Earlier this season, USC head coach Lane Kiffin fell into a bit of controversy (hard to believe, I know) when he proudly proclaimed to the world that he would not vote USC No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Kiffin then looked like an knucklehead (hard to believe, I know) when it was revelaed he did indeed vote USC No. 1 in the coaches poll.
Now, with those votes actually meaning something as we approach the end of the season, we have a coach who is at least sincere and honest with the fact that he votes his team No. 1. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gave his Fighting Irish the top slot in his vote this week.
A coach of an undefeated program voting his team No. 1 wouldn't normally be news, except it just so happens that Kelly's vote was Notre Dame's only first place vote in the poll. Via USA Today...
"Notre Dame's only No. 1 vote in the USA TODAY coaches poll came from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, he revealed Sunday on his teleconference.
"We've played a tough schedule," Kelly said, one day after a 21-6 victory at Boston College to improve to 10-0. "Obviously wins on the road against Oklahoma, Michigan State and certainly showing how to beat a top team in Stanford. Those wins are big wins for us. We're tested, and I like the way our quarterback is developing and we're getting better and better each week.""
Does Kelly have an argument that his team should be No. 1 in the country? Of course. Notre Dame hasn't been the most impressive in some of their victories, but they've won at Oklahoma and at Michigan State. They have one of the best defenses in the country.
On the other hand, does it look suspicious that Notre Dame's head coach is the only vote for Notre Dame to be No. 1? Absolutely. Did you see the Pitt game? Notre Dame has a case, but certainly not as strong of a case as Oregon and Kansas State at the moment. They're on the outside looking in, which is why every voter except for Brian Kelly and Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel in the coaches and AP polls chose not to vote Notre Dame No. 1.
Is it ludicrous that the coaches of the programs involved in the national championship discussion have a tangible say in the process of deciding the BCS Championship Game participants? You bet. The bottom line isn't who Kelly voted for, it's that he has a vote at all.
All the same coaches vote the whole year. It is actually ludicrous to not count the votes of any coach that has a team in the national title discussion. Nick Saban's vote should not count either? Neither should Mark Richt's nor any other vote from a top ten team? How is LSU -with 2 losses, a 12-10 victory at Auburn (which Georgia just destroyed), and a schedule that had some smaller college programs- still be given such a high ranking and credibility? Because that is human polling. Maybe the computers are right, and the human psychology and biases are evident in all the human polls. Humans don't want to admit it. If USC played the ND schedule this year and were undefeated with the same game scores, humans will easily put them #1; but, not ND for illogical reasons. The human polls need to inject a large dose of rationality to make them more credible. Let's hope for that positive direction instead of criticizing Brian Kelly, who is probably correct anyway.