I'm sorry I'm just getting to this now, in the afternoon at the end of the week. But I just saw it and felt compelled to dig into it.
I don't know when the AP started doing this (this week?), but the AP has a URL that links to every Top 25 poll-voter's individual ballot. (People who used to read my Daily Quickie column on ESPN.com know that this is a big deal for me.)
First of all: HUGE kudos to the AP for bringing more transparency to the entirely-too-sketchy poll-voting process.
(It almost makes up for the AP's hypocrisy in huffily withdrawing from the BCS under the rhetoric of "not wanting to make news," while still arrogantly bestowing, on its own, one of two recognized national titles in college football. But that's not making news or anything.)
But second: It offers a glimpse into the individual ballots that was previously very difficult (you had to look up each voter on their own and hope they published their ballot, which some did and some didn't).
What were some of the more surprising examples of the perception of homerism or scratch-your-head judgment? (I don't mean to pick on these specific individuals; these were the ones that just hit me most viscerally.)
Angelique Chengelis (Detroit News), who had
Bob Thomas (Florida Times-Union) and Susan Miller Degnan (Miami Herald), who both had
Jeff Metcalfe (
Scott Rabalais (
Jon Wilner (
(There were a surprising number of voters who had
Sketchy stuff happens at the bottom of the ballot, too:
Ray Fittipaldo (
Bud Withers (Seattle Times): Puts hometown
And a few kudos to the Colbert-Style Heroes:
Mitch Vingle (Charleston WV Gazette), who had West Virginia No. 4, behind
Kevin Pearson (Riverside CA Press-Enterprise), who had the guts to vote West Virginia No. 1 (Maybe he's doing Vingle a favor...)
Scott Wolf (LA Daily News), who also had West Virginia No. 1, but had hometown USC No. 6. (WVA can NOT claim West Coast Bias against them.)
Doug Lesmerises (Cleveland Plain Dealer), who I actually think was a classmate of mine at Northwestern, whose ballot I simply think most closely matches mine.
Here's my problem: Reporters and columnists are entitled to their opinion, but if they are going to insist on flashing regional bias, I think fans should insist that these folks not be given the responsibility – the privilege, actually – of having such sway over a process that is more a national trust of fandom than personal fiefdom of a couple dozen newspaper reporters.
I didn't spend nearly the time on this that I wanted to, and I'm sorry I'm only finding this now – on a Friday afternoon. Maybe next week I can dig into it more (and earlier in the week). Someone with a gift for Excel could really do some damage on the analysis.
Here's your follow-up task: Check out the various ballots using this link and, via the Comments section on this post, add any more examples of questionable bias (or just sloppy or "YOU'RE-an-expert?!" judgment you might see. The AP might have started this to add in a little more accountability; it's on fans to take it to the next step.-- D.S.
OK, so The House Rock Built had a post about this on Monday. Credit where it's due. Great catch, Brian!