What's that? You say the BCS can't really name college football's best team? Well, duh. With a playoff finally on the horizon, The Mag turned to people smarter than we are to examine the last 14 years and determine which program really has emerged as No. 1 in the BCS era. Using our Ultimate Standings as a guide, Jeff Phillips, principal at the Parthenon Group and a recent MIT Sloan MBA grad, along with Tyler Williams, an MIT Ph.D. candidate in economics, created three major categories of FBS success, then split them into nine factors (see below). For each, they used data since 1998 (unless noted) to rank every team against its 119 FBS competitors, then weighted those results with emphasis on title track and player success, the categories that most reflect an established winning program.
[Ed.'s note: We also gave a nod to pre-BCS titles, nearly 3,500 SportsNation voters helped shape stadium edge and NCAA violations got a subjective grade. And if your team didn't make the top 10, you'll just have to check out The Mag.] We can hear the critics now: Playoff!