Final Coaches’ Ballots Make for Interesting Reading

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picked up the print edition of the USA Today Monday morning, hoping to get a
listing of bowl games and perhaps some other good material for a column. I hit
paydirt, because the USA Today listed the full final ballots for all 63 coaches
who voted in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. There’s some interesting stuff there.

As you know, the BCS process comes under more and more scrutiny each year,
and one change to the process is that all college coaches’ final ballots in the
USA Today Coaches’ poll must now be made public. If memory serves correctly,
that’s because Watson Brown, head coach at UAB and brother of Texas coach Mack
Brown, once submitted a final ballot that varied significantly from the norm, to
the advantage of Texas — those of you with a better memory or better Google
skills than I, please fill in the blanks on the message board. (I think Watson
Brown ranked Cal lower than most coaches, helping Texas squeak by them in the
BCS rankings, bumping Cal out of a BCS Bowl and Texas into the 2004 Rose Bowl.)

Thanks to this change, we now have available to us the final ballots of all
63 coaches who vote in the poll, only 62 of which submitted final ballots. Jim
Tressel of Ohio State was allowed to abstain, because he didn’t want to play a
part in selecting the opponent for his Buckeye team, which was already in the
championship game and was awaiting the final BCS rankings to see who would be
#2, Michigan or Florida.

Another interesting note: a number of the “coaches” who voted in
the poll aren’t coaches right now, because they have been fired: Chuck Amato,
Larry Coker, John Bunting, and John L. Smith come to mind.

Let’s look at Frank Beamer’s ballot, then we’ll run down data on where
coaches voted VT, including the highest and lowest ranks, etc.