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Leavitt, Schiano had Bearcats No. 2

The final ballots from the coaches' poll have been released by USA Today, and as always there's some serious intrigue.

As I noted yesterday, Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly voted his team No. 1, the only coach to do so. But fellow Big East coaches Greg Schiano and Jim Leavitt tried to help the Bearcats out by putting them at No. 2. The only other Big East coach to vote in the poll, Steve Kragthorpe, had the Bearcats at No. 4. But what does Kragthorpe care about helping a league in which he is no longer employed?

No other coaches had Cincinnati higher than third. LSU's Les Miles ranked the Bearcats eighth. Eighth? Miles must have miscalculated his poll like he did the end of the Ole Miss game.

It wasn't just the Big East practicing cronyism. TCU coach Gary Patterson voted his team No. 2. Five other coaches did the same -- and they all came from non-BCS leagues.

Perhaps all of these guys truly voted from the heart. But this shows why including the coaches' poll in the BCS formula is a terrible idea. There's no way to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest at the very least, and the way coaches have voted over the years sure seems to indicate that many do so out of self-interest. And of course, these coaches are so busy with their own teams that they rarely have time to know what's going on around the country beyond scores and highlights. Several coaches have admitted that they have underlings fill out their ballots.

College football would be better served by scrapping the polls from the BCS formula and setting up a selection committee much like the NCAA tournament, where administrators and retired coaches could watch all the games all season and then determine which teams are the most deserving. Although that would take away from the annual amusement of perusing through these coaches' ballots.