Harris Vandal-izing credible polls

first_img How else to describe the fact that Idaho, which is 0-4, received five votes in the Harris Poll? Idaho isn’t merely 0-4, it’s the only team Washington and Hawaii have defeated this season and is one of the 10 worst teams in the country. The Harris Poll made its unimpressive debut this week. Actually, it’s called the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, although we’re not quite sure what’s interactive about it unless you have a vote. And if you have a vote, there’s some explaining to do. The poll, created after the Associated Press withdrew its top-25 poll from the Bowl Championship Series formula, offered one of the worst examples of voting in its debut. There also is an unseemly bit of self-promotion in the Harris Poll’s introduction. Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Brentson Buckner, the only active NFL player with a vote, scheduled a live chat on the Internet to discuss his picks. It’s doubtful the BCS wanted such a sideshow associated with its new poll. U-S-Who? South Florida’s 45-14 upset of Louisville put “USF” on the map just eight years after the school started playing football. The rapidly improving Bulls became a Division I-A team in 2001, joined Conference USA in 2003 and entered the Big East this season. South Florida’s success likely will help overcome two major image problems. It is not located in South Florida – it’s in Tampa. And one of its best-known graduates is the comedian Gallagher, who makes jokes about his alma mater and refers to it as Drive-Thru U, poking fun of it commuter-school reputation. One of his classic lines: “Can I get a hamburger, fries, coke … and a communications degree, please?” Win big or don’t win at all: Alabama coach Mike Shula is 0-9 in games decided by seven points or less. All 14 of his victories are by at least 10 points. He is 14-15 overall. Player of the Week: South Florida linebacker Ben Moffitt made 14 tackles, two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Bulls’ upset of Louisville. NFL attack: Nebraska is 3-0, but coach Bill Callahan’s West Coast offense continues to struggle. The Huskers are 107th nationally with an average of 271.3 yards per game. Patience with Pitt? Coach Dave Wannstedt’s 1-3 start already has him looking at recruiting to mollify fans’ uneasiness. The Panthers have 17 oral commitments for next season and have secured nearly every top senior in Western Pennsylvania. Wannstedt predicts Pitt’s recruiting class is “going to be a top-10, possibly better, class in the entire country.” Unlikely appearance: Former Taft High of Woodland Hills quarterback Rick Clausen didn’t expect to play in Monday’s overtime victory against LSU. He strolled out to midfield for the coin toss wearing a backward cap, expecting to watch starter Erik Ainge. When Ainge struggled, Clausen came in and overcame a 21-0 halftime deficit to lead the Volunteers to a 30-27 victory. Clausen, who started his career at LSU, didn’t sound too thrilled about the victory. “Tiger Stadium is a great atmosphere, but to be honest, I didn’t even want to be here,” Clausen said. “I didn’t agree with the decision (to bench Ainge), but those 70 other guys in there picked me up. God works in mysterious ways.” Scott Wolf’s college football column appears Thursdays in the Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS Team, Last Week 1. USC (3-0) 1 Maybe Leinart will find ball moist in desert. 2. Texas (3-0) 2 Defense allowed two touchdowns all year. 3. LSU (1-1) 3 So much for that big coming home party. 4. Virginia Tech (4-0) 4 Special teams, defense scored 3 TDs. 5. Florida (4-0) 5 Meyer has led at the end of 43 straight quarters. 6. Florida State (3-0) 6 Noles’ running game is nonexistent. 7. Georgia (4-0) 7 Week off to watch Tennessee twice in one week. 8. Tennessee (2-1) 8 Clausen wins job … again. 9. Ohio State (3-1) 9 Held Iowa to minus-9 yards rushing. 10. Miami (2-1) 10 South Florida goes for second stunner. 11. California (4-0) 14 Bears sixth in nation in rushing offense (275.8 ypg). 12. Arizona State (3-1) 15 This is usually where Sun Devils go sour. 13. Michigan State (4-0) 16 Fast forward to Ohio State on Oct. 15. 14. Notre Dame (3-1) 11 Weis survives with eight new defensive starters. 15. UCLA (3-0) 19 Washington gives Bruins second straight week off. 16. West Virginia (4-0) NR Could be short stay in rankings, with Va. Tech ahead. 17. Texas A&M (2-1) 21 Baylor looks to embarrass Aggies for second year. 18. Auburn (3-1) 22 Irons wants revenge against former school (South Carolina). 19. Alabama (4-0) 25 National respect comes by beating Florida. 20. Louisville (2-1) 12 South Florida? Say it again. South Florida? 21. Oregon (3-1) 17 Ducks gave nation hope for one half against USC. 22. Wisconsin (4-0) NR Never underestimate Badgers at home. 23. Fresno State (2-1) 20 The kings of Tuesday night football. 24. Georgia Tech (3-1) 13 QB Ball hurried 16 times by Virginia Tech. 25. Michigan (4-0) 11 Henne’s been all downhill since Rose Bowl. BY THE NUMBERS 114 Weeks Michigan ranked in top 25 until Monday’s AP poll. 6.2 Yards per carry for Minnesota’s Laurence Maroney. 2 Number of Memphis quarterbacks to break a leg. $850,000 Amount Texas Tech paid Florida International, Sam Houston State and Indiana State for home games. THE LIST How instant replay has affected the Big 12 this season: Date, Games, Plays reviewed, Plays overturned, Length of review 9/3 8 7 3 1:45 9/10 8 5 3 1:31 9/17 7 5 2 1:23 9/24 3 4 2 1:43 Totals 26 19 10 1:36 THE RUMOR MILL San Diego State will fire coach Tom Craft if the Aztecs don’t rebound quickly from a 1-3 start. THEY SAID IT “To tell the truth, I did not know a couple of them were still alive.” – Former Arizona coach John Mackovic reviewing the list of fellow Harris Poll voters. BEST BET Mississippi vs. No. 10 Tennessee, 12:30 p.m. The Volunteers are back at it just five days after beating LSU. New Ole Miss coach Ed Oregeron, a former USC assistant, is finding out how tough life is in the SEC after a 1-2 start. – Scott Wolf 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 An aberration perhaps to an otherwise sensible poll? Not quite. Arizona, 1-2 with a lone victory over Northern Arizona, received 10 votes. Syracuse (1-2) received five votes, and Bowling Green (1-2) got three. All four teams outpolled Wyoming (3-1), which had just one vote, and although Toledo was 3-0 at the time of the poll’s release, it received fewer votes than Idaho. Maybe this should be expected from a poll that has Gene Bartow, a successful former basketball coach, among its voters. The Harris Poll was set up to ignore preseason biases and allow teams a better chance to come out of nowhere and make an impact without having to leapfrog the usual suspects. Yet the Harris Poll’s top three teams are identical to the AP’s and coaches’ top three. About the only real difference in the top 10 is at No. 10. Michigan State is 10th in the Harris Poll, 11th in the AP and 12th by the coaches, so it is hardly correcting an injustice. last_img

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