Les Miles is An Educated Voter, Just Like Every Other Coach

Voting in the USA Today Coaches' Poll is supposed to be done impartially and holistically, which, of course, explains why Steve Spurrier voted for Duke all those years. At a press conference on Monday, LSU head coach Les Miles let slip one of the worst-kept secrets in college sports: That's not how it's done.

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"I can't tell you who the best teams in the country are, because frankly I don't get to see them every week," he said. "I don't know who's hot and who's not. I could no more rank ..."↵

At that point, Miles realized he was about to say he was not qualified in any way to rank the top 25 teams in the nation, even though he supposedly does that every week. Quickly, he tried to reverse his field.

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"I vote. I know that. I know I vote. I know I vote. And I'm excited to vote. I do a great job," he said with his voice rising and his audience laughing.

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"But I have to be very honest, I vote based on record and things that are not significant," he said. "I vote on what appears to be the best and most logical choice. That's all. But when you get to the back end of the season, you will be more pointed, and your rankings will certainly make a difference. And so I have no idea what the seventh ranked team in the country's supposed to play like."

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As the article goes on to point out, it's only very rarely that coaches themselves fill out their ballots. Usually, the task falls to a sports information director, or other member of the football support staff.

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But how is anyone involved in plotting meticulously for one opponent a week, head coach or assistant, supposed to find the time to keep up on the rest of the college football scene?

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It's hard enough for media members to do that, and some of them know how to work this magical thing called the Internet. (Miles does have a presence on Twitter, to his credit.) Almost universally, votes cast by or for coaches will be on "record and things that are not significant," because they simply don't have the time to go deeper.

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This is no big deal, because the Coaches' Poll is only one third of the formula that determines whether teams (or, more accurately, their conferences) will rake in the riches of the BCS bowls or schlep it to a bowl named after a pizza company. Why not leave decisions that could shift the distribution of millions of dollars up to an uneducated base of voters for whom objective, fully-informed reasoning seems like a pipe dream?

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After all, it's about as unfair as ranking teams in a preseason poll on last year's results and this year's question marks, then using that as the basis for the next four months of rankings. And if the current FBS system does anything well, it's iniquity.

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(HT to FanIQ.)

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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