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Some votes are worth more than others


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From The Birmingham News

Some votes are worth more than others

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pat Dye doesn't like to brag, but he is awfully proud of the Master Coaches Survey.

"You should write an article about it," the living Auburn legend said.

Hey, you get elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, you have a right to make suggestions.

Not to be confused with the USA Today, Harris or AP polls, the Master Coaches Survey - now heading into its second season - compiles the votes of 17 retired field generals to rank the top 25 college football teams each week.

Hey, if Gene Bartow can have a vote in the Harris Poll, why not Gene Stallings in the MCS?

"There's not another poll in the country," Dye said, "that's got the detailed knowledge that we've got as far as knowing the best teams in the country."

Translation: They know their stuff.

No other poll voters in the country watch game film each week for the express purpose of trying to figure out the best teams in the country.

Tommy Tuberville has to rank Texas in the USA Today poll, but he's not watching film of the Longhorns because he doesn't have to play them. At least not before Jan. 8.

No other poll voters hold a weekly conference call to share their expertise about teams in their specific regions of the country.

"We have a great time," Dye said. ``It's a shame they can't open it up to the public. It would be a best-seller.

``But there are too many private conversations going on."

No other poll includes 11 voters who themselves have been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The master coaches aren't content just to watch film, gossip and cash a nice check for the effort. They want their poll to matter. They want it to become part of the BCS rankings.

Toward that end, Dye and Andy Curtin, the Master Coaches Survey's executive director, visited SEC commissioner and BCS coordinator Mike Slive back in June.

Slive and Curtin are old friends, and the commish recognizes the expertise of old coaches like Dye, Stallings and Vince Dooley.

The BCS formula is unchanged this season. It'll use the USA Today and Harris polls and six computer rankings to figure out the two teams that'll play in the BCS championship game.

The BCS announced Thursday that it's signed a four-year extension with the people who run the Harris Poll to include it in the BCS formula through the 2010 season.

Slive said that agreement "doesn't preclude" the BCS from possibly adding the Master Coaches Survey to the mix in the interim.

"We'll watch it very carefully," Slive said.

The Harris Poll, dogged by controversy about its initial voter list last season, is expected to release the names of this year's 114 pollsters in the next week. Bartow doesn't expect to be included.

"My guess is my term is up," he said. "They may have cut the basketball coaches from voting in a football poll."

Good idea. Almost as good as giving votes that matter to real experts like Dye and Stallings. In this case, voting should be a privilege, not a right.

Kevin Scarbinsky's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Write him at kscarbinsky@bhamnews.com.


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