College football: Why every coach should vote in the coaches' poll

COMMENTARY — There's plenty wrong with the BCS system, but one of the most fixable problems is the coaches' poll. Start letting every coach vote.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm •  Published: December 14, 2011
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“With the importance of the polls ... our coaches wanted it to be the very best that it could be,” Teaff said.

The very best would be every coach voting.

Now, with the possibility that a few coaches might turn down the chance to vote, there are some people who would probably cry foul. They might complain that some conferences would have more representatives than others.

Is that unfair and unbalanced?

Maybe.

But you know what? Depending on your point of view, the current system with the coaches' poll isn't exactly fair or balanced.

Look at the Big 12. A conference that was among best this season — five teams in the final BCS rankings, second only to the SEC — had the second-fewest fewest voters of any automatic-qualifier conference. The Big East had the least votes with four, which considering the sorry state of football there seems appropriate, but the Big 12's five votes in the coaches' poll was less than the ACC and the Pac-12.

Those leagues had two teams in the final ranking but six voters in the poll.

Heck, the Big 12 had fewer voters than Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference. Nothing against C-USA and the MAC, but those mid-major conferences aren't better than the Big 12.

Shouldn't that count for something?

And what about the imbalance of votes by state?

In our fair state, only OU coach Bob Stoops got a vote. Nothing wrong with a three-team state having only one vote. That's a rational percentage.

But check out some other states. The state of Florida has seven teams, but this season, only two of them had votes in the coaches' poll. Meanwhile, California, a state also with seven teams, had five votes in the coaches' poll.

Is that a sensible distribution?

Does that seem like a fair balance?

Even if that does, this won't — Louisiana has five teams, and each and every one of them had a vote in the coaches' poll. Les Miles at LSU. Sonny Dykes at Louisiana Tech. Todd Berry at Louisiana-Monroe. Mark Hudspeth at Louisiana-Lafayette. Bob Toledo at Tulane.

I don't doubt that coaches' poll has a better system now than it did in the past, but it's nowhere near as good as it could be. Getting closer to perfect would be a snap — give every coach who's willing to take part in the process the opportunity to do so.

Not just the ones whose names are randomly drawn out of a pot.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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