Yeah, yeah, we know. Nick Saban isn’t poring over the Saturday scoreboard to determine the No. 25 team on his weekly ballot in the Amway Coaches Poll. Paul Chryst isn’t spending much time debating the merits of San Jose State and Oklahoma State. Hell, Jimbo Fisher probably hasn’t even looked at his ballot since 2010. We all understand that the coaches poll isn’t really the ~coaches poll~. It’s the graduate assistant poll, or the director of football operations poll, or the hey-that-one-student-manager-did-a-great-job-setting-up-cones-this-week-so-let’s-have-him-do-the-poll-this-week poll.
It’s not really what it’s supposed to be.
But let’s pretend for a moment that it is, because USA Today released the latest round of ballots on Monday morning, and hooooo buddy, there’s some fun stuff there.
We already knew that IU landed at No. 8 in the coaches poll this week, a drop of one spot after the Hoosiers’ second straight idle week, but let’s take a look at how they got there, because it’s quite fun and fascinating.
Here’s where each of the 61 head coaches participating in this year’s polling process placed the Hoosiers:
5: Jeff Monken (Army)
6: Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Todd Graham (Hawaii), Scot Loeffler (Bowling Green)
7: Dino Babers (Syracuse), Craig Bohl (Wyoming), Jason Candle (Toledo), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech), Sonny Dykes (SMU), Luke Fickell (Cincinnati), Hugh Freeze (Liberty), Willie Fritz (Tulane), Scott Frost (Nebraska), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech), Skip Holtz (Louisiana Tech), Mike Locksley (Maryland), Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Jonathan Smith (Oregon State), Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee), Kyle Whittingham (Utah)
8. David Cutcliffe (Duke), Manny Diaz (Miami), Dana Dimel (Texas-El Paso), Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M), James Franklin (Penn State), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Chris Klieman (Kansas State), Seth Littrell (North Texas), Frank Solich (Ohio)
9. Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Will Healy (Charlotte), Mike Houston (East Carolina), Lance Leipold (Buffalo), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Chad Lunsford (Georgia Southern), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Billy Napier (Louisiana Lafayette), Scott Satterfield (Louisville), Jeff Scott (South Florida), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Matt Wells (Texas Tech)
10: Jamey Chadwell (Coastal Carolina), Butch Davis (FIU), Jeff Hafley (Boston College), Thomas Hammock (NIU), Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee), Nick Saban (Alabama)
11: Neal Brown (West Virginia), Steve Campbell (South Alabama), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Clay Helton (USC), Tyson Helton (Western Kentucky), Tom Herman (Texas), Dan Mullen (Florida), Gary Patterson (TCU), Jake Spavital (Texas State), Mel Tucker (Michigan State)
12: Matt Campbell (Iowa State), Ed Orgeron (LSU)
14: Dabo Swinney (Clemson)
So, umm. Couple things here.
- Let’s start with Fitzgerald, who placed IU at No. 11 — one spot behind his Wildcats. I mean, yeah, he’s going to go to bat for his guys, but *18-second-long groan*. Bud. C’mon. Then again, I suppose this isn’t surprising. He sort of telegraphed it last week, when he told reporters at his weekly press conference that Ohio State’s Ryan Day was his pick for Big Ten Coach of the Year. Hold on, hold on. My eyes have rolled completely out of my face. But at least you actually know who he is and where he stands. We’ll come back to him in a moment.
- Of the 61 ballots submitted by
alumni outreach staffersthe coaches, only 11 had Iowa State placed above Indiana. One of them — Matt Campbell — is obvious. Another — Dabo Swinney — is just kind of a Big Ten crank. And five — Campbell, Neal Brown, Tom Herman, Gary Patterson and Matt Wells — hail from the Big 12. There’s also the curious case of Mel Tucker, the Michigan State head coach who placed Iowa State at No. 10 and IU at No. 11. Personally, I don’t think this blog spends enough time talking about how Indiana went to East Lansing last month and dealt the Spartans their first shutout loss at Spartan Stadium since 1985. We should talk more about that.
- Briefly, given what Fitzgerald and Tucker each did with their ballots, let’s stay on this for a second. Is there any wonder as to whom former IU athletic director Fred Glass was referring in his comments to the Indianapolis Star on Sunday evening? Can’t imagine. No, actually I can. The Northwesterns, Michigan States, Iowas, etc. of the Big Ten would be awfully inconvenienced if they actually had to work to stiff-arm another school from crowding them on the tier of plucky Big Ten challengers. So keep that in mind going forward.
- In total, the Big Ten had six coaches participating this season — Chryst, Fitzgerald, Tucker, Scott Frost, Mike Locksley and James Franklin. Chryst, Frost and Locksley each placed IU at No. 7, while Franklin had the Hoosiers at No. 8.
- It’s clear that the service academies have The Right Guys leading their football programs. Army’s Jeff Monken gave IU its highest placement on any of the ballots, slotting the Hoosiers at No. 5 this week. Monken also handed the final playoff spot to Texas A&M, while sending Notre Dame to the No. 6 slot. You love to see it. Air Force’s Troy Calhoun also had IU pretty high on his ballot, ranking the Hoosiers at No. 6 this week. Meanwhile, both Monken and Calhoun ranked Iowa State at No. 11. But the best ballot may have belonged to Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo, who put Indiana at No. 7 and stuck Iowa State all the way down at No. 24. No. 24!
That, my friends, is the good stuff.