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Every vote counts

It's time for college football coaches to do the right thing. Coaches, make your votes public – all of them.

You always talk about the importance of team ahead of the individual. Well, your BCS team – and it is your team – is in a battle for its very existence, and you need to step up to the plate and do what's best.

First, The Associated Press backed its poll out of the BCS. The AP did not want to be a part of a system it didn't believe in. Now ESPN has done the same, stating that if the coaches won't make all their votes public, ESPN can't be a part of it, either.

Well, BCS – and that includes you, coaches – you've alienated the writers and television's talking heads, and that's not a good thing. Because these are the people who cover every minute detail of the weekly BCS poll, I wouldn't consider this a real positive PR move. Add the fact that probably 90 percent of your fan base wants a playoff, and you can see the problem.

Yes, everyone wants a playoff, and yes, everyone deserves a playoff, and no, you are not going to give us one. We will accept that.

But if you are going to want us to accept your two finalists for a mythical national championship and eight other recipients of the lucrative BCS bowl games, you better show us exactly how you selected them.

Showing us your very last vote will not get it done. The dramatic change in some coaches' votes between last year's final two regular-season polls wouldn't be detected if only the last poll is made public. The Californias of this world would continue to get spurned for the Texases.

I don't want to hear how difficult it is going to make your weekly press conferences during the season. Make questions about the poll off-limits until after the season.

I don't want to hear how you are going to irritate your opposing coaches or create locker-room board material. What's new about that? The opposing coach, who most likely also is voting in the poll, is subject to the same scrutiny. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Go ask Steve Spurrier (or maybe I should say go ask Ray Goff about Steve Spurrier) how much he worries about board material.

The fact is, if we are going to have a BCS system, the coaches not only should vote, they must vote. There is no one more qualified than the coaches to vote on the best teams in America.

If the BCS were put on trial and its lawyers had to put an expert witness on the stand to testify, is there any doubt it be a football coach? No one else is even remotely as qualified as a coach to determine the best teams. A coach has spent his entire professional life comparing strengths and weaknesses, and can evaluate accurately in a few minutes what it would take a writer or so-called expert analyst hours to determine.

As for a coach not having enough time to evaluate every top-25 team on a firsthand basis, who does? I cover games for ABC Sports and as soon as my game is over, I'm high-tailing it to the airport to get home. And most of you AP voters have a little something called a deadline to meet.

In fact, I don't get to see very many games – and none in detail – other than my own. I depend on television highlights, Associated Press accounts and game stats to decide how I rank my top-25 teams, and that is exactly what the coaches do, too.

The bottom line: The BCS needs the coaches voting, and it needs them voting publicly each and every week. There is no other way this thing is going to work.

That is, unless you want to talk about a playoff.