The Ol’ Ball Coach Finally Stops Voting For Duke

Last year we wrote that many people, including sports editor Jim Welch of USA TODAY, were getting sick of Steve Spurrier automatically voting Duke at No. 25 in the preseason coaches’ poll. Well, apparently “some people” turned into “pretty much everyone,” as THE GREENVILLE NEWS reports that Spurrier finally relented and left the Blue Devils out of this year’s poll.

Steve Spurrier Ric Flair

Spurrier’s reasons for adding Duke to his ballot every year are noble enough: Duke gave him his first college coaching job, after losing his USFL gig when the league folded. But American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff personally asked Spurrier to stop the practice, because he was damaging the “integrity” of the poll.

It’s worth noting that there are many examples in the past of the sterling “integrity” of the coaches’ poll. As pointed out by IN THE BLEACHERS, the final 2007 poll alone includes such doozies as:

  • Hal Mumme voting Hawaii No. 1; on the opposite side, Dennis Franchione had them ranked No. 22
  • Bob Stoops ranking LSU No. 6, and behind three Big 12 teams
  • Four Big Ten coaches (including Ron Zook) were the only ones to rank Illinois in the Top 10, helping pave the way for their Rose Bowl berth and drubbing by USC
  • Bobby Bowden had Oklahoma ranked No. 10 - even after they won the Big 12 Championship Game

And so on and so on. And let’s not even get into such things as Joe Paterno having an assistant fill his ballot out because he’s too busy, or the “retirement gift” national title given to Tom Osborne. But, yeah, one coach giving one vote to Duke for one week is really killing the “integrity” of the coaches’ poll.