A surfer asked this common question.  What is the proper way to rack for 8 ball?
George Fels author of "How would you play this" was kind enough to answer this surfers question. Thanks George! 

Under current BCA rules, the 8 goes in the middle, a stripe and a solid (as opposed to two of either) go in the corners, and the rest of the balls can be racked randomly.

The catch is that BCA rules are not universally played. What was traditionally done before their current rules was to alternate stripes and solids around the perimeter of the rack, and alternate them within too (you can't avoid having two stripes or solids together at one point in the rack) although I don't know that that ever existed as a formal rule. The purpose was to ensure some fairness; racking all the stripes or solids together obviously wouldn't be fair.

The BCA rule is probably wisest, as it seems to avoid controversy.
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