The USA Today Coaches' Poll has been around long enough for everyone to know it is a joke. The only thing sadder than the poll itself is the fact that it plays a role in helping to decide which two teams are going to play in the national championship.
USA Today tried to make USC head coach Lane Kiffin look like a dimwit earlier this week by releasing his vote to the public. And while that is not supposed to happen until the end of the season, it gives us a chance to talk about just how much of a fallacy this poll is.
Yes, fallacy, which is what Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott called it (via ESPN):
"I think it's an unfair position to put the coaches in, to supposedly vote objectively when they've got a very natural conflict of interest, No. 1, and, No. 2, I think most coaches are focused on their own games—let alone breaking down tape afterwards and all that," Scott said. "So to expect that coaches could have a good, balanced, well-researched perspective on who the best teams are in any given week is a fallacy."
To believe that coaches are well-informed enough to decide the top teams in college football is an illusion. Sure, these guys know football, but they are part of the game itself.
Last time I checked, being a head coach takes up majority of your time, from watching film, studying for your next opponent, keeping your players in check, recruiting and every other thing that they are responsible for behind the scenes.
It is absurd to think that coaches have the time or interest in watching every other team in the country. One, they are extremely busy with their coaching duties, which in today's world is an around-the-clock job. And why would they want to watch every other team play in the first place?
If I am Nick Saban, I'm not watching any other Big Ten team besides Michigan, who I have to play the first week of the regular season. It doesn't make much sense for Jimbo Fisher to keep an eye on any Pac-12 teams considering the Seminoles don't have to take a trip out west this season.
And then there is the bias that comes into play. If I were a coach and had a vote in this poll, you can bet your bottom dollar that I am picking my team to be No. 1 every week. Why wouldn't I? It's my team and my players. It's impossible for a coach to gain the respect of his team if those same players find out he doesn't believe in them to begin with.
"I don't know how you go in to see these guys and say, 'Hey, thanks for coming back for your senior year, but, by the way, my opinion is I have these other teams ahead of you,' " Kiffin said (via ESPN). "It is what it is."
Until the college football playoff is introduced or all coaches decide to give up their vote, the USA Today Coaches' Poll will continue to be a joke, misconception, fallacy or whatever synonym you would like to use.