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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

Your 2011 Harris Poll

The Harris Poll, which is conducted by the market research firm Harris Interactive, is one of three components in the B.C.S. standings, joining The USA Today poll and an amalgam of six computer rankings — Billingsley, Sagarin and the like. Each constitutes a third of the rankings: in short, the Harris Poll, which is composed of 115 voters, goes a long way towards deciding which two teams meet in January for the national championship. So who are the 115 voters — are they coaches, former players, media members? Try all of the above. It’s a group composed of the young and the old, players and media members, a few former coaches and administrators, and it’s only fair — seeing that the Harris Poll makes up such a portion of the B.C.S. — to put a few names behind the poll.

Some of the members of the poll don’t fit into one category; a former player, for example, is now in broadcasting. That’s noted below. And in the second section, all of those individuals listed were former coaches unless noted otherwise. For those former coaches, only the most noteworthy spot is included. Most of the names will be familiar. Some, particularly in the media section, will not be familiar. Even a few of the former players don’t ring a bell. Here we go:

Former Players

Denny Aldridge Texas, 1960s
Bob Anderson Army, 1950s
James Bates Florida, 1990s
Blaine Bishop Ball State, 1990s
Brentson Buckner Clemson, 1990s
Grant Burget Oklahoma, 1970s
Tony Collins East Carolina, 1970s
Pete Dawkins Army, 1950s
Jim Dombrowski Virginia, 1980s
John Dorsey Connecticut, 1980s
Bob Dunleavy West Virginia, 1960s
Chuck Ealey Toledo, 1970s
Tommie Frazier Nebraska, 1990s
Gus Frerotte Tulsa, 1990s
Jacob Green Texas A&M, 1970s
Bob Grim Oregon State, 1960s
Lee Grosscup Utah, 1950s
David Horning N.C. State, 1970s
Todd Husak Stanford, 1990s
Tony Jones Georgia, 1980s
Bobby Leach S.M.U., 1980s
John Mallory West Virginia, 1960s
Derrick Mayes Notre Dame, 1990s
Lance McIlhenny S.M.U., 1980s
Eric Mizell Troy, 1990s
Craig Morton California, 1960s
Doug Plank Ohio State, 1970s
Steve Preece Oregon State, 1960s
Terry Schmidt Ball State, 1970s
Joe Smigiel Arizona, 1990s
Charlie Trotman Auburn, 1970s
Jeff Van Note Kentucky, 1960s
Tommy Vardell Stanford, 1980s-90s
Jack White Alabama, 1970s
Dwayne Woodruff Louisville, 1970s

Former Coaches and Administrators

Dick Bestwick A.D., Georgia
Tommy Bowden Tulane
Dave Braine A.D., Georgia Tech
Rich Brooks Oregon
Lloyd Carr Michigan
Charlie Cavagnaro A.D., Memphis
Gene Corrigan A.C.C. commissioner
Joe Crowley N.C.A.A. president
Dick Crum North Carolina
Fran Curci Kentucky
Herb Deromedi Central Michigan
Mark Deinhart A.D., Minnesota
Rondo Fehlberg A.D., B.Y.U.
David Housel A.D., Auburn
Scott Johnson A.D., Fresno State
Don Kassing President, San Jose State
Laing Kennedy A.D., Kent State
Roy Kramer SEC commissioner
James Lessig MAC commissioner
Sonny Lubick Colorado State
Mike Lude A.D., Washington
Bob Marcum A.D., Marshall
Mike McGee A.D., South Carolina
Bill McLellan A.D., Southern Mississippi
Gerald Myers A.D, Texas Tech
Joe Novak Northern Illinois
Jim Oakes A.D., Louisiana Tech
Pat Richter A.D., Wisconsin
Harvey Schiller CEO, YankeeNets (now YES Network)
Terry Shea Rutgers
Jackie Sherrill Texas A&M
Fred Stabley S.I.D., Central Michigan
Don Strock Florida International
Budd Thalman S.I.D., Penn State
John Thoner A.D., Connecticut
Max Urick A.D., Kansas
Roger Valdiserri S.I.D., Notre Dame
Jim Vruggink S.I.D., Purdue
Bob Wagner Hawaii
Jim Walden Iowa State
George Wine S.I.D., Iowa State
Hugh Yoshida A.D., Hawaii

