Posted by: marcmwm | May 31, 2009

AFCA announces changes to the coaches’ top 25

I was gone when this e-mail arrived.

Good stuff here on the coaches’ top 25. I don’t like the confidential ballot, but that was obviously coming.

Here’s the release from the American Football Coaches Association:


WACO, TEXAS — The American Football Coaches Association will make several adjustments to the AFCA/USA TODAY Top 25 Coaches’ Poll following a thorough evaluation by Gallup World Poll, one of the world’s most respected polling organizations.

The independent study by Gallup World Poll of the voter selection process, voting procedures and other aspects of the Coaches’ Poll was done as a part of the AFCA Board of Trustees commitment to improve and ensure the efficacy of the poll. The trustees in a unanimous vote accepted Gallup’s recommendations at its recent 2009 summer meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

“The Board was confident in the basic integrity of the poll, and the monitoring system in place by USA TODAY,” says AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff. “However, the trustees wanted to make it even better by reviewing all of the elements and methodology involved. We commend the Gallup Poll organization for its contributions and the professional way they approached this project. It resulted in providing the AFCA with unbiased and objective recommendations related to the way in which the poll is used to determine the nation’s top 25 collegiate football teams.”

Teaff indicated that some of the recommendations are being put in place immediately and one will be delayed for a year, while others will be taken under study.

The recommendations:

• Select voters on a random basis each fall.

• Eliminate a ‘bonus voter’ system based on ranking success of a conference’s teams in the previous year’s poll.

• Adopt the ‘round to even’ methodology for conferences with an odd number of institutions. The number of voters for each conference will continue to begin with 50 percent of the total of member institutions. The ‘round to even’ is the standard method used in many fields, including the business and scientific communities, and recognized by the American National Standards Institute. (Examples: Eleven teams: fifty percent = 5.5, rounded to 6. Nine teams: fifty percent = 4.5, rounded to 4).

• Continue the option of coaches being allowed to vote for their own teams.

• Do not release the individual coach’s ‘final end of the [regular] season’ ballot. Gallup recommended the voting process remain confidential. Historically, until four years ago, the AFCA kept the ballot confidential. (The AFCA does not restrict a coach from releasing his ballot).

The AFCA Board decided to delay the implementation of the confidential ballot for one year, until the 2010 season, to coincide with the current BCS bowl cycle.

Among the Gallup recommendations that will be under study for the future:

• Reduce to 10 or 15 the number of teams ranked.

• Evaluate with other shareholders in college football the value of a preseason poll.

• Develop an online process for capturing coaches’ votes that would assist in improving the accuracy of the rankings and decrease USA TODAY’s review time for each vote.

The head coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision institutions each year (including 2009), by an overwhelming majority, have supported the BCS’ use of the Coaches’ Poll as a part of the selection process for the BCS National Championship game. They continue to support the use of the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy as the national championship trophy.

Teaff says, “The Board acknowledges the role the BCS has played in protecting the bowl system and increasing the visibility and attendance of college football, while creating an on the field champion instead of the historical mythical champion.

“Our FBS coaches and our Board of Trustees understand what’s at stake, and we have kept the BCS and USA TODAY informed about this evaluation process and the recommendations at every step along the way,” Teaff says. “It is important that we make the Coaches’ Poll the best that it can be, and putting in place the recommendations coming out of the Gallup study will help ensure that.”

The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 10,000 members around the world, ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to “maintain the highest possible standards in football and the coaching profession” and to “provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football and coaching.”

For more information on the AFCA and its programs log on to the AFCA’s website at



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