If you’re a college football follower, you already know that one of the greatest games you will likely ever see was played Saturday. This past weekend was “rivalry weekend” wherein many teams with historical rivalries played each other–Ohio State vs Michigan, UCLA vs USC, etc. One of the most intense of these rivalries is Auburn vs Alabama. These two teams have produced the last four national champions, including the last two by Alabama; they entered the game with Alabama ranked first, and Auburn fourth, in the BCS (“Bowl Championship Series”) rankings. They played Saturday at Auburn, in a spectacular game. Auburn won, 34-28, with a miraculous finish, most likely knocking Alabama out of a chance for a third consecutive national championship. In the process, it also kept itself alive and also opened the door for Ohio State, who moved into the #2 spot after winning their own dramatic game against Michigan.
But this post is actually much more about math, specifically that involved in the BCS ranking system, how the college football championship game is determined, and about what happened in 2008 and could happen again this year. [I spent too much time on this, but I couldn't resist]