So full disclosure, I've been a gigantic slacker on these "breaking down the polls" posts. My apologies. However as fun as it was to analyze the AP Poll in the end (as Bob would say) it really didn't mean much at least in terms of BCS implications. Sure it was fun to make fun of the idiotic AP writer who would rank, oh I don't know a school like Texas after consecutive losses to unranked teams. But one of the more interesting aspects of the whole polling system is the final week when the coach's lift that veil of secrecy and release their ballots to the public. We've seen in years past some serious grudges play out in voting results (I'm talking to you Bobby Bowden. I've got your da'gum right here!), so it's always fun to see the agenda of these coaches finally come out.
So let's get right into it.
OU was ranked as high as #5 (Jim Harbaugh) and as low as #12 (multiple, we'll get into who in a minute). Keep in mind OU's final BCS ranking was #7 and AP was #9, just as a frame of reference. So like I said, no coach had OU higher than Jim Harbaugh who was apparently trying to do his part to boost OU's ranking should he have been matched up with our Sooners. Alas as our boy CC predicted that was not to be, but still nice of Jim to have us so high on his ballot. Harbaugh gave tOSU (#7, nice Wolverine alum) and Wisconsin (#8) their lowest rankings in the poll. He also had Okie State at #11, which was their highest ranking by any coach.
Okay, now onto the three coaches who had OU down at #12 and I'll save the best for last. First up, Al Golden who is the coach at Temple. He had OU behind Arkie (#7), Boise (#8), Mich. St. (#9), LSU (#10), and Va Tech (#11), all teams behind OU in the final BCS rankings. He also had OU just one spot ahead of #13 Nebraska.
The 2nd coach who had OU at #12 was Steve Fairchild head coach at Colorado State. Like Golden, Fairchild had most of the same teams above OU with one major exception. Coach Fairchild is evidently of the opinion that Nevada is a better football team than OU as he had them ranked two spots above OU at #10.
And that brings us to the 3rd offender, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen. Petersen's ballot was nearly identical to Fairchild's except he saw fit to shamelessly attempt to help his own cause by putting Nevada #9. Surprisingly, he was gracious enough to rank his own squad #10 behind Nevada and again two spots ahead of OU.
OU's most common ranking was #8 (certainly fair) and here's a quick rundown of some names you'll recognize and where they slotted OU. Conference foes Paul Rhoads, Art Briles, and Bo Pelini had OU #5, #7, & #7 respectively. Former OU
lushcoach Howard Schnellenberger actually had OU #7 as well. Brian Kelly, Gary Pinkel, Kevin Sumlin, Mike Sherman, Mike Stoops, Steve Spurrier, and Urban CrierMeyer all had OU at #8. Jim Tressel, Jimbo Fisher, and Nick Saban had OU at #9.
Some other interesting tidbits:
- Only Oregon (34), Auburn (24), and TCU (1) got first place votes. TCU's lone first place vote was from Robb Akey, head coach at Idaho.
- Alabama was ranked as high as #12 (Dan Mullen) and as low as #23 (Mike Locksley, New Mexico).
- OU Fiesta Bowl opponent UCONN did collect 27 votes and was ranked as high as #23 (Mark Richt).
- Nebraska was ranked as high as #8 (Bo Pelini. Oh, Bo you sell-out) and as low as #21 (Mike Locksley).
- Oklahoma State was ranked as high as #11 and as low as #18.