Somebody needs to tell Spiderman to schedule a pep talk with NCAA Division I-A pollsters.
Peter Parker could tell the group of experts what is expected of a group that begs for more influence in determining a national champion in football, then refuses to put any effort into the process.
"With great power comes great responsibility," Spidey would tell the pigskin panel. "Be sure to put as much time and effort into your Top-25 picks as I do ridding the streets of evil-doers. Otherwise, you're no better than they are."
Perhaps, then, the superhero could motivate the voters to actually research - maybe even watch - the teams for which they cast their votes ... which might actually make the polls mean something once again.
Until that happens, the NCAA has misplaced its trust by placing the human portion - the writers and coaches who vote in the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls - in the majority of the BCS equation.
This is a group that simply can't be trusted, and the notion that these groups of individuals should "elect" the top two teams in the nation for the title game should have been tossed like Michael Jackson from a Boy Scout meeting.
To wit, this is a group that failed to look at the big picture last winter - taking into consideration an entire season, Oklahoma and LSU were the best two squads - so as to stir up enough controversy to gain more BCS clout.
Did the pollsters think USC was playing championship football last December? Undoubtedly they did, and they had good reason to believe so. But along the way, somebody failed to remind the voters of the Trojans' loss to Cal - a team which lost to lowly Colorado State.
If you can string together enough teams to prove that a title contender should have lost to Wyoming - UW over CSU over Cal over USC - the marquee BCS game shouldn't be in the cards.
But enough about last year, how are the voters handling the pressure this year?
Well, about as well as Kevin Garnett handled the SAT.
While there was near unanimous support for Georgia to upend LSU and take the SEC crown this fall, it took a "near" loss to Oregon State for voters to rank UGA ahead of the Tigers - and LSU still received a first place vote in this week's ESPN/USA Today poll.
The same voters who couldn't look at an entire season objectively a year ago are now obsessed with last season, failing to properly rank this year's team accordingly in the current rankings.
This problem is popping up all over the top-25 mountain, especially at the summit.
No voters have the courage to give respect to teams that are worthy of top billing - Utah, Fresno State and Boise State among others - for fear of upsetting the BCS Bullies.
Are the voters uneducated, or merely too cowardly to put the Utes in the top-10? It's a fact, the U. of U. has already proven its talent, and they are well on their way to an undefeated season.
Would the members of the Big Ten have their feelings hurt if they didn't have a team ranked among the Distinguished Dozen atop college football? How else, then, to explain Michigan and Ohio State in the top 10 last week despite both being outplayed by alleged underdogs?
USC, Texas, LSU, Ohio State and Georgia all remain in the top 10 this week, despite falling backwards into victory - or having sure losses snatched away and given wins instead - already this season.
Surely there is something to be said for finding ways to win, but there must also be a way for pollsters to find teams who don't have to limp into the winner's circle.
Unless Spiderman straightens out the pollsters, college football fans will continue to be left tangled up in the voters' wicked web.
- Austin Ward is a junior in journalism at The University of Tennessee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polls not indicative of reality
Published: Thu Sep 16, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:22 p.m.