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The computers are talking to one another

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First, a small history lesson.

When I was in high school I remember when the Space Shuttle Columbia was going through all of it's pre-launch testing before its first launch on April 12, 1981, STS-1. STS-1 was originally set for April 10th but the launch was, in NASA speak,  "postponed due to timing skew in orbiter's general purpose computer system. Backup flight software failed to synchronize with primary avionics software system."

In English, it meant the computers were not talking to one another. That explanation of `the computers not talking to one another' has always stuck with me as an odd explanation for a multi-billion dollar launch vehicle not being able to get off the ground. Look at us now.

End of lesson

A number of articles in the LA Papers the past couple of days are talking about how it the race for #2 that is more important than the race for #1.

From Chris Dufresne at the LA Times:

The fight for No. 2, though, might produce a call from Jerry Springer's talent booker.

USC, taken to the Alex Brink by Washington State last week and then forced to pull out a clockwork-orange win against Washington, held on to the No. 2 spot Sunday in both the Harris and USA Today polls.

Associated Press voters, responding to then-No. 2 Auburn's loss, jumped Florida from No. 5 to No. 2, catapulting the Gators over USC and West Virginia.

The AP, though, is no longer a part of the Bowl Championship Series formula, so what does any of that mean?

Expect the shout-a-thon to get louder as USC and Florida keep winning.

I couldn't agree more but only for those teams who don't have a chance to be #1. There will be a lot of hay made about how the BCS rankings will have USC #1. I will only say this, there is a lot of football to play and if the season ended today would you feel comfortable playing Ohio State for the MNC? I can tell you I would be a little worried with how we are playing.

Now, with that being said I would much rather be at the #1 spot in these computer polls than #3 or #4. It will give us a much better chance to getting into the title game if we continue to win out. It is entirely possible that SC could lose a game between now and then just as it is possible for the other top teams to lose a game so we need to keep it up.
The fact is both are important. The computers have no emotional attachment but the voters do. And both are important in trying to get into the title game, so we need to start winning a little more convincingly.

From Scott Wolf at the Daily News:

The Bowl Championship Series computer rankings do not care how close USC came to losing against Washington State or Washington. And as much as fans might complain, some controversial play calling doesn't matter either.

As long as the No. 3-ranked Trojans keep winning, it doesn't matter what the margin is, because the BCS computers do not consider margin of victory, which explains how USC was first in at least two computer rankings Sunday. And the unimpressive nature of the victories is doing nothing to dispel voters in the human polls.

In short, as long as the Trojans (5-0 overall, 3-0 Pac-10) keep winning, they should finish in the top two in the BCS rankings.

Also from Wolf's blog:

Five of the BCS computer polls are now out (Wolfe will not be released until next week). USC is No. 1 in four of the five. If you drop the highest and lowest computer rankings, the computers are in rare agreement on the top four: 1. USC; 2. Ohio State; 3. Florida; 4. Michigan.
It's the human polls that are slightly less impressed with the Trojans at the moment.

It is way too early to get worked up about this. We need to focus on winning games and let our playing do the talking for us. With the tough last 4 games in the schedule coming up in about a month SC needs to get the kinks out now, get our injured players healthy and win the games. If  we don't do that then it won't matter what the computers say.

"Computers are made by people and people aren't perfect so why should computers be perfect" Tom Selleck in "Runaway".