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Interesting Bits from the Final Coaches' Poll

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Nick Saban and Les Miles both had Coaches' Poll ballots this year.
Nick Saban and Les Miles both had Coaches' Poll ballots this year.

The Coaches' Poll votes should be open every week, but having them be open the final week is better than nothing. The USA TODAY has all the votes here, and here are a few interesting bits I pulled from them. This is not an exhaustive list of the irregularities and idiosyncrasies, so feel free to post your own observations in the comments.

The six SEC coaches with votes are Gene Chizik, James Franklin, Les Miles, Mark Richt, Nick Saban, and Steve Spurrier.


No one had the Tide lower than No. 3, not even the Big 12 coaches.


The Cowboys are lower than No. 3 on the ballots of six coaches: David Cutcliffe of Duke, Doug Marrone of Syracuse, Gary Pinkel of Missouri, Nick Saban of Alabama, David Shaw of Stanford, and Troy Calhoun of Air Force. All had Stanford in the No. 3 spot, while Calhoun had OSU fifth with Arkansas fourth. The cases of Saban and Shaw could be instances of self promotion, which I'll explore more later.


Miles voted Alabama No. 2 and Oklahoma State No. 3. Apparently he favors the conference over his former employer. Also he voted the Wolverines No. 8, which tied for the highest among all coaches. He's still a Michigan Man, folks.


Oregon is the 11-2 Pac-12 conference champ, with its only league loss coming to AP No. 5 ranked USC. It clobbered Stanford, who otherwise played no one of note. Oregon should really be ahead of Stanford, but its second loss, to unanimous No. 1 LSU, apparently is keeping it below the Cardinal. Which makes no sense.

The only coaches with Oregon correctly above Stanford are Todd Berry of UL-Monroe, Dave Clawson of Bowling Green, Al Golden of Miami (FL), Pat Hill of Fresno State, Doc Holliday of Marshall, Skip Holtz of USF, Mike MacIntyre of SJSU, Bronco Mendenhall of BYU, Tom O’Brien of NCSU, Bo Pelini of Nebraska, Chris Petersen of Boise State, Jeff Quinn of Buffalo, Frank Solich of Ohio, and Ron Zook of Illinois. Shout out to y'all for this, at least.


There was very little disagreement on the Razorbacks' rank. Only two coaches ranked the Hogs more than a spot above their final rank of No. 7: Calhoun and Charlie Strong of Louisville. Only four coaches ranked the Pigs more than a spot lower than No. 7: Holtz, Pete Lembo of Ball State, Mike London of Virginia, and Ken Niumatalolo of Navy.


The Gamecocks, who are No. 9 in the poll, had rankings that were a bit more noisy than Arkansas' rankings were. The only real outliers were Saban (No. 6), MacIntyre (14), and Golden (15).


There was an incredible amount of disagreement on the No. 18 Bulldogs, with their rankings stretching from No. 7 (O'Brien) to No. 23 (Gary Andersen of Utah State, Rob Ianello of Akron, Jeff Tedford of Cal, and Tommy Tuberville of Texas Tech). One coach, Mendenhall, didn't rank UGA at all (thanks jadams4148!). All of the SEC coaches except Richt (No. 18) and Saban (No. 19) had UGA ranked above its final rank. Franklin and Miles provided two of the Bulldogs' five top ten rankings.


Shaw and Saban are covered above. Only two coaches have Louisiana Tech ranked at all (both at No. 25), but one of them is head coach Sonny Dykes. Only two coaches ranked Virginia, but one was head coach London and his (at No. 23) was the higher of the two. Mendenhall has BYU at its highest ranking of No. 22, while only 11 coaches ranked BYU at all. Pinkel has Missouri ranked at No. 25, while only five coaches ranked Mizzou at all.


Miles' vote was noted above. Brett McMurphy of CBS pointed out that one of the two coaches who voted UM at its lowest point of No. 18 was Rocky Long of San Diego State. Current Michigan head coach Brady Hoke left SDSU after last season to take the job in Ann Arbor, and Long was promoted off his staff to head coach. Hard feelings, or an attempt to avoid the appearance of bias that went too far the other way?


The only coach to vote for the Longhorns was David Bailiff of Rice. Hello, regional bias.


The SEC coach who voted the Broncos the highest was Richt, who played them all the way back in Week 1. He had them at No. 5, while Chizik had them at No. 6. The rest had Boise well below its final rank of No. 6. Miles had them at No. 9, while Franklin, Saban, and Spurrier had them at No. 11.


Only nine coaches voted for NIU at all. Four of them were MAC coaches (Tim Beckman of Toledo, Ianello, Quinn, and Solich). Two more were from other non-AQ conferences (Hill and Larry Porter of Memphis), and another was the nearby Bret Bielema of Wisconsin. The only out-of-region, AQ conference coaches to include these Huskies were Jon Embree of Colorado and Miles.


Only four coaches voted for the Red Wolves: Andersen, Art Briles of Baylor, Mark Hudspeth of UL-Lafayette, and Dan McCarney of North Texas. All but Briles are non-AQ coaches, and Hudspeth and McCarney are from ASU's Sun Belt Conference.


Only two coaches voted for LA Tech at all: Andersen (who is quite the non-AQ champion) and its own head coach Dykes.