Detroit Free Press writer votes Ohio State #8 in AP Poll

Saturday was one of the best days in college football history.  A thrilling Ohio State-Michigan game that came down to a failed 2 point conversion try in the final minute and will go down as one of the most memorable contests in the rivalry's history.  An Iron Bowl that produced perhaps the greatest finish in the history of the sport that didn't involve the Stanford band.  And let's not forget Missouri finally winning an important game and not being cursed by 5th downs or deflected kicks against Texas A&M.

But those good feelings of Saturday have disappeared in the ugly politicking of Sunday.  It's appropriate that the BCS era ends this way, taking attention away from the players and putting it on the voters.  With Auburn's AD saying it's "un-American" to leave an SEC champion out of the national championship game, as if anyone who says or votes otherwise deserves to be deported.  With an Ohio State fanbase that has an inferiority complex the size of the Grand Canyon taking to Twitter to badger Kirk Herbstreit about being a "fake Buckeye."  With rational discussion cast aside for agenda-driven analysis from the likes of Mark May.  With facts tossed out the window in favor of prevailing narratives.  As just one example, Colin Cowherd went on SportsCenter and said Auburn would be a touchdown favorite over Ohio State in Las Vegas when in fact the opposite is true.

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The problem with college football is the true power lies in perception and media spin and not in the players who actually contest the games.  Until there's a true 8 or 16 team playoff, it's unfortunately always going to be this way, with agenda-driven individuals having a say in the championship pursuit.  

Enter Detroit Free Press columnist and AP voter Drew Sharp. 

As the AP poll was released on Sunday – Florida State was ranked 1st, Ohio State was ranked 2nd, and Auburn 3rd.  The gap between #2 and #3 may have been larger if not for the ballot of Sharp.  The Detroit columnist ranked Ohio State 8th in his ballot, a full 3 spots lower than any other voter.  Sharp not only ranked Ohio State behind Auburn, but behind Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma State, 2-loss South Carolina, and 2-loss Stanford.  After winning their rivalry game on the road against an inspired Michigan team, Sharp dropped Ohio State 3 spots in the poll from #5 to #8.  And he was proud of it.

It's difficult to see what Sharp's game is here.  A Detroit columnist voting Ohio State so low is alarming enough when it comes to perceived biases, but perhaps he's taking an adversarial stance against the Big Ten as a whole including those universities in his home state.  After all, he does have "The Big Ten Sucks" in his Twitter profile.  For what it's worth, Sharp has Michigan State ranked 13th where only 3 voters have the Spartans ranked lower.  Thankfully the AP Poll has no bearing on the BCS Standings, but media influence has a bigger role in college football than any other sport combined.

It's one thing to have a stance on who should be ranked higher between Ohio State and Auburn.  There are valid arguments on both sides.  But this extreme of an outlier, and the pride taken in it, is unseemly and another incriminating example of the flaws in the voting process.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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