going, we're going to have a weekly look at the Commodores' bowl chances. We'll also take a look, if we are in contention, at our position in the Bowl Championship Series Rankings.
This week, as we'll see below, our bowl chances and our BCS ranking are one and the same.
The BCS formula is a bit complicated, but when you break it down, it makes sense.
The formula uses three basic factors: each team's (1) Point total in the Harris Interactive poll; (2) Point total in the coaches' poll;and (3) Ranking in the six selected computer ranking systems, after throwing out the best and worst ranking for each team.
All of the computer polls, except for one, are out, and the computers love the Commodores.
Vanderbilt is rated:
1 in the Massey Ratings;
2 in the Colley Matrix Rankings;
3 in the Anderson-Hester Rankings;
4 in the Sagarin-Elo Ratings; and
23 in the Billingsley Report.
First of all, take a deep breath. I don't think any of us every assumed we'd see the day when the Vanderbilt Commodores were ranked number 1 by anybody (in football, at least).
Under the BCS method, Vanderbilt is no. 3 in the country according to the computers, and our computer point value is 0.940.
Next, our USA Today Coaches' Poll ranking, no. 14 currently, is taken into consideration using the points we were given on the coaches' ballots divided by the total number of points available (i.e., number of coaches multiplied by number of places, 25). This week, we earned 704 points, good enough for 0.462 under the BCS.
Finally, the Harris Interactive Poll has us ranked at no. 14 as well, worth 0.466 in the BCS.
When the three sources are averaged ((0.940 + 0.462 + 0.466) / 3), we end up with 0.6224. To find our position in the BCS rankings, we then line up everyone's average under the BCS formula.
That yields our BCS Top 10:
If we beat Mississippi State and go 6-0, our position in the the Coaches' and Harris Interactive Polls will likely change (particularly if other schools ahead of us in those two polls lose games).
As our position in the contributing polls increases, so, too, does our position in the BCS standings rise.
The BCS Poll will be officially released on October 19, 2008, after Vanderbilt's game against Georgia. If the Commodores are 6-1 (3-1) at that point, there is a good chance that they could remain within the BCS Top 15.
If they are 7-0, who knows how high the could go.