It’s early Sunday morning and 61 college football coaches have plenty on their minds. How good/bad did their team play last week, and how can they beat this week’s opponent? Film must be broken down, and new game plans must be constructed. What’s the injury situation? Any changes in personnel?
Amidst all this, the folks at USA Today are looking for their weekly coaches’ ballot. Forgive the coach if he has bigger concerns. The coaches’ poll is important stuff because it represents one-third of the BCS standings, and we all know how important that is. The poll debuted in 1950 as the United Press poll, and then as United Press International. Of all components in the BCS, the coaches’ poll potentially is the most distorted and corrupt. Computer rankings are mathematical formulas. The Harris poll is comprised of former players, coaches and administrators, plus writers and analysts past and present. They know how to watch a football game, and most have some time on their hands. Meanwhile, the coaches’ poll is comprised of people with no free time. Coaches care about one team — their own. They’ve studied opponents at length, but no one else. Some have a vested interest in the polls. Many salaries are dictated by national rankings and the loftiness of their bowl. Coaches also have biases. Vote for him, he’s my former boss. Vote against him, he’s in another conference. Vote for him, we were assistants together. Vote against him, he cheats in recruiting. Vote for him, good guy. Vote against him, bad guy.