The Media

Eric Bailey The Tulsa World
Sammy Batten The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
Joe Biddle The Tennessean
Gil Brandt NFL.com
Chip Brown Orangebloods.com
Chris Carlin Rutgers Radio Network
Pete Cavender (Boise State) Bronco Radio Network
Drew Champlin The Dothan Eagle (Troy)
Jack Ebling Greater Lansing SPORT Magazine
Robert Gagliardi Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Akbar Gbaja-Biamila NBC Sports
Mike Griffith Knoxville News Sentinel
Tommy Hicks Mobile News-Register
Steve Irvine The Birmingham News
J.J. Joe Baylor Radio Network
Blair Kerkhoff Kansas City Star
Mike Kern The Philadelphia Daily News
Nate Kreckman 102.3 FM (Denver)
Tom Luicci The (Newark) Star-Ledger
Cindy Luis The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Loren Matthews Former NBC Sports executive
Pete Medhurst Navy Radio Network
Tim Mills Former Big 12 supervisor of officials
Denny O’Brien Bonesville.net (East Carolina)
David Paschall Chattanooga Times Free Press
Allen Pinkett Notre Dame radio broadcasts
Mike Prater The Idaho Statesman
Earle Robinson 870 AM (East Lansing, Mich.)
Kenny Road 850 AM (Cleveland)
Gary Sanders Former U.A.B. radio announcer
George Schroeder The (Eugene, Ore.) Register-Guard
Corky Simpson Formerly of The Tucson Citizen
Patrick Stevens The Washington Times
Ron Thulin Versus, Fox Sports
Jay Walker 1420 AM (Lafayette, La.)
John Walters Iowa State radio broadcasts
Stan Weber Kansas State Radio Network
Rick Wright The Albuquerque Journal

There are several new additions to this year’s Harris Poll, replacing former players and coaches like John Bunting, Charlie McBride, Jim Mandich and others. The new guys: Bowden, Braine, Carr, Cavender, Champlin, Ebling, Green, Griffith, Horning, Jones, Kassing, Kennedy, Kreckman, Myers, Walker, Walters, Weber, Woodruff and Wright.

Some notes about a few names on the list: Blaine Bishop doubles as a radio host in Nashville; Pete Cavender played offensive guard for Boise State in the 2000s; Akbar Gbaja-Biamila played at San Diego State in the 2000s; after ending his playing career, David Horning served as an associate A.D. in the N.C. State athletic department; J.J. Joe played at Baylor in the 1990s; Allen Pinkett played at Notre Dame in the 1980s; and Stan Weber played at Kansas State in the 1980s.

So that’s your 2011 Harris Poll. Former players, former coaches, former athletic directors, former sports information directors, members of the media — hand in hand, together, constituting one-third of the B.C.S. standings.

Some advice: watch the games. Please. Watch the games — as many as possible — and don’t follow the herd. And don’t vote by allegiance; Lloyd Carr, as a random example, may want to vote for Michigan, but don’t vote with your heart. Use your head. And watch the games. Please.

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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  1. Eksynyt says:

    Same thing needs to be said for the coaches. Teams like Oregon always get ranked lower because we aren’t a “traditional” team and the coaches have some lackey fill out the ballot.

  2. Paul says:

    It was nice to see some of those names again — people who brought pleasure to our past….

  3. Burnt Orange says:

    Jackie Sherrill, Gil Brandt, and Fran Curci – very principled trio. Plus Gerald Myers ? Former Texas Tech basketball coach Gerald Myers ? Sure he was the AD but Gerald Myers ? If you want the most conservative basketball coach on the planet he is your guy but the thought of him voting on college football rankings is insane. I mean really how much more can we be expected to take?

  4. Bernie says:

    It’s nice to see Chuck Ealey’s name on this list. He went 35-0 vs. Division 1 teams from 1969-1971 at QB for the Toledo Rockets, won 3 bowl games, and finished top 20 all three years. Not to mention he was 18-0 in highschool. However, he is still not in the College Football Hall of Fame.

  5. BobJ says:

    Player Steve Preece was the QB on Oregon State’s “Giant Killer” team in 1967, when the Beavers beat Purdue (ranked #2 with Leroy Keyes), UCLA (#2 with Gary Beban), and USC(#1 with OJ Simpson). The USC game ended 3-0. That was Simpson’s first year with the Trojans, and while he did break off one big run, the Beavers stopped him cold the rest of the day. That game was arguably the greatest win in OS football history.

    The Beavers finished 7-2-1, ranked #7, but because of the bowl setup back then, didn’t play in one.

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