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Berry Tramel: Steve Spurrier has no backbone; coaches’ poll no credibility

by Berry Tramel Published: July 25, 2009
Steve Spurrier fell on his sword Friday.

Because of inattention or apathy or ignorance or maybe because he thought it was the thing to do, Spurrier voted Ole Miss’ Jevan Snead, not Florida’s Tim Tebow, as the preseason All-SEC quarterback.

A capital crime south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

So Spurrier retreated like Lee at Gettysburg, throwing his director of football operations under the Winnebago, saying Charles Bloom filled out the ballot and Spurrier gave it merely a glance.

Typical football coach. Not even Spurrier, as plain-spoken of a coach as we’ve got in the sport, has the courage of his convictions. Either wussed out and found a scapegoat or didn’t care enough in the first place what was attributed to his name.

Frankly, who cares who is the preseason All-SEC quarterback?

But there is a vote that does count: the coaches poll, which provides one-third of the components to determine the national-title game participants.

And the cowardly coaches have again voted to make their ballots secret.

Enough of this nonsense. Time to tell college football coaches their voices have lost all credibility. Time to tell college football coaches no one cares what they think. Time to toss the coaches poll into the Caspian Sea.

The brash, brazen Spurrier’s backbone turned to jelly when his deed was uncovered. Which was needless.

Sure, Tebow is the obvious choice. He’s a great quarterback. An epic quarterback. A national-title winning, Heisman-winning, hearts all over Dixie-winning quarterback.

But if you want to vote Snead all-conference, what’s the harm? If you or your lieutenant thinks Snead is an absolute load and is going to have a breakout year, that’s interesting. That’s why leagues have these kind of teams, to get people thinking college football.

If a preseason team can do nothing but besmirch the honor of a player like Tebow, then the time has come to do something else with our summers.

Spurrier’s story confirms what we’ve been told for decades, that many coaches hand over their poll or honors ballots to an underling.

The coaches poll always was inferior to the AP poll and historically almost always followed the AP, a week later, as if the coach or his Man Friday just waited to check out the voters who were really paying attention.

Of course, when The Associated Press fled the BCS process, and the Harris Poll replaced it, the coaches ascended in status.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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