Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Fisher leaves Georgia off ballot, Bielema puts Tech 19th (huh?)


(Updated: 12:15 p.m.)

Think Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher must still be a little angry about defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt leaving Tallahassee for Georgia?

That's the only plausible explanation for Fisher leaving Georgia off his final top-25 ballot in the USA Today coaches' poll.

I've always found it amusing when some fans claim college football coaches can be more objective than sportswriters in polls. While the average college coach certainly can break down film better than the average writer, that doesn't preclude them from bringing biases to the table when they vote.

The coaches' poll is not a part of the new college football playoff system. Its final rankings differed from the official playoff poll with a top six of Alabama-Oregon-Florida State-Baylor-Ohio State-TCU. The Associated Press poll, voted by media members, had a top six of Alabama-Oregon-Florida State-Ohio State-Baylor-TCU, which mirrored the CFB poll.

Here are some noteworthy aspects of the USA Today poll:

• Fisher clearly has a thing about Georgia. He was the only coach to leave the Bulldogs off his top 25. His top six were FSU-Alabama-Oregon-Ohio State-Baylor TCU. He voted Georgia Tech ninth. Among the schools he ranked ahead of the unranked Bulldogs were his final six: Nebraska, Marshall, Northern Illinois, LSU, Boise State and Duke.

• Georgia coach Mark Richt was a little kinder to Fisher on his ballot, ranking the Seminoles third. His top six: Alabama-Oregon-FSU-Ohio State-Baylor-TCU. Richt voted Georgia Tech 11th and Georgia 12th.

• Tech's Paul Johnson voted the Seminoles No. 1, which confirms what he had been saying all along -- that FSU should be considered the best team until it loses. But Johnson had Ohio State out of the playoffs and TCU in at No. 4. His top six: FSU-Alabama-Oregon-TCU-Baylor-Ohio State. Johnson voted his Yellow Jackets ninth and Georgia 15th.

• Arkansas coach Bret Bielema put Georgia Tech only 19th on his ballot -- six spots behind Clemson, whom the Jackets beat 28-6, and nine spots behind Georgia, whom the Jackets also defeated.

• Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson made friends at Baylor with having the Bears fourth, but he ranked Ole Miss 25th. (The Rebels finished No. 9 in the playoff and AP polls and No. 12 in the coaches' poll).

• Baylor coach Art Briles put his own team at No. 3 and TCU at No. 5. He also was the only coach to vote Alabama No. 4.

• TCU coach Gary Patterson put his own team at No. 3 and Baylor at No. 5.

• Ohio State coach Urban Meyer voted Georgia (10th) ahead of Georgia Tech (13th). So do you like him a little more now, Dogs' fans?

• Alabama coach Nick Saban had both Georgia Tech and Georgia in his top 10: Alabama-Oregon-FSU-Ohio State-Baylor-TCU-Michigan State-Mississippi State-Georgia Tech-Georgia.

(UPDATE) Wanted to add one more amusing ballot -- that of Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy. He would have had two -- TWO -- schools from the Big 12 going to playoffs. His rankings: TCU-Alabama-Baylor-Florida State-Oregon-Ohio State. That's right, Oregon out.

If you're interested in seeing all of the final ballots, click here.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.