Exhibit A: The American Football Coaches Association announced Wednesday that the final coaches' poll of the season will be confidential starting in 2010.
My response: AAAAAAARRRRGHGHGHGHHH.
It was a step in the right direction four years ago when final ballots were made public, as the danger of coaches being publicly outed as biased idiots injected some badly needed credibility into the poll. The fact that the coaches' poll is included in the BCS is ridiculous to begin with, of course. It's inherently biased even if ballots are published, and it's been widely documented (and flat-out admitted on numerous occasions) that most coaches aren't able to see a whole lot of other teams' games. The media poll might have had its flaws, but at least it was put together by people who had seen a lot of different teams -- and it was fair. How do I know it was fair? Most media members publish their ballots, and if they don't, The Associated Press does it for them. There's nothing hidden.
The entire point of the AFCA's decision to publicize the final ballot in 2005 was to make sure coaches weren't vastly overrating their own teams or opponents (or underrating a competitor) in order to skew the results. This is a good thing, right? So what's the point of going back?
This move has been ripped everywhere -- do a Google search and you can read for days about the absurdity of confidential ballots -- but I think Pat Forde at ESPN says it best:
In a sham system already sagging under suspicions of bias and criticisms of inherent unfairness, this provides one more reason to doubt the BCS.When EVERY voter has an agenda, nothing good can come from confidential ballots. I already had a hard time believing that a lot of coaches were voting fairly, but when there's not a single thing stopping them from distorting their ballots as much as necessary to benefit their team or their conference, how can I have any confidence that the results are fair and meaningful? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Like so many other decisions in the BCS era, this is nothing but a slap in the face to fans from the coaches who don't want to answer questions or worry about being publicly embarrassed.