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Power Guide a road map to winners

Computer program weighs offense, defense

Each week throughout the prep football season, the Deseret Morning News prints Parry's Power Guide. So what exactly is Parry's Power Guide? Is it like the BCS of high school football? Sort of.

Noland Parry, a resident of Pleasant Grove, created the computer ranking system in 1979.

The guide's purpose is to compare teams based on an offensive and defensive rating. The offensive rating is generated by final scores, and the defensive rating is based on strength of schedule. When combined together, according to the guide, the difference in two teams' ratings is the expected point spread if those teams meet.

The ratings are updated weekly by the computer, which consistently predicts 75 percent of the winners correctly.

Each Tuesday on the Deseret Morning News' prep page, we throw classifications out the window and rank the top 25 teams in the state. How different would those rankings be if Parry's Power Guide did the super rankings: 1, Olympus; 2, Bountiful; 3, Northridge; 4, Skyline; 5, Lone Peak; 6, Timpview; 7, Clearfield; 8, Bonneville; 9, Box Elder; 10, Hunter; 11, Brighton; 12, Mountain Crest; 13, Highland; 14, Davis; 15, Fremont; 16, Bingham; 17, Pine View; 18, Viewmont; 19, Alta; 20, Weber; 21(tie), Jordan and Lehi; 23, Pleasant Grove; 24, North Sanpete; 25, Riverton.

With that said, it's time to have some fun.

The Deseret Morning News is going to put a little fantasy football — with a BCS twist — on Parry's Power Guide. This year, at the end of the college football season, whoever, is ranked first and second in the BCS will play in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. While the BCS is basically a complicated mess, in a nutshell, the champs from the Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, Big East and ACC, along with two at-large teams, are invited to play in the four BCS bowls.

Let's fantasize for a bit and apply the BCS theory to Utah high school football. At season's end, let's say the champs (based on Parry's rankings) of the three 5A regions and the four 4A regions — along with one at-large team — get invited to a BCS bowl.

Therefore, if the season ended today, Region 5 rivals Olympus and Bountiful would be ranked first and second, respectively, and would be traveling to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl for the National Championship. Olympus would be invited by virtue of the region championship, while Bountiful earned the only at-large berth.

Fittingly, that would mean Region 1's Northridge and Region's 3 Skyline would be paired up in an intriguing Rose Bowl game. Region 7's Lone Peak and Region 6's Timpview would be invited to the Fiesta Bowl, while Region 4's Bonneville and Region 2's Brighton would be invited to the Orange Bowl.

With that said, let the rumblings begin. If this weren't fantasy, programs like Hunter, Alta and Clearfield — along with any 3A team — would be up in arms about the apparent unfairness of the BCS. As of right now, Hunter could be the best team in the state, but the computer ranks them only 10th.

Perhaps now those teams can empathize with teams from the Mountain West and Conference USA a bit more.

PICKS ON THE WEB: Try your hand at picking the winners of 12 prep football games each week in the Deseret Morning News Grid Picks. Last week's winner was Geoff Murdock, Holladay, who picked 11 of 12 games correctly and won $50. If you're feeling lucky this week, submit your predictions through the Prep Sports page at deseretnews.com/preps.

PREPS ON THE WEB: Can't wait for the nightly scores? Log on to www.deseretnews.com/preps to see the scores as soon as the Deseret Morning News receives the information from the coaches. While there, check out your favorite high school's own Web page complete with the state's most comprehensive standings, schedules, results and leaders.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com