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Coaches Poll Contemplates Doing Exact Opposite of Sensible

Disclaimer… This is not another BCS rant. That lifeboat in the blogosphere, the S.S. Hate, long set sail from this port. OTP is against the “playoff” conversations, because it’s just another half assed attempt to fix an unfixable inherently flawed situation. Ranting about the BCS is ridiculous, a waste of time and keystrokes, and is akin to bitching about the clouds. Complain all you want, it isn’t going anywhere.

However, the components of that BCS are at bare minimum open for discussion, especially given what’s at stake beyond a berth in the national title game. When Texas loses out on an opportunity to play for the Big 12, because computers and polls rank a team with an equal record, who Texas beat, ahead of the Longhorns, someone, somewhere has to look at how those numbers are computed. If staying within the current system is a given, and to me, it is, then the only viable solution is to ensure as much transparency, accountability, and reasonable thought/logic goes into the various components of said less-than-ideal current situation.

What doesn’t even remotely compute within this conversation is the proposed shift in the Coaches Poll. The poll itself has undergone myriad changes over it’s 59 year life span to get to its current spot in the football universe. The identities of those voting is not a secret, their votes are (with the exception of the final regular season ballot), and the participating coaches are required to put the BCS Championship Game winner #1 in their final ballot of the year.

On the table for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), based upon a recommendation from Gallup, is a total shroud of mystery draped over the entire thing. Identities would be concealed, votes remain secret, and transparency would go from its current “sort of” to a marked “absolutely none”. How can this be good for the sport? The simple answer is that it cannot.

The Coach’s Poll, in and of itself, is a bit ridiculous to me. For one, you are asking a group of professionals who are totally focused only on their own team and their opponents in one week bursts to evaluate the play and performance of 119 others over the course of an entire season. That’s asking a lot, unless you want them to pawn it off to an SID or an intern, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see happen far more often than not.

Second, you’re asking coaches to be non-biased. A great theory, but nearly impossible, given that these polls play into the BCS rankings, and therefore BCS selections, and therefore BCS paydays which are split amongst fellow conference schools. If I’m a head coach who can let my school potentially have another million bucks for voting conference mates ahead of others, you can bet your ass I’ll do it. Anyone would. It’s human nature.

So for the coaches poll to have any “credibility” to begin with, we, as fans, are asked to assume that coaches will be informed, participatory, and non-biased. And the only way to ensure that’s happening is to ensure that the public can see exactly how these non-biased informed voters are voting. More transparency is the answer. More mystery, more cloak and dagger, more smoke and mirrors does nothing. It only serves as yet another way for the major conference powers to be territorial, possessive, and discriminatory while playing in their BCS sandbox.

But perhaps what is most troubling, and this to me is the crux of the argument against these proposed changes, is that this is just another little roadblock thrown up to prevent fans from getting too close. Watch, but not too close. Support, but not too close. Come, but not too close. Because when it all boils down to it, athletics in general, and specifically college football, it’s the haves and the have nots. And this, like most decisions made, show all of us fans exactly where we are and where we’re expected to stay.

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