The Man Behind a BCS Computer

Friday, December 5th 2008, 10:47 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

HUGO, Okla. -- The Sooners are in the Big 12 title games thanks to a hard fought season and the BCS rankings, and the man behind one of those BCS computers is an Oklahoman.

On any given weekend, there are thousands of decked out tailgaters thinking they may be college football's number one fan, but they're wrong. In Hugo, Oklahoma, with a population of just over 5,000, lives one of the biggest college football fans.

"The average person in Hugo probably doesn't know who I am," Richard Billingsley said.

But anyone watching ESPN or reading about a big game may recognize this loved and hated man's name.

"One day my rankings would impact college football. That was my dream," Billingsley said.

Mark that dream fulfilled. With an average personal computer, in a surprisingly small office, Billingsley holds the power to both encourage and crush title hopes across the nation. The inspiration came when he was just 16, when schedule strength and computers weren't part of rankings.

"I didn't do this because I was a fan of mathematics," Billingsley said. "I did it because I was a college football fan who felt like there was an injustice taking place."

Which is ironic, considering his posted rankings often generate some very negative reviews from fans. Billingsley said he received an average of 20 to 30 hate emails a week from fans across the country, but this year that average has gone up.

"This year it's been overwhelming, a lot of emails from Texas fans," Billingsley said.

He's been targeted a good portion because some Longhorn fans believe he is biased since he lives in Oklahoma. He said their anger is misdirected

"The Billingsley report has ranked Oklahoma lower than the other 5 BCS computer polls eight out of ten years," Billingsley said.

He first published his rankings in 1970, and he's been working on the system for almost 40 years.