Dooley Noted: A look back at the season

Lazy voting leads to lackadaisical rankings for the Gators — that's the problem with polls


Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is sacked during the first half of the Florida Gators' 33-23 loss against the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 2:19 p.m.

Lazy voting leads to lackadaisical rankings for the Gators — that's the problem with polls

By Pat Dooley

When I first looked at the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls, I was surprised to see Florida football ranked No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. Because I had fallen victim to what many of the voters are guilty of — short-term memory.

The taste of Florida's collapse against Louisville was still lingering in my mouth the way it was in the voters'. We all know that the coaches rarely vote in the coaches' poll, and that is usually handled by the sports information directors, so I'll blame them, along with the writers who vote in the AP poll.

It's lazy voting.

It usually is. And it's one of the major flaws with college football.

The perfect evidence of lazy voting came in the coaches' poll, where Florida State was placed at No. 8 and Florida at No. 10. Because Florida played poorly in its bowl game and FSU stumbled to a victory over an overmatched Northern Illinois team, FSU went ahead of Florida.

Say what?

Did these two teams not play in front of a rabid Seminole crowd more than a month before the poll was released? Did I miss something here or did Florida not win the game and win it going away in the fourth quarter?

But this is the lazy voting I'm talking about.

Florida had a bad night January 2. No question about it. Some of the seniors didn't show up to play. The coaches didn't have their best game and got away from what they had done all year when they fell behind.

Nobody is going to sit here and say it wasn't an embarrassing night.

But does body of work mean anything anymore?

Florida beat three teams in the top 10.

Florida State beat one.

And, oh, did I mention that Florida beat FSU?

That's not all.

South Carolina was ranked ahead of Florida in both polls. The Gamecocks lost to UF 44-11 in a game that was over at halftime. Ah, but South Carolina won its bowl game in the last seconds.

Texas A&M was also ranked ahead of Florida in both polls. Florida beat the Aggies in College Station.

But that was in the second week of the college football season. Might as well have been in the 1990s.

This lazy voting isn't restricted to the end of the season. It goes on all year and you'll see it again in the preseason polls in August. This team won its bowl game and its starting quarterback is back? Uh, let's slide them in there at No. 7. Forget that their entire offensive line left for the NFL and their secondary is in jail.

The problem is that the new playoff system in 2014, with four teams battling it out for a national title, isn't going to change anything. The plan is to have a selection committee pick the four teams much like the NCAA has a committee that picks the 65 teams for the basketball tournament.

But don't you think the committee is going to use the polls as a guide when they sit down to decide?

I've always been a fan of the polls because I think they are good for building up college football. It's better to have No. 3 LSU at No. 7 Florida than it is to have simply LSU at Florida.

And in the end, does it really matter if Florida is No. 8 or 9 or 10?

Still, maybe it's time we just get rid of the polls altogether. If the voters aren't going to take it seriously, why should we?

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com-Pat_Dooley.

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