Nebraska-Omaha Poised For BCS Run

While WAC members Boise State and Hawai'i try to punch their way into a BCS bowl berth, the BCS computers have both rated low because of their so-called "soft schedule". Those same BCS computers have looked at Nebraska-Omaha's schedule and one of them has determined that it's good enough to be rated #12, ahead of both Boise State and Hawai'i.

With the college football regular season coming up on its final two weeks, polls, computer ratings, and BCS (Bowl Championship Series) scenarios are the talk of the nation. With so much on the line, we've uncovered some shocking and alarming numbers from the computers.

For those that aren't aware, one-third of the formula used to calculate the BCS Standings contains computer ratings. There are six computers used by the BCS--Billingsley, Wolfe, Colley, Massey, Anderon/Hester and Sagarin. Points are given to each team on a reverse 25-point scale (i.e. 25 points for #1, 24 for #2, 23 for #3 and so on.) The high and low computer rating for each team are thrown out, giving each team four computer ratings of which can add up to a maximum point total of 100.

Most people don't pay any attention to the computer ratings, except perhaps to notice where their favorite team is rated. That is why bizarre results need to be reported. Here are some of those:

Massey actually has Nebraska-Omaha (a division II team) rated as the 12th best college football team in the land. One can only imagine what wild hallucinogenic dream occurred to cause the programmer to wake up and come up with a formula that would allow this result. Since computers are supposed to be based on logic (or at least limited to the logic of the person programming it), let's logically analyze Nebraska-Omaha's season.

The Mavericks (as they are known) opened the season with a 41-24 win at Nebraska-Kearney. Perhaps this result was incorrectly programmed into the formula as a win over Nebraska, which still wouldn't explain a #12 rating but, as one of six computers chosen by the BCS, we'll assume the work was dilligent. Omaha has a long way to go to #12. They then edged mighty Northwest Missouri State 25-21--not #4 Missouri, mind you, but Northwest Missouri State. Let's make sure we're clear on that.

The third opponent on the Mav's schedule was Western Washington. Had they beaten Washington, it could be justified that they be rated ahead of Boise State, but this was Western Washington, which they beat 45-10. The winning ways continued with a 36-23 win over Augustana to move their record to 4-0.

Omaha then won their Homecoming game with a 45-15 decision at the hands of poor Minnesota State, Mankato. The loss will forever haunt the team from Mankato knowing that a win could have put them in a BCS Bowl.

Wins over North Dakota (28-17) and Minnesota Duluth (52-17) advanced the Mavericks' record to 7-0 and had them thinking Rose Bowl. To their credit, they didn't take St. Cloud State lightly, and emerged with a 13-3 win in a hard-fought defensive struggle. South Dakota and Central Washington were all that stood in the way of a perfect 10-0 season and a berth in the national championship game against LSU. But the Mavericks disposed of each, topping Dakota 41-14 and Central Washington 59-41.

Tentatively, Nebraska Omaha is slated to begin the Division II playoffs this weekend in a burning rematch against Central Washington. However, since Massey has them rated 12th in his BCS computer rating, the Mavericks are still hoping to get a call from the BCS Commissioners inviting them to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Now of course this is all silly but the rating of Nebraska Omaha as #12 is anything but. The computer ratings claim to be determing their results based on not only wins and losses but strength of schedule. Boise State and Hawai'i of the Western Athletic Conference are slammed by this or that expert for having a soft schedule and are being denied a BCS bowl berth because of it. And yet this heretofore unknown college football power is able to reach a computer rating of #12 with the above schedule.

Massey also has Division I-AA Northern Iowa rated #25 while Sagarin has Northern Iowa rated #12, again ahead of both Boise State and Hawai'i.

What gives?

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