By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Listening to Kirk Ferentz criticize the Amway Coaches Poll on Thursday reminded me how silly the coaches poll is in the first place.
I’ll let Ferentz explain what I mean.
“The only guys that would be good at evaluating the top 25, who are coaches, are coaches that watch a lot of TV, and I don’t know many of them,” Ferentz said. “Coach Fry used to say show me a guy who can golf and I’ll outcoach him.”
Ferentz was responding to Iowa not being ranked in the final top-25 coaches poll despite ending the season with a 27-22 victory over Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl and with a 9-4 record, and yet the Bulldogs were ranked at No. 25 with an 8-5 record.
Ferentz didn’t help Iowa’s cause by not voting in the final coaches poll, but he is right about head coaches being under-qualified and too distracted and disinterested to vote.
The Associated Press poll is different because the media members who vote take it very seriously and do their research to where there is some credibility with the process.
Iowa was ranked No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll, while Mississippi State wasn't ranked in that poll.
Head coaches often talk about being so consumed with their job that they barely have time to live their life away from football.
Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry used to describe his focus on his job as being like an “old mule with blinders on.”
Some head coaches reportedly delegate the responsibility of voting to a staff member, or so I've been told that for years.
Ferentz doesn’t vote because he believes that he is under-qualified and that it's an unnecessary hassle, and he's right in both cases.
You could say that Ferentz contradicts himself by dismissing the coaches poll, but then takes issue when his team is left out of the rankings.
Iowa also has to take some of the blame for not being ranked for losing four key conference games this season. The coaches poll probably wouldn't have been a hot topic on Thursday if Iowa had won just one of those games because the team almost certainly would have been ranked at 10-3.
I’ve never been a big fan of either poll in both football and men’s basketball, and I pay little attention to them until about two-thirds of the way through a season. Until then, the polls are just a bunch of hype and guess work.
In no way am I saying that my opinion about the coaches poll being a joke is right, it’s just my opinion, and something that Ferentz and I are in agreement about.
I put the coaches poll in the same category as preseason watch lists and pre-game and halftime interviews with head coaches on the field.
They all just seem a little silly.
The watch lists just keep growing, while the interviews sometimes are painful and awkward to watch because most of the coaches, including Ferentz, seem uncomfortable and annoyed with having to do them, and it's easy to see why under the circumstances.
I’ve also never cared about who the officials are for Iowa’s games in football and men's basketball, or understood why some in the media care so much about where ESPN Game Day stages its weekly show during the football season.
I get why fans might be upset that ESPN Game Day hasn't been in Iowa City since 2006, but it should end there with the fans.
But again, that could say more about me than anybody else.