California coach Jeff Tedford got what he wanted: From now on,
balloting in the final regular-season coaches poll will be made
Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches
Association, said Thursday the decision was best for the game. The
change comes after a public outcry last season, when the Golden
Bears lost a shot at a Bowl Championship Series game, in part
because they got dropped in the final coaches poll.
Tedford and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen have said voting
should be made public. Tedford was on vacation Thursday and
unavailable for comment.
Though most coaches didn't want to release the votes because of
the scrutiny it would bring, Teaff said they decided to vote for
the change to quell any "uncalled-for controversy."
"Our coaches were under no obligation to do this," said Teaff,
a former coach at Baylor. "The good news is that somebody out
there thinks that transparency is good for the system, and our
coaches said, 'OK we hear you and we're going to join in and do our
Teaff added there are no circumstances in which the group would
allow their in-season voting to be made public. The coaches poll
helps determine the teams that will play in the BCS championship
"The in-season polls are just a barometer," Teaff said. "The
final poll that determines the two teams that play in the national
championship seems to be the one everyone wants to know about."
Kevin Weiberg, the Big 12 Conference commissioner and BCS
coordinator, has said voting by coaches has taken on greater
importance since The Associated Press asked to have its poll
removed from the formula used to determine BCS matchups.
However, Teaff said that viewpoint had no effect on the coaches'
decision. He said the group discussed the issue at its meeting in
January and then voted in a survey sent out in late February.
Last season, California finished fourth in the coaches poll, but
six coaches inexplicably dropped them below No. 6 on the final
ballots -- four at No. 7 and two in the eighth slot.
In the previous week's poll, nobody picked Cal lower than sixth.
The vote came after Cal's 26-16 win at Southern Mississippi on
Saturday night -- a close game, but a tough road contest that wasn't
in doubt in the final minutes.
The BCS drop caused Cal to miss out on the school's first Rose
Bowl in 45 years. The Golden Bears got a meeting with Texas Tech in
the Holiday Bowl instead, while Texas got into the Rose Bowl.
Texas coach Mack Brown initially was against making the coaches'
votes public, but said Thursday he will continue to participate
next season if asked. He said it's appropriate that just the final
regular-season votes are released.
"I've always been a firm believer that the polls start too
early in the season and that we shouldn't be voting on a Top 25
before October," Brown said. "By then, we have more information
to work with in determining who the best teams are."
In December, Tedford said, "One of the worst things that could
happen is the votes being kept secret. If we had it to do all over
again, I would hope that we'd make them public."
Auburn also got left out of the championship game despite
finishing undefeated. The Tigers finished No. 3 in both polls, and
settled for the Sugar Bowl while Oklahoma and Southern California --
both undefeated -- played for the national championship in the
The BCS has announced it will establish a replacement for the AP
poll, which started in 1936 and is the longest-running poll in
college football. The AP poll makes its votes public.
Previously, the AP and coaches' polls each counted for one-third
of the BCS formula, with computer rankings accounting for the final
third. BCS officials want another human poll to keep that formula
Teaff said the coaches have unanimously supported the concept of
a championship game because they do not want to go back to the old
system where there was a "so-called mythical championship, which
did not have the two best teams playing."
The BCS, which includes the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar
Bowls, will expand to five games and 10 teams starting with the
2006 season. The No. 1 vs. No. 2 BCS title game will be played a
week after the bowls and rotate between the four existing sites.
A total of 62 coaches vote in the USA Today/ESPN poll.