Monday, January 17, 2011

Defending the 1984 National Championship--New Information

Back in July 2010, I posted my second defense of BYU's 1984 National Championship. At the time, I explained that "I don’t intend to make this topic a habit," and the main reason I was posting a second defense was that "I have found additional information that I feel strengthens BYU’s case."

At the time, I took some heat for authoring this defense. However, six months later, this post is regularly one of the most visited posts on this site every week.

Recently, once again, I found new information to counter any critic who feels BYU did not warrant its number one ranking and national championship in 1984. I have added the new information to the original post, but also have included it below. This new information comes from The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia 2010-2011

Without further ado, here is reason number 6 justifying the BYU Cougars as college football's 1984 National Champion.


6. The USA Today College Football Performance Formula Has BYU Number 1.

What is the USA Today College Football Performance Formula? Glad that you asked. To quote The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia, this formula is "a specific three-leveled mathematical calculation developed to measure the achievement of every team's season since 1953. ... The Formula combines three measurable statistics, with two of them adjusted to the level of opposition, and adds them up to assign a decimal measurement. This figure permits readers to compare teams within a given season and to compare teams from different seasons. What follows are the three features that are totaled arithmetically to form a team's Formula:
  • "Winning percentage (including bowl result) of the measured team, with wins over lower categorized teams counting as partial wins.
  • "Opponents' winning percentage (including bowl results) in all other games not contested against the team being measured.
  • "Adjusted scoring margin per game (x .01 so as to not assign too much numerical importance to the factor) of the measured team."
Here we have a scientific model that will treat every team fairly. It takes into consideration strength of schedule (SOS) and opponents' win-loss records (more on how I feel about these later). All the human bias has been removed (USA Today equates the human polls to voting for the MVP in professional sports--voters take into account many factors, "not the least of which is the ethereal impression a given MVP candidate makes on voters"). In other words, no one is looking at the name of the school or the logo on the helmet. How a team plays on the field determines the number one team in this formula.

In 1984, the number one ranked team was ... BYU with a formula score of 1.6611. Number 2 was Florida at 1.6139. Washington came in at number 3 with a score of 1.6044. Not only did BYU have a higher formula score than Washington and Florida, BYU's 1.6611 mark was higher than 1983 national champion Miami (1.6396) and 1980 national champion Georgia (1.6161). Interestingly, while Miami and Georgia were voted by the media and the coaches as number one in 1983 and 1980, respectively, they did not have the highest performance formula score in those years. In 1980, Georgia was number 5 according to the performance formula (behind 1-Pittsburgh, 2-Florida State, 3-BYU, and 4-Nebraska). As for the 1983 results, Miami came in number 4 (behind 1-Nebraska, 2-Auburn, and 3-BYU). I have never once heard anyone, anywhere say that the 1980 Georgia team or the 1983 Miami team did not deserve their national championships. As evidenced by the formula results, they did not play the toughest schedule, and some other teams could have made a strong claim against them. Maybe there was controversy at the time, but after a few years passed, everyone seemed to accept it and move on. It is time for the BYU critics to accept it and move on as well. 

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