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Coaches polls remain a badly flawed idea

I've never liked coaches polls in football(which came out today) and basketball (or for that matter ice hockey, baseball, men's lacrosse and I could be talked into soccer and women's lacrosse). They're necessary in sports where there's not enough attention-paying media, but in sports where there are unbiased people available to vote, coaches polls are almost counterproductive..

First of all most football coaches aren't watching other games on Saturday afternoon and most aren't watching the highlight shows either. They're too busy breaking down game tape. So their expertise is coming from where exactly?Many votes are actually submitted by the SID, director of football operations or who knows who...

Plus there are too many temptations to have your vote influenced.

If your conference gets an extra team in the BCS Bowls, your school and program gets an extra cut of the money. If you think that doesn't influence at least some coaches, you're crazy. If a coach is on the fence between two similar teams, aren't you more likely to pick:

  • the team in your conference?
  • the team that you beat?
  • the team that beat you?
  • the team you're about to play?
  • the team coached by a guy you used to work for?

Would Mike Leach EVER vote for Texas Tech? He's a voter.

Their votes are secretive too. Not accountability for anyone. There are good voters, I'm sure, maybe most of them. But it doesn't take many to damage the process.

If there is going to be a coaches poll, why doesn't everybody vote? There are 62 voters (see below) and about 125 FBS schools (depending on how you rank transitioning programs). Why not one program, one vote? Not unrealistic that Stanford could be in the national title picture, but while coaches at Alabama, Texas A&M and Ohio State can all write their own name at No. 1, David Shaw has to count on the other coaches to carry water for his Cardinal.

Conference USA has more voters (seven) than the Big Ten (six). The MAC has more (six) than the Big XII (five).

It's a bad set up.

List of Voters
The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches is made up of 62 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2013 season:

CUSA 7
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa;
David Bailiff, Rice;
Larry Coker, Texas-San Antonio;
Doc Holliday, Marshall
Curtis Johnson, Tulane;
Dan McCarney, North Texas
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee;

ACC 7
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech;
David Cutcliffe, Duke;
Larry Fedora, North Carolina;
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State;
Al Golden, Miami (Fla.)
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest;
Dabo Swinney, Clemson

SEC 7
Bret Bielema, Arkansas;
James Franklin, Vanderbilt;
Les Miles, LSU;
Mark Richt, Georgia;
Nick Saban, Alabama;
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina;
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

B1G - 6
Tim Beckman, Illinois;
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State;
Brady Hoke, Michigan;
Jerry Kill, Minnesota;
Urban Meyer, Ohio State;
Bo Pelini, Nebraska;

MAC 6
Terry Bowden, Akron;
Matt Campbell, Toledo;
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois;
Dave Clawson, Bowling Green;
Ron English, Eastern Michigan;
Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio)

Mountian West 6
Troy Calhoun, Air Force;
Dave Christensen, Wyoming;
Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State;
Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Rocky Long, San Diego State
Chris Petersen, Boise State;

Pac 12 -6
Todd Graham, Arizona State;
Mark Helfrich, Oregon;
Mike Leach, Washington State
Mike Riley, Oregon State;
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona;
Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Big XII 5
Art Briles, Baylor;
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech;
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma;

AAC - 5
Kyle Flood, Rutgers;
June Jones, Southern Methodist
George OLeary, Central Florida
Charlie Strong, Louisville;
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

Sun Belt - 4
Dennis Franchione, Texas State;
Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State;
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette
Joey Jones, South Alabama

Independent - 3

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ;
Bronco Mendenhall, Brigham Young;
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

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