Coaches voting their own team in an advantageous spot, handing off their voting rights to sports information directors and generally not putting in the effort needed—we've all heard the conspiracy theories regarding the USA Today Coaches Poll before.
On Sunday, when the latest version of the coaches poll was released, the conspiracy theories began running wild once again based on one missing vote.
Florida State was mysteriously missing its first-place vote from a week earlier.
Most had assumed that No. 1 vote came from FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher, who has acknowledged he is a voter in the poll.
After dominating wins in back-to-back weeks, what changed for the Seminoles to drop a first-place vote?
That may remain a mystery, but certainly Fisher wouldn't have demoted his own team, right?
On Monday, Fisher strongly suggested that Alabama was his No. 1 team on his ballot and has been for some time, as reported by ESPN.com.
"Alabama's been very consistent, playing great defense right now, they have playmakers that can run the football, they're very physical, and they've done it and earned it for two years," Fisher said.
Fisher also made it clear that his vote is exactly that, his, and he takes it very seriously.
"That's a job I have," Fisher said according to ESPN.com. "I don't look at it through our team. You can't let emotion get into it. You have to do what you think, from your study, evaluation, opinion and expertise, where you should fit in that poll."
Whomever it was who switched their first-place vote from the Seminoles, the bigger question at hand is, what if a switch like that costs a team its chance at the BCS National Championship Game?
Luckily, that's not what happened this time around.
Florida State actually gained a few more points in the coaches poll, and it was actually the computers that cost FSU the No. 2 spot in the BCS this week.
However, that doesn't mean it couldn't happen in the coming weeks of the final year of the BCS.
That's the problem when you are dealing with a set of voters whose own livelihoods are on the line based on averages and formulas—people can figure out a way to manipulate said formulas and averages to their own advantage.
With seven teams, and five from BCS automatic qualifying conferences, currently undefeated heading into Week 10, every last vote in the human polls could be the difference-maker.
It's the one area that the coaches can control before leaving their teams' fate to the computers.
Hopefully more coaches take Fisher's stance on the polls and take their voting seriously and honestly; the game of college football would be better off for it.
*Andy Coppens is the lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.
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