A few weeks ago, Gary Parrish brought his vicious Poll Attack! guns to bear on The Patriot-News' Dave Jones. Before The Wisconsin Badgers beat then-#1 Ohio State in Madison, Mr. Jones chose Temple and Cincinnati over Wisconsin in his AP Top-25 ballot. Hahaha, scandalous!
In the column defending his ballot, Dave Jones said something I thought was incorrect (emphasis mine):
Anyway, love Sconsin folks. Love your passion for the game. Love Madison. My favorite venue in the Big Ten. Maybe I'll be proven wrong about your team in due time. That's what the games are for. And why polls are just for fun.
Maybe the AP beat writers and national columnists -- and the
coaches assistant coaches equipment managers and secretaries filling out the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches' Poll -- are just having fun. But their fun decisions are fueling ESPN's, ABC's and CBS's decisions to broadcast ranked teams in prime-time or highly-marketable spots.
An ESPN Press Release from Feb. 26th announced proudly'a> that, "six of the top nine teams in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll" will be playing in this week's scheduled broadcasting. CBS just hosted a Saturday & Sunday slate of games that featured nine of the AP Top 25. As of Feburary 27th twenty-five of the 29 games broadcast on CBS featured at least one team that was at that time ranked in the AP Top 25.
The top-25 rankings help draw viewers to the broadcasts. Yet the local beat writers and columnists and the companies that employ them do not directly benefit from helping ESPN, ABC and CBS.
Oh. I guess the polls are just for fun.