So, yeah, the American Football Coaches Association has announced with great fanfare today that it’s making some changes to the Coaches’ Poll, most notably this:
Do not release the individual coach’s ‘final end of the [regular] season’ ballot. Gallup recommended the voting process remain confidential. Historically, until four years ago, the AFCA kept the ballot confidential. (The AFCA does not restrict a coach from releasing his ballot).
The AFCA Board decided to delay the implementation of the confidential ballot for one year, until the 2010 season, to coincide with the current BCS bowl cycle.
I’m trying to work up the appropriate level of outrage over this, but I’m having trouble getting there. Certainly, it’s a tone deaf decision in terms of public perception, but it’s not as if the coaches haven’t been above making biased voting decisions during the period when the final regular season poll ballots have been released. None of the remaining regular season ballots were released, either. The decision will deprive me of an annual blog post where I get to mock some of the voting, so I guess there’s that to tick me off.
That’s not to say that AFCA’s claim that this will improve the Coaches’ Poll isn’t total BS, because it is.
There is an interesting part to the press release, though. It involves two recommendations that the folks at Gallup made that aren’t being implemented, naturally.
• Reduce to 10 or 15 the number of teams ranked.
• Evaluate with other shareholders in college football the value of a preseason poll.
I find those to be excellent suggestions that would improve the quality of the poll. As we’ve learned here with the Mumme Poll voting, it’s much easier to evaluate 10-15 schools than it is 25 – and we’re not coaches who likely don’t have the time to spend evaluating that many programs every week. And preseason polls are at best worthless and at worst a contributor to stacking the deck against schools who start out ranked lower than they should, based on their play.