by Ryan Isley
Any media member who has a vote for a postseason award or rankings in any sport should consider it a privilege to have said vote. Just like any privilege, those who abuse their right to vote should be stripped of that honor.
I wrote towards the end of the baseball season that any voter who didn’t vote Justin Verlander as the American League Cy Young winner should lose their right to vote. Thankfully, all of the voters had enough common sense to see that Verlander was the obvious choice and he won a unanimous vote.
Just a couple of week ago, Matt Kline also made this case for voters in the Baseball Hall of Fame as it pertains to certain players once they are eligible for election.
The latest to come under fire for misuse of a vote are a few members of the media who have a vote in the Associated Press college football poll.
As you all know, Alabama dominated LSU 21-0 on Monday night to win the BCS national championship and therefore they were automatically named the national champions by the USA Today Coaches poll. The AP poll, however, is not tied into the BCS and can name whatever team they want as their national champion.
Along these lines, five of the voters in the AP poll dissented from naming Alabama as the national champion. Four ranked Oklahoma State No.1 while one man – Erik Gee of KNML-AM in New Mexico – still voted LSU as the top team in the country despite what happened on the field of the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Monday night.
The votes for Oklahoma State can be understood to a point.
There are still people who believed that the Cowboys should have been in the national championship game and that their win over No.4 Stanford in the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl validated their right to have a chance for the national championship. Whether this belief is right or wrong, some people were going to vote for Oklahoma State if Alabama won and therefore no undefeated teams were left. The case for Oklahoma State can be made and although it was not loud enough, could be looked at as valid since Oklahoma State never got their shot against Alabama or LSU.
The case for LSU is another story in and of itself.
Alabama and LSU played each other twice – with each team winning one game. Or should I say Alabama won one game and lost one game because to say LSU beat Alabama in November would be a misrepresentation of how that game actually went.
In the first game between the two in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, LSU came away with a 9-6 victory in overtime but Alabama did everything but win the game. Anyone who watched the game knows that Alabama did more to give the game away than LSU did to take it from them. When the two teams met again on Monday, it was more of the same but Alabama was able to take advantage of their play and put points on the board while LSU struggled to move the ball, let alone score any points. In fact, LSU didn’t even get the ball into Alabama territory until almost halfway through the fourth quarter.
While LSU may have had the best regular season resume of any team in the country as they went 12-0 and beat seven ranked teams and then beat another ranked team in the SEC championship game when they beat Georgia, what happened Monday night against Alabama makes it confusing to see how anyone could still vote them No.1 over their SEC rivals – especially considering the completeness of the beating the Tide laid on the Tigers Monday night in Louisiana.
The problem is that before the game even started, Gee said he was going to vote LSU No.1 no matter what happened in the game and he stuck to it. While he said that he had to think about it and stared at his computer for 10 minutes before typing No.1 LSU and No.2 Alabama, the one thing it seems he did not watch was the game.
While 21-0 sounds like a thorough whipping, the stats were even more convincing for Alabama. Alabama held the advantage in total yards at 384-92 and had 21 first downs to LSU’s five. LSU became the first team to ever be shut out in a BCS bowl game. Basically LSU won a three-point game in Alabama in which Alabama missed four field goals, including one in overtime while Alabama won a game 21-0 in Louisiana in which the score really doesn’t indicate how bad the game really was.
Anyone who watched the same national championship game that we all watched and thought that Alabama still didn’t do enough to warrant being ranked above LSU obviously either has an agenda or has no idea what he or she is watching.
In either case, that person no longer deserves a vote in this poll. It is a privilege that they did not take seriously enough and now they must face repercussions for it. There are other writers and media members around the country who would take the honor seriously and would not use it to promote anything other than who really should be ranked as the top team in the country.
Now it is up to the Associated Press to determine just how much of a privilege it is to have a vote in their poll.