Get with the program, you just don't compute


December 09, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

Here we are inside the computer war room of the Bowl Championship Series office in Neverland USA:

Human: Congratulations to the University of Southern California on its No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 and USA/ESPN Top 25.

Computer: We don't feel USC is No. 1.

Human: I can't believe Oklahoma waited until the last week of the season to look so terrible.

Computer: We feel they are still No. 1.

Human: Louisiana State put a pretty good whippin' on Georgia, didn't they?

Computer: Yeah, they did, but 'L' comes before 'U' in the alphabet, so our bytes recognize them as the No. 2 team.

Human: Oklahoma, you say, has a tougher schedule than USC? And LSU also?

Computer: That is our feeling. You can't tell us that is incorrect.

Human: OK, let's see ... USC wins the PAC-10, LSU wins the SEC and Oklahoma can't even win its conference championship. Isn't something wrong with this picture?


Computer: We are not properly programmed to accept such sensible comments!

Human: Don't you realize that you, representing the BCS, have made a legitimate fool of yourself again?

Computer: We were instructed to absolve from any personal feelings ... don't you know we are structured and never wrong?

Human: The BCS has been in existence for six years and this will be the third year that the top-ranked team in the polls will not play for the national championship. Are you aware that your record of acceptance is only 50-50?

Computer: We are not properly programmed to worry about our overall performance.

Human: I can understand that thought ... that's why we always have to go buy replacement parts.

Computer: We are not concerned about that.

Human: Don't you think it is important that the best teams at the end of the year are in the hunt for the national championship? That would mean LSU and USC, at least by your alphabetical order.

Computer: Results are results. We don't consider whether it's August or December.

Human: Pete Carroll, the USC head coach, said on the postgame selection show that "obviously there is some kind of problem with the process, because the No. 1 team in the country is not playing in the Sugar Bowl." Don't you feel bad about that?

Computer: Again, we have no feelings for any feelings that are from humans.

Human: Geez, I can't wait until Jan. 5 after all the results are in and see what you do then. Maybe you'll get a new hard drive for Christmas that has some brains!

Computer: That would be nice.

Human: I know you don't have anything to do with teams that are lower in the rankings, but what do you think about teams that are bowl-eligible, but were not selected?

Computer: We have no feelings on that.

Human: In case you wondered, Northern Illinois (10-2), Marshall (8-4), Toledo (8-4) and Akron (7-5) all beat bowl-bound teams this year such as Maryland, Alabama, Kansas State and Pitt. Their respective records made them bowl-eligible. However, teams such as Kansas, Syracuse, UCLA, Northwestern, Georgia Tech and Washington will go to bowl games with 6-6 records.

Computer: hmmm ... zzzz ... boink .... Burp .... Crash.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311 or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles