TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The ballots of the 59 coaches who vote in the USA Today Top 25 are secret, except for the final version at the end of the regular season.
That is for now.
A writer from Sports Illustrated is hoping to end that week-to-week mystery.
Andy Staples reported he sent open records requests to the 51 public institutions with voting coaches in an attempt to obtain the ballots.
Tide coach Nick Saban is one of the voters this season, but the school does not plan to release his picks. Jeff Purinton, associate athletic director for football communications, said the ballot isn’t a university record, and that SI would have to contact the American Football Coaches Association, which conducts the poll.
The watchdog effort is in response to the Steve Spurrier controversy that followed the South Carolina coach’s decision to have a staff member fill out the All-SEC team ballot that left Florida quarterback Tim Tebow off the first team.
So far, Staples reports he has received the ballot belonging to South Florida coach Jim Leavitt.
Offensive line starters
No depth chart has been released yet, but Saban came close to confirming the group of starting offensive linemen suspected to be the front-runners.
Returning starters Mike Johnson and Drew Davis were virtual locks to keep those spots. Saban evaluated some of the others after Thursday’s practice.
“James Carpenter has made nice progress, and we feel he’s very functional in his position and a lot more confident,” the coach said. “(William) Vlachos has done a really good job at center, and Barrett Jones has stepped up at right guard.
“After that is where we have a lot of young guys that are making progress.”
Athens (Ala.) High School graduate Alfred McCullough is among the group Saban said has made a lot of progress.
Practice again was moved indoors Thursday when afternoon thunderstorms rolled into Tuscaloosa.
It was the first day of game preparations for the season-opener with Virginia Tech that awaits eight days from today.
“I can’t wait for the game to get here,” receiver Darius Hanks said. “I just can’t wait to get in that dome and play.”
The Tide and Hokies play Sept. 5 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in a game widely considered one of the best non-conference showdowns of the year. Both programs have consensus Top-10 teams, according to preseason polls.