Pac-10 commissioner wants coaches' votes public

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - California coach Jeff Tedford and the commissioner of the Pac-10 Conference called for coaches to make their votes public after California was dropped below No. 6 by six voters in the final poll.

''It's something we need to know,'' said Tedford, who signed a five-year contract extension Monday. ''One of the worst things that could happen is the votes being kept secret. If we had it to do all over again, I would hope that we'd make them public.''

Cal (10-1) slipped behind Texas in the final Bowl Championship Series standings on Sunday, in part because the Bears lost so much ground in both The Associated Press and coaches polls over the last few weeks.

The BCS drop caused Cal to miss out on the school's first Rose Bowl in 45 years. The Golden Bears are bound for San Diego and the Holiday Bowl instead.

The American Football Coaches Association conducts the balloting for the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The coaches voted twice this year to keep their ballots secret.

''Those votes should be called out,'' Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said in a phone interview. ''We ought to know who did that, because that's wrong.''

In the AP and coaches poll, Cal finished fourth. In the coaches poll, the Bears were five points ahead of No. 5 Texas, which will play Michigan in Pasadena on New Year's Day. The Bears were 62 points ahead of No. 6 Texas in the AP poll.

Six coaches picked the Bears seventh or lower in the final poll: four at No. 7 and two in the eighth slot. In the previous week's poll, nobody picked Cal lower than sixth. The latest vote came after Cal's 26-16 win at Southern Mississippi on Saturday night.

The Associated Press made public its poll Sunday, listing each voter's name, news organization and votes for Nos. 1-25.

None of the AP media voters had Cal ranked lower than sixth. Eight had the Bears sixth, and in each case they were behind some combination of Southern California, Oklahoma, Auburn, Texas and Utah.

''I certainly have a question of some of them,'' Hansen said of the coaches' votes. ''Something pretty unusual happened between last week and this week. I'd like to have the Cal football team be able to know which coaches thought they weren't in the top six teams.''

AFCA president Grant Teaff said the ballots from the final coaches poll will not be released. He said he didn't believe there was anything suspicious about the final voting.

''We do very good due diligence to run a credible poll,'' he said. ''I understand their obvious concerns. I'm not oblivious to that.''

The AFCA asked its 117 Division I-A members in February if it wanted to make the votes public and they overwhelmingly voted against it.

The 61 coaches participating this season were asked again about a month ago if they would be willing to have the final ballot made public, and it was voted down again.

''That's the way we're playing the game and we're not going to change the way we play it in the middle of the game,'' Teaff said.

Teaff said making the ballots open will be discussed again in January.

Hansen insisted the conference is thrilled for No. 1 Southern California, which will play for the national championship against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

''That's a wonderful thing, and the California situation isn't,'' said Hansen, who has attended several BCS and Rose Bowl meetings in the past year. ''The structure of the poll is a concern, and the BCS commissioners have discussed that.''

This will be the third time in four years the Rose Bowl won't have the traditional matchup between Big Ten and Pac-10, ''and that's a great concern to the Rose Bowl,'' Hansen said.

Hansen sat with Rose Bowl representatives during Cal's 41-6 victory over rival Stanford in the Big Game on Nov. 20 - and at that time most people figured the Bears would be playing in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

''It's happened to different institutions, not just to the Pac-10, but we've had more than our share,'' he said. ''The voting pattern is disturbing and I hope we find out who did that.''


AP Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed to this story.

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