Saturday, January 08, 2005

Justice is served, kinda

The Auburn football team's 13-0 season went unrewarded by the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls, but the Tigers are getting national title attention from a few other places.

Auburn won the Peoples National Championship, determined by an online poll of tens of thousands of football fans over the last month. ESPN analyst Jim Donnan will present the trophy on the Plains later this month. Since the poll organizer was a high school student from Opelika, the results were almost certainly laden with regional bias, but a championship trophy is still a championship trophy. Besides, who's to say that the opinion of thousands of fans counts for less than that of 61 coaches or 65 writers?

To vouch at least in part for the online poll's fairness, I'll note that I voted in it once and tried to do so again, only to be told that I had already voted. I still got the same response after cleaning out my Internet Explorer cache and deleting the cookies. Double voting might have been possible if people used a different computer each time, but overall, the poll looked to be legit.

The Tigers also earned the top spot in five computer polls, including one that claims to be modeled on the RPI ratings that guide the NCAA selection committee's at-large picks for the men's basketball tournament. I still haven't found a poll that named undefeated Utah as national champion, but I'll let you know if I do.

It's disappointing that neither coaches nor sportswriters saw fit to give a 13-0 SEC champion a piece of the national title. Still, I'm glad that a few polls are trying to make up for the shortcomings of both the big-time pollsters and the Bowl Championship Series.

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