Coaches Re-evaluating Football Poll

Urban Meyer

The American Football Coaches Association is considering changes to the college football poll they vote on which is one-third of the BCS formula. The AFCA commissioner used a Gallup Poll to address a number of issues including whether or not the coaches' final vote would continue to be made public. Until recently the individual votes were kept quiet until the final poll of the season.

"Historically, we have never released the votes," AFCA executive director Grant Teaff told the Associated Press. "When it came up that, OK, it would be better if you did, I think there was acquiescing by the coaches. As to whether it's helped the poll or not, I don't think I can really say. Whether it's hurt it or not, I don't know. The only thing that we can base a decision on, as AFCA, is what the experts say about it.

"We've obviously proven our loyalty to both the BCS and USA Today by releasing those," Teaff said. "But the question is whether that's the correct thing to do or not. Does that give us the way to have the best possible poll we can have? Teaff says another issue the coaches wanted researched involved the direct conflict of interest inherent in ranking the teams.

"The other question that we had was, should individual coaches be able to vote for their own teams?" Teaff said. "We've always allowed that. We didn't really have a real reason for that, except it just sounded like hey, that should be the right thing to do. So that was a very important question."

AFCA president Dick Tomey, the coach at San Jose State, said he was pleased with the survey results.

"We want the coaches' poll to be the very best poll possible," Tomey said. "We got the input from the people that have been doing this the longest, the best in the world, in order to help us understand the best way to do this kind of thing. So we feel very good about the way it turned out."

No Questions About Motivation

It seems obvious the primary motivation behind all of this is trying to find a justification for hiding their final votes. Coaches took a lot of flack last year from the schools that were not chosen to play in the BCS Title Game and their fans. For many, it was a real pain. Their solution is to go all Soviet Union on us and refuse to divulge their selections. I have a better solution to their problem; kill the coaches' poll forever.

Having college football coaches vote on the final two teams who get to play for it all is just one of the problems. The conflict of interest there is more than enough to cancel this absurd exercise. Beyond that, however the final rankings help determine at-large bids to BCS games which means a huge financial impact. Again, it's in your interest to have two teams from your conference in the BCS bowls, but maybe not for them to be in the title game.

Additionally there are few people in America less qualified to vote in a college football poll than the coaches themselves. Ask a college coach how many games they watch that do not involve teams on their schedule and the answer is probably one or none. And the guy who says one is lying. They are completely focused on their teams and their season. That's the way it should be, but it also makes them completely ignorant as voters.

The Harris Poll is too big, but at least it involves a variety of people with a variety of histories as it relates to college football. If they cannot come up with a legit media poll to replace the AP which dropped out, then they should look to put together a poll or former players with those players agreeing to two things. First, they cannot vote for the school they attended. Second, their vote will be made public every week.

Let each of the 119 Division I schools recommend someone to take part in the All-American Poll and let's see how that works. But the coaches should never again have input into who gets to play for the BCS Title.

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