With the College Football Playoff selection committee choosing to operate using its own ranking system, the need for any other polls in college football is eliminated. Yet, we still have an Associated Press poll and a coaches poll updated weekly. Why? Because they have always been there and college football is supposed to be all about traditions and all that nonsense. We may never lose either poll despite having no need for them to determine a national champion, but it may be time to officially retire one of these mainstays.
It is time to do away with the coaches poll.
Baylor head coach Art Briles offers the latest example of why. Despite a head-to-head victory over TCU, Baylor remains sitting behind TCU in the College Football Playoff ranking as well as the latest AP and coaches polls. The playoff ranking will be updated Tuesday night, so this may change, but the debates have been heating up whether or not Baylor should be or will be ranked ahead of TCU if the two end the season with the same record. While Briles may be doing whatever he can to suggest Baylor deserves more respect in the polls, TCU fans have not been shy about reminding us Briles once voted for Oklahoma four spots ahead of Texas in the final coaches poll of the 2008 season, despite the fact Texas defeated Oklahoma in the regular season. Oklahoma went on to play in the BCS Championship Game against Florida that season.
Asked why he voted Oklahoma ahead of Texas that season during the Monday Big 12 coaches teleconference, Briles said he did not actually vote in the coaches poll. Do not be shocked by this. Many coaches with a ballot are believed to turn a ballot over to an SID or some other staff member. No coach has the time to worry about such a frivolous thing as a poll when a game is coming up. Odds are you watch more college football from around the country than these coaches do on a week-to-week basis. And this is why the time has come to bid farewell to the coaches poll and the farce it has become.
Briles on voting Texas No. 5 and OU No. 1 in 2008: “I didn’t vote on that poll. I passed it on to somebody in the office.”
— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 17, 2014
If the coaches do not choose to take their votes seriously, then it should no longer be conducted. If the coaches choose not to respect their own voting process, then we as college football fans and media should join together and ignore the coaches poll. We do not need it anyway. It is only existing so our beloved crystal football can still be awarded to the national champion at the end of the season. What are the odds the coaches poll will vote for any team other than whichever comes out on top of the College Football Playoff? This is not a knock on the coaches with votes. This is a knock on the system the coaches go through the motions to keep it going. How many coaches honestly spend time weighing one team over the other before submitting their ballot each week? Set the over/under on that at 0.5 and I would strongly lean on the under (OK, maybe give me 2.5 just to be safe).
The Associated Press poll can stick around. Unlike the coaches poll, the AP poll offers a wider view of the college football landscape from those who invest more time watching the game on a regular basis. Sure, some voters may still go through the motions just to have the luxury of saying they are a voter, but the AP poll can still carry some more merit with it compared to the worthless coaches poll. And yes, at the end of the season the AP gets to reward the national champion with another trophy. Trophies are cool, but again, there is no shock which team will be deemed number one at the end of the season. The age of split national championships is extinct as we know it, so the AP poll and any other poll is now left to simply follow suit and crown the playoff champion.
So do away with the coaches poll, coaches. We don’t need it. You don’t want to deal with it. Somehow, we all will go on just fine and you will not have to answer such silly questions about polls anymore. Go ahead and finish up this season, but if you don’t submit any votes in 2015, nobody will miss it. Honest.