As you’ve probably read elsewhere, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel refrained from voting in the final coaches poll of the regular season rather than bear any influence on the Buckeyes’ January 8 opponent in the National Championship. For the Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls, this was a “pretty cowardly move by an otherwise classy coach who is the best coach in college football not named Pete Carroll.”
Several Big 12 coaches dismissed Tressel’s act of cowardice, saying they understood because it put him in such an awkward situation. If it’s that awkward, he shouldn’t have agreed to vote.
Mack Brown even said he asked if he could split his vote between Florida and Michigan.
“I asked if I could vote two No. 2 teams,” the Texas coach said Monday.
Nebraska’s Bill Callahan went even further.
“I don’t blame him,” he said of Tressel’s decision. “He’s in a lose-lose situation in my opinion. My feeling is they shouldn’t disclose it.”
Sure, Bill, a closed-door situation is much better. Those smoke-filled rooms at midseason are one of the reasons the old bowl entanglements were killed in the first place.
What’s wrong with some good ole-fashioned visibility and accountability for a sport with so much interest in it and so much riding on it.
Texas A&M’s Dennis Franchione said he understood Tressel’s logic, with this caveat: “Coaches are given the responsibility to vote prior to the season,” Fran said, “and they should accept it very seriously and do their due diligence. We need to understand the responsibility we were given, and we should fulfill our end.”
We hear you, Fran. Nor was Texas Tech’s Mike Leach feeling Tressel’s anguish, calling his move “sanctimonious.”
“That will get me in trouble with Jim Tressel, which I guess I can live with,” said Leach, the most candid coach in America. “But you guys (media) like to beat your chest and think you have some level of sanctity like without you guys, the whole ship would go down. You guys have an agenda.”
You’re right, Mike. Like a legitimate national championship earned on the field. For his part, Leach is pushing a big playoff format, like a 64-team tournament involving the 32 bowls, “not a squirrelly little one extra-game system, which is a joke.”
Maybe we should get rid of all the bowls and all the computers and just put Mike Leach in charge. At least, we know he wouldn’t abstain.