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Uninformed Harris Poll voters are a major flaw in system

George Wine, 80, is the latest face of all that's wrong with the BCS
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 5, 2011

Cowboy Nation, let me introduce you to George Wine.

He is 80 years old. He is a retiree. He is living in the Iowa City suburb of Coralville, Iowa.

And he is the latest face of all that's wrong with the BCS.

The former sports information director at Iowa is also one of the voters in the Harris Poll, one of the two human polls that factor into the BCS rankings. Those people polls were the difference between Oklahoma State playing for a national championship game and going to the Fiesta Bowl.

Alabama edged OSU by .0086 points, the closest spread ever between No. 2 and No. 3, the narrowest margin between playing for a title and watching someone else get that shot.

On the day that the Harris and USA Today ballots were revealed, we know that Wine isn't the only reason that the Cowboys are headed for the desert instead of the bayou. I don't want to paint him as a villain or anything. I understand he's a very nice guy, in fact. Most folks from the Hawkeye State are.

But votes like Wine's make you realize just how flawed this system is.

He voted the Cowboys No. 6.

“This voting is highly subjective,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I realize that voting is subjective and often arbitrary. I probably don't do as much research … but who the hell knows whether Oregon is better than Wisconsin?”

Who knows what Wine was going to say after “I probably don't do as much research … ”, but here's guessing it would've been something along the lines of “as I should” or “as these teams deserve.”

College football is a multibillion dollar industry with multimillion salaries and larger-than-life stadiums, and yet it allows this type of madness.

Listen, I'm not saying the Cowboys should be headed to the national championship game instead of Alabama. I thought they deserved a chance, but the way this system is set up, a team has no legs to stand on once it loses a game. Every team knows it is at the mercy of the system.

Like it or not, that's the way it is.

What I am saying, though, is that the pulling back of the curtain on these human polls makes the whole system seem like a sham.

Alabama coach Nick Saban voted OSU fourth. Just making sure if the vote between his Crimson Tide and the Cowboys was close that his vote wasn't the one that made the difference.

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by Jenni Carlson
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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