BCS ponders revealing votes

Identifying how coaches cast ballots is being considered.
PHOENIX (AP) -- The issue of transparency -- identifying how members of the coaches poll voted -- loomed large over the first day of the Bowl Championship Series' spring meeting Monday.
BCS coordinator and Big 12 Conference commissioner Kevin Weiberg said voting by coaches has taken on greater importance since The Associated Press pulled its poll out of the standings formula.
Most of Monday's discussions centered around ways to revise the formula, which lost 33 percent of its content with the loss of the writers' poll.
BCS detractors raised integrity issues when the race to determine No. 1 became complicated last year by four BCS teams finishing the regular season unbeaten, including the major-conference triumvirate of Southern California, Oklahoma and Auburn.
Auburn shut out
Under the BCS system, only two could meet in the Orange Bowl, and USC beat Oklahoma for the national title. That did little to appease Auburn supporters, especially after the Tigers had four players chosen in the first round of the NFL draft last weekend.
"Up until last year, I don't think there had been a real focus on integrity issues associated with the standings formula," Weiberg said. "That seems to be a somewhat new element that came into the discussion last year because more weight was placed on the votes cast by individual voters in the system."
Another complication was Texas overtaking California for the eighth BCS spot late in the season.
That forced the Golden Bears, who pushed USC harder than any other opponent, to settle for a non-BCS bowl bid even though the second-place Pac-10 team traditionally plays in the Rose Bowl if the conference champion is in the championship game.
The Sugar, Rose, Orange and Fiesta bowls make up the BCS' top level games.
Zero findings
Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, who runs the coaches poll, said an investigation into the suggestions of impropriety produced nothing.
"Because of the allegations, supposedly, that came out of that, we looked at it and there was zero," he said. "Zilch.
They voted the same way the week before, the same way they voted the week before. Both conferences, there was nothing to it."
Weiberg said a secondary question was how transparency would be applied, if it became BCS policy.
"I've always been a proponent of transparency," Weiberg said. "But I guess I've come to the conclusion that the weekly release of the ballot would be a fiasco. There would be so much focus on asking a guy how he voted that we'd lose complete sight of the games themselves."
Weiberg didn't expect the three-day Phoenix meeting to produce a new ratings formula -- the BCS has a self-imposed deadline of July 15 to finalize that -- but hopes delegates will narrow the options.
They range from the use of a selection committee to another double-poll-and-computer-ratings combination, to a reversion to the original idea of relying on human voting.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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