Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not voting defies system

I've given the issue three days, and it seems that any outrage over this situation had all but died down. That's disappointing.

Three days ago, it was reported that Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel did not cast a vote in the final polls of the season, a vote that helped to determine Ohio State's opponent in the BCS Championship Game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

Tressel just opened Pandora's Box. It's only a matter of time before everything escapes from it.

I understand Tressel's argument that he "didn't think it was appropriate for us to participate in something like that."

Yes, I'm sure Tressel did in fact feel somewhat uneasy about helping to choose: Michigan or Florida. But that's the problem. At what level does this end?

What if USC Head Coach Pete Carroll, sick from Saturday's surprising loss, decided that because the Trojans didn't have a chance to be in the BCS Championship Game, he didn't feel like voting. So then that's two less votes (which, by the way, is all it would take to swing a decision from a one-ballot loss to a one-ballot win).

What about Arkansas's head coach Houston Nutt? He knew USC lost to UCLA during the SEC Championship game versus Florida. He would know that his team would then have the ability to leapfrog the Trojans with a win, thus ending the season with one loss compared to USC's two.

If Arkansas had won the SEC title game, they deserved a shot to be in the title game. Their only loss would have been to a conference champion that finished No. 7 in the BCS. But they lost to Florida, 38-28, so Nutt didn't have a chance to vote for his team as second-best in the nation. Knowing that, what he decided, "Well, it's really not up to me."

That's three votes less now.

I could go on and on. As that's the point. As unlikely as it may be for someone to look at the situation and say, "that wouldn't happen," the point is it could.

And if it does, then the entire system - flawed as it may be - becomes even worse. Coaches agree to vote, and agree that their coaches poll may be used in the BCS to determine who plays for the BCS Championship.

If Jim Tressel doesn't respect the system enough to cast a ballot in the most important vote of the season, then he doesn't deserve one at all. Period.

Tressel should not have a vote in the coaches poll next season. Unlike American elections where voting is a constitutional right, in the BCS it's a privilege, and Jim Tressel just lost it.

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