Only in college football does an NFL general manager, a Heisman winner, a handful of retired sportswriters, disgraced athletic directors and United States Olympic Committee and PGA staffers have a voice in the postseason pairings.
With all the handwringing about the new College Football Playoff selection committee, fans may forget there’s one more year of the BCS picking the teams that will play for the national championship and eligible for major bowl games.
The first Harris Interactive top 25 was released Sunday, bringing the sport one step closer to the first BCS standings of the season. The voting results from the 105-member Harris panel have the same weight as the coaches’ poll or the average of the six computers, but few are familiar with the voters.
Part of the BCS since 2005 when the Associated Press pulled its rankings out of the formula, the Harris poll is comprised of 105 current and former media members and former college players, coaches and administrators. Originally, each of the then-11 FBS conference submitted a pool of potential voters to Harris Interactive, who then randomly selected 10 voters from each. The independents received three voters from their submitted candidates.
The number has fluctuated over the years, and with the disintegration of the WAC, the 2013 panel is the smallest at 105 voters. Since last season, 22 voters left the poll, replaced by 13 new voters for 2013.
Harris Interactive releases the names of each voter on the panel a week before the first top 25, and the organization will release all 105 final ballots after the BCS standings are released in December. However, Harris has never released any biographical information about panelists, their connection to college football or which conference “nominated” the voters in the first place.
We have collected and confirmed the biographical information here.
Among the new voters are two former athletic directors who lost their jobs under less than ideal circumstances. Keith Tribble resigned from UCF in 2011 amid an NCAA investigation into recruiting practices in the schools football and men’s basketball programs. He is under an NCAA show cause penalty.
Damon Evans resigned from Georgia after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. His situation worsened when it was revealed he was in the car with a woman who was not his wife and he attempted to use his position to garner favor with authorities. Evans now works with IMG College assisting schools with fundraising.
Also among the new voters is recently retired Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips. Phillips’ inclusion gives the Tigers a visible presence among the 105 ballots with former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden also voting in the poll.
Perhaps the most intriguing voter in the panel is not a new addition, but his new job description is worth a mention. John Dorsey was hired this season as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Dorsey, a former player at Connecticut, joined the panel when he was the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers.
The breakdown of voters includes:
32 former players. This includes 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.
30 former administrators. Among them is former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, who is considered one of the founders of the BCS.
28 current and former media members, not including the former players and coaches who entered broadcasting careers after retirement. Some of the media members include members of school’s official broadcasting teams, such as Rutgers’ Chris Carlin, Baylor’s J.J. Joe, Navy’s Pete Medhurst and Notre Dame’s Allen Pinkett.
11 former coaches. Notable former coaches include Tommy Bowden (Clemson), Rich Brooks (Oregon, Kentucky), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), Joe Novak (Northern Illinois) and Jackie Sherrill (Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Mississippi State).
4 in the “other category.” This includes Bob Condron (a former director of media services for the United States Olympic Committee for 28 years), Tim Millis (the former executive director of the NFL Referees Association and former Big 12 supervisor of officials) and Jack White (a former player for Bear Bryant at Alabama who works with the PGA).
Here is every voter in the 2013 Harris poll and their desciption:
Texas player 1966-68
Army player 1956-60
Florida player 1993-96, Fox Sports South broadcaster
Reporter, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
Former columnist, The Nashville Tennessean
Ball State player 1990-92, Radio host, WGFX in Nashville
Tulane coach 1997-98, Clemson coach 1999-2008
Georgia Tech AD 1997-2006, Virginia Tech AD 1988-97, Marshall AD 1985-87
NFL.com analyst, Former Cowboys director of player personnel
Oregon coach 1977-94, Kentucky coach 2003-09
Oklahoma player 1970-74
Oklahoma player 1970-74
Michigan coach 1995-2007
UNLV AD 1995-2001, Memphis AD 1982-95
Boise State player 2003-07, radio analyst BSU Sports Radio Network
Reporter, The Detroit News
East Carolina player 1977-80
USOC dir. of media services 1984-2012, former SID at Texas Tech and SMU
Notre Dame AD 1981-87, Virginia AD 1971-80, ACC commissioner 1987-97
North Carolina coach 1978-87, Kent State coach 1988-90
Miami coach 1971-72, Kentucky coach 1973-81
1958 Heisman winner at Army
Villanova AD 1997-97, Boston College AD 1998-2010
Minnesota AD 1995-2000
Kansas City Chiefs general manager, Connecticut player 1980-83
Central Michigan coach 1978-93
West Virginia player 1963-65
Toledo player 1969-71
Radio host WVFN in Lansing, Mich.
Georgia AD 2003-10
BYU AD 1995-99
Reporter, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Southern Miss AD 1999-2011
Cincinnati AD 1997-2005, Florida State AD 1990-94
South Alabama AD 1984-2009
Rutgers coach 1990-95
Oregon State player 1964-66
Utah player 1957-58
Purdue player 1977-80
Columnist, Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register
Columnist, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Broadcaster, ACC Digital Network
N.C. State administrator 1984-2010
Auburn AD 1990-2004
Stanford player 1996-99
Baylor player 1990-93; Radio analyst, Baylor
Fresno State AD 2001-05
Reporter, Seattle Times
Reporter, The Kansas City Star
Reporter, The Philadelphia Daily News
Tulane player 1995-98
SEC Commissioner 1990-2002
Radio host, KXDP in Denver
SMU player 1981-84
Ohio State player 1974-77
Auburn AD 1992-93, Washington AD 1975-91
Reporter, Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger
Reporter, Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradoan
West Virginia player 1965-67
Kansas AD 1978-82, South Carolina AD 1982-88, Marshall AD 2002-09
Notre Dame player 1992-95
Duke coach 1971-78, Cincinnati AD 1979-84, USC AD 1984-93
Radio reporter and host, Navy Radio Network
Former NFL Referees Association exec. director, former Big 12 supervisor of officials
Troy player 1990-91
Cal player 1962-64
Northern Illinois coach 1996-2007
Louisiana Tech AD 1994-2008
Reporter on East Carolina for Bonesville.net
UCF AD 2002-06, SMU AD 2006-12
Reporter, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Free-Press
Terry Don Phillips
Clemson AD, 2003-13, Oklahoma State AD 1995-2002
Notre Dame player 1982-85; Radio analyst, Notre Dame
Ohio State player 1972-74
Oregon State player 1966-68
Former host, WKNR in Cleveland, Ohio
Wisconsin AD 1989-2004
Former host WKNR 850 in Cleveland, Ohio
Former radio broadcaster, UAB
*Terry R. Schmidt
Ball State player 1971-73
Pitt coach 1977-81, Texas A&M coach 1982-88, Mississippi St coach 1991-2003
Former columnist, The Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen
Wake Forest player 2006-09
Arizona player 1992-94
Reporter, The Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal
Former Central Michigan sports information director
Florida International coach 2002-06
Reporter, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press
Former TCU administrator and assistant coach
Minnesota player 1986-89
UCF AD 2006-11
Auburn player 1977-79
Iowa State AD 1983-93, Kansas State AD 1993-2001
Former Notre Dame sports information director
Jeff Van Note
Kentucky player 1966-68
Stanford player 1988-91
Former Purdue sports information director
Iowa State coach 1987-94, Washington State coach 1978-86
Radio host, KPEL in Lafayette, La.
Alabama player 1971, former director for PGA Tour's Shotlink
Louisville player 1976-78
Reporter, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal
Hawaii AD 1992-2002
Bold indicates new voters for 2013
* indicates voters who have participated in every Harris poll since 2005