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New college football poll announced, but will have no bearing on the College Football Playoff

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced Tuesday that they are jointly creating a new poll beginning the 2014 season called the FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 poll.

The new poll, which will just rank the top 16 teams, won’t have any bearing on how the top four teams are selected for the College Football Playoff. It will not name a national champion. There will be no trophy awarded to the top team at the end of the year. It won’t even be considered an official poll that’s referenced when speaking about each team. In its simplest terms, it's a poll for the sake of a poll.

But FWAA president Kirk Bohls told Yahoo Sports via email that none of that played a part in deciding whether to introduces a new poll. He said that in these changing times of college football, both the FWAA and NFF saw an opportunity to provide an objective voice to an otherwise subjective process.

The purpose is to provide a poll of knowledgeable, objective voters with zero agendas and add to the enjoyment of the game on a weekly basis and enhance fans’ appreciation of college football in general,” Bohls told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t think a new poll was so much needed as there was an opportunity to add an important voice to the debate when a new playoff era begins.”

This season, college football will move away from the BCS and to a college football playoff. However, there have been a lot of questions -- and gripes -- about the selection committee and the criteria by which teams are chosen to compete in the playoff. And there have been concerns about the fairness of any system that’s trying to choose four teams out of a pool of possibly 10 worthy candidates.

The FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 poll won’t alleviate those concerns, but it will provide a talking point created by journalists who have covered the game and former athletes and administrators who have either played or been around the game for some time.

“I don’t think there was a glaring need but our poll will have fewer voters than AP, for whom I have voted since 1990 and a poll which I think has always had immense credibility, and probably fewer constrictions,” Bohls told Yahoo Sports. “I have always had issues with the coaches’ poll because it represents a conflict of interest. Coaches have clear agendas whether it’s financial clauses in their contracts for rankings or grudges against other coaches or favoritism toward their buddies or schools in their conferences. Our poll will have no agendas.”

The FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 poll will consist of 36 members – 26 from the FWAA and 10 from the NFF. The FWAA is currently made up of 1,350 college football writers from across all platforms. The NFF will draw from former coaches, administrators, conference commissioners and even Hall of Fame players for their selections. The leaders of both groups will pick the voters. The poll will be released on Sundays during the college football season and conclude on Dec. 7, the day after the conference championship games.

“None of us want to overstate the importance of the poll and suggest it’s something it’s not,” Bohls said. “But I believe it will be a tremendous asset to the game.”

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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