In the College Bowl Race, the Crucial Players Are the Programmers

Some background on the BCS computers from The New York Times.

This weekend will mark the end of the regular season in college football, and barring upsets of the top-ranked teams, there will be a tight race for the No. 2 spot in the nation.

So who would then help determine which team – Louisiana State or Southern California – would play top-ranked Oklahoma for the national championship, and which would be consigned to a lesser bowl game?

Why, an astrophysicist, of course; and an immunologist and an M.I.T.-trained mathematician from Indiana, not to mention a math professor from Virginia.

Granted, this is only part of the puzzle, but a crucial part nonetheless. Although games are won and lost on the field, the big-picture results come well after the last interception, fumble or field goal, when rankings derived from elaborate computer formulas are factored into the race known as the Bowl Championship Series.