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College Football Season

Master Coaches Survey Debuts

by Michael Louis

Sixteen former college coaches, with names virtually anyone would recognize, have gotten themselves into the polling business. The first Master Coaches Survey was released Wednesday.

The survey is not part of the BCS.

The top three teams are the same as the AP, Coaches and Harris surveys - USC, Texas, Virginia Tech.

One glaring difference between this poll and the others is West Virginia's entry at number 24. Former Mountaineers football coach Don Nehlen is one of the coaches on the panel. And while their website, details each coach's ballot, it only does so by number and not name. Seven of the sixteen coaches listed WVU on their ballot, none higher than 20th. West Virginia's highest ranking in the AP, Coaches and Harris Polls was 28th. The Mountaineers are 4-0 after games against Syracuse, 1-AA Wofford, Maryland and East Carolina.

I have no problem with West Virginia being ranked. They are undefeated. After all, a similarly unbeaten Texas Tech - with wins over lightweights FIU, 1-AA Sam Houston State and 1-AA Indiana State - is ranked 17th. The problem is that this poll is absolutely no better than any of the others and it may be worse in the suspicions it automatically creates.

Every coach on the panel had long tenures with a specific program and, hence, maintains strong ties and/or loyalties to that institution. They can give their sincerest best effort to being impartial on their ballot but doubt would always exist.

There are also far too few members to provide equal representation of the schools and conferences.

As an example, UCLA, which is ranked no higher than 18th in the other polls, was voted 14th by the Master Coaches panel. Five former PAC-10 coaches (31% of the group) have a vote - John Cooper (Arizona State), Frank Kush (Arizona State), John Ralston (Stanford), Don James (Washington) and John Robinson (USC).

The Master Coaches Survey has its place as another form of entertainment, but offers nothing of real value.

We did not add this to our Rankings Comparison as it is the only one that was released AFTER Monday night's game between LSU and Tennessee which certainly would alter the other rankings.

The coaches voting in the survey are as follows (the teams they served as head coach are in parenthesis):
John Cooper (Arizona State, Ohio State)
Vince Dooley (Georgia)
Pat Dye (Auburn, Wyoming, East Carolina)
LaVell Edwards (Brigham Young)
Hayden Fry (Iowa, North Texas, SMU)
Don James (Washington, Kent State)
Frank Kush (Arizona State)
Dick MacPherson (Syracuse, Massachusetts)
Bill Mallory (Indiana, Northern Illinois, Colorado, Miami of Ohio)
Don Nehlen (West Virginia)
John Ralston (Stanford, Utah State, San Jose State)
John Robinson (USC, UNLV)
Bo Schembechler (Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Bowling Green)
R. C. Slocum (Texas A&M)
Gene Stallings (Alabama, Texas A&M)
George Welsh (Virginia, Navy)

Also See:
Master Coaches Survey
Rankings Comparison (AP, Coaches, Harris, CCR Top 119)

Michael Louis is a contributing editor to College Football Send your comments and questions to Pre-Game Feedback.


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