NEW YORK – The Bowl Championship Series has a new poll, one that begins a month into the college football season and will include former coaches and players, plus media members.
Called the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, it will rank the top 25 teams on a weekly basis, starting Sept. 25. Plans call for 114 voters.
The BCS has said it would like to see the elimination of preseason polls, which some believe give highly touted teams an unfair headstart in the rankings.
“This allows for some games to be played in the current season rather than allow teams to be ranked purely on preseason expectations,” BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said Monday during a conference call.
The season’s first BCS standings will be released Oct. 17.
The new poll replaces the Associated Press poll, which the BCS had used in its formula for ranking teams since 1998. Last season, however, the AP told the BCS it could no longer use its media poll.
In addition to the new poll, the BCS will continue to use the USA Today coaches’ poll and a compilation of six computer rankings – each counting for one-third of a team’s grade. The coaches will continue with a preseason ballot.
Recently, ESPN pulled out of participating in the coaches poll.
The coaches agreed to have their final ballots made public for the first time this season. The new Harris poll will take the same approach, releasing only the final ballots.
“We thought it was important for there to be consistency with the two human polls,” Weiberg said. “To make the ballots public on a weekly basis during the season, we feel the focus would be on who voted for whom and detract from the games being playing.”
Weiberg said voters in the new poll will be allowed to make their votes public at any point in the season if they choose.
The AP preseason poll will be released Aug. 20, with the first regular-season poll Sept. 6. The AP national champion will be crowned after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4. Ballots of AP poll voters are made public all season.
Last season, Southern California and Oklahoma held the top two spots in both the AP and coaches’ polls in the preseason and kept those positions throughout undefeated regular seasons.
Auburn, which began the season ranked in the teens in the polls, went unbeaten but never could pass the Trojans and Sooners. The Tigers did manage to tie Oklahoma in the AP poll for one week late in the season. USC and Oklahoma were paired in the BCS championship game and the Trojans won handily.
Harris Interactive Inc., a marketing company hired by the BCS last month to coordinate the new poll, is in the process of compiling a panel from 300 possible participants.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.