Discussion

The most controversial pollsters

Updated: February 16, 2011, 4:21 PM ET
By Ryan McGee

Before we get started, a quick shout-out to a Twitter follower named TarheelMack, who pointed out that over the last two weeks I have called out UNC as one of the top five Should-Be Superpower programs and have Butch Davis as my number one hot seat head coach.

"You're one of those hoity toity Tar Heel haters that want to bring this program down. If I didn't know any better I'd think you were from Raleigh."

Well, Mack, I'm not out to bring down any programs. It's just my opinion. But the other half of your spider sense is sharp. I grew up in North Raleigh. Enloe Eagles, baby!

To the plays!

First Down: Baffling Ballots

For ESPN The Magazine's college football preview issue I wrote a feature on the history, mystery and controversy surrounding the compilation of the AP Top 25 poll.

One of the facets of the AP poll that I have always admired is its transparency (I'm looking at you coaches and Harris Interactive). Every week the AP publishes its ballots as they come in, no matter how goofy they may be. Of course, that leaves its voters open for criticism from fans and watchdog websites such as Pollspeak.com.

Since I wrote the story, I have received a steady stream of emails from loyalists of certain schools eager to point out what they think are strange voting trends. Not surprisingly, it's their schools that are being slighted.

The weekly winner of this somewhat dubious honor is Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News. Every week, I receive multiple complaints about Wolf, almost entirely from the Midwest, claiming that he is "a serial Big Ten hater." According to Pollspeak's "Pollstalker," he routinely ranks the Big Ten teams lower than most of the sixty AP Top 25 voters and has won Pollspeak's user-determined "Worst Voter" award three of the season's first six weeks.

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