There was a lot made of the Southeastern Conference preseason all-conference team and just who was filling out the coaches’ ballots.
As it turned out, it was South Carolina’s vote that kept Tim Tebow from being the unanimous selection to the first-team. The fact that coach Steve Spurrier was not the one doing the voting became the bigger issue.
While all-conference teams carry no real weight when the season starts, the result of the USA Today coaches’ poll does because it is factored into the Bowl Championship Series formula.
Traditionally, coaches have passed along the duty to a sports information director or a director of operations (who filled out Spurrier’s SEC ballot).
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The Gamecocks coach said he always did the voting for the top-25, although he isn’t sure why.
“I really believe most coaches do not know a whole lot about other teams, but we vote,” Spurrier said at last week’s SEC Media Days. “That’s what they ask us to do.”
LSU coach Les Miles was was asked whether he is the one filling out the ballot for the top-25 poll.
His response: “Absolutely.”
Since questions of who is doing the voting didn’t arise until the last of the three SEC Media Days, the 10 other coaches were not asked to answer it.
Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin appeared last but is a first-year head coach who never has been faced with the issue. He did say that preseason all-conference ballot was a group effort because he wasn’t completely familiar with everyone in the SEC.
Alabama coach Nick Saban was not on the panel of 61 voting coaches in last season’s USA Today poll but will be this fall. Crimson Tide spokesman Jeff Purinton said the exact strategy for submitting the votes has not be determined but promised Saban will be the one doing the voting.
“I need to get with coach to see how we will address that,” Purinton said Thursday.
When reached by phone Thursday afternoon, an Auburn spokesperson did not know whether coach Gene Chizik would be a voter in the coaches poll and was uncertain of how previous coach Tommy Tuberville handled that responsibility.
John Swofford, is the ACC commissioner and the BCS coordinator. Multiple attempts to reach him for comment on this story were unsuccessful, but he has spoken about another issue facing the coaches’ poll as it relates to the BCS.
The American Football Coaches Association, which conducts the USA Today poll, voted in May to stop releasing the ballots following the final week of the regular season, starting in 2010.
That move brought into question the future inclusion of the coaches’ poll in the BCS formula.
“In the past, the commissioners have favored transparency in voting by the people who participate in the two polls that are used to compile the BCS standings,” Swofford said in a May statement released to the media. “The commissioners review all aspects of the BCS arrangement — including the BCS standings — at the conclusion of each season, and I know the AFCA’s decision will be on the agenda for that review after the January 2010 games.”