From the Bird’s Nest: I guess I’ll Watch Football Differently, Now
The call came just before 2:30 yesterday afternoon.
"Hi, Jay, this is Eric Stone at Harris Interactive."
Eric went on to say that my name had been placed in nomination to be a voter in the Harris Interactive Poll, one of the two college football polls the BCS uses in their formula to choose the top two teams to play for the BCS championship.
Now, I knew that I had been nominated. In fact, the nomination had been put in around four years ago. They had never called and I had forgotten about it. Although, as they say in the Academy, "it's an honor just to be nominated."
Well, we were past the nomination stage. Eric wanted to know if I'd be a voter.
Now, it's not the first time a local media person has voted in a college football poll. Bruce Brown of The Advertiser has been a voter in the past. Ditto Dan McDonald. And, more recently, Josh Parrott has been a voter as well, all in the Associated Press Poll.
But, since the AP dropped out, the only media members who have had a voice, have it in the Harris poll. The panel is made up mostly of former coaches, players and administrators. They make up about 70 percent of the 115-voter panel. The other 30% are media members. The USA Today poll has 59 voters, all current coaches.
That means if you don't like rankings, don't blame the media. We're a pretty small group.
The Harris Poll doesn't have a preseason poll. The first vote isn't until October. That gives the panel plenty of time to watch games, see the teams (that's called the "eye" test) and make determinations before the first poll comes out. The poll has, in the past, looked similar to the USA poll, but there have also been some decided differences as well.
Eric explained how the voting process works. Each week after the Saturday games are played, there's a place online to do the voting. Twenty five teams each week. Have it in by noon Sunday.
But we know it isn't simple.
I've always believed that voting in a poll was much more complicated than "well, they lost so they move down." Who you played and how you play them are two other criteria that must be taken into consideration. And, I told Eric, that's how I plan to vote. I gave him scenarios where I could move a team up a notch or two even though they lost and scenarios where I could move a team down even though they won.
It wouldn't necessarily happen a lot. But it'll happen. Eric said he understood and agreed.
So, it's going to mean watching as much college football as I can. I won't be able to see a ton when the Cajuns play at night, but when they play during the day, it will make it easier, especially with a DVR.
But I'll be watching football for more than entertainment now. And, when I can't watch, I'll be doing a lot of reading, not only to find out the scores, but how the teams played.
The final votes are made public for transparency sake, just as they are in the USA Today poll. We, as voters, have the option of making our vote public each week. I haven't decided whether I'll do that or not, but I will write weekly about things that influenced my vote that particular week.
This will be a lot of fun. But it's also a responsibility. I may be one of just 115, but, for the first time, my opinion actually matters. And trust me, I'll have my homework done.
(Miss Bachman, my algebra teacher in high school is laughing in heaven right now. You? Do homework?) Yes, ma'am. I do now.
My co-workers were impressed, although I haven't yet been invited to be a guest on the Polyester Power Hour.
And, I don't think you'll hear Mr. Bitter say "hemadeit, hemadeit, hemadeit, hemadeit" on his show.
But hey, it's only the first year, right?