I’ve got some advice for our friends at the BCS. In 2010 you will begin a new four-year contract with ESPN. If you’re going to keep the same format and selection process, and the contract says you will, how about an upgrade of the human polls that currently make up two-thirds of your formula?
Currently you have 59 coaches voting in the USA Today Coaches poll. We don’t have enough space, not even on the internet, for me to point out all of the inconsistencies in that poll. The coaches will readily admit that they don’t see very much college football other than their own team and their opponent each week. Their poll reflects that. The ballots are also secret until the very last one. Secrecy should not be a part of the BCS process.
The Harris Interactive Poll voters are an interesting collection of former players, administrators and current media. There have been some interesting votes there are well.
The Associated Press media poll, the granddaddy of all polls, is the most credible of the group but decided, rightfully so, that it needed to get out of the BCS business to maintain that credibility.
Let’s face it. After USC finished No. 1 in both human polls in 2003 but did not get into the BCS championship, the powers that be changed the formula so that two thirds of it would rely on the human polls. The reality is that the two teams at the top of the human polls at the end of the season are pretty much going to be the two teams who play for the national championship. The computer polls, which account for only one third of the formula, would have to be wildly different to change that outcome.
So if the human polls are going to mean that much, why not try to make them the best they can be? Why not call on people who know the game of football better than anybody? Why not get people who actually have time to watch a lot of football every week?
I present to you the Legends Poll. The poll is made up of 17 of the best former coaches in the country. The list includes Vince Dooley, Pat Dye, R.C. Slocum, Terry Donahue, John Robinson, John Cooper, and R.C. Slocum, just to name a few.
Each coach is assigned a couple of teams to follow closely and they receive DVDs of many games from around the country. After studying the video, the coaches meet on a conference call to discuss those teams in great detail. Then collectively they file their ballots and release their poll. All ballots are public. The results are posted each week by our friends at The Sporting News.
I had the opportunity to listen in on the conference call this week. Trust me when I tell you that these guys know their stuff.
“It’s an interesting process and a very thorough process,” said Dooley, the Hall of Fame coach from Georgia. “A coach looks at video with a careful eye. By the time we finish our discussion, we feel like we’ve given all the teams a very honest assessment.”
The Legends poll began several years ago under the title of the Master Coaches Survey. Andy Curtin, who is the administrator of the poll, has been lobbying the BCS to include the poll in its formula.
“These coaches know the game better than anybody and they have the time and the skill to really dig deep and analyze these teams,” said Curtin. “We’ve been very clear. We believe they should be a part of the BCS process.”
As the BCS moves forward into the next four-year cycle, I’m suggesting this is something the conference commissioners should consider. What would be wrong with adding a fourth element to the formula? Collectively, these men have 369 years of head coaching experience. Wouldn’t it make sense to take advantage of that experience? It seems to me that it is an untapped resource that would help the credibility of a process that still remains the subject of much debate and scorn among college football fans.
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