Thursday, August 25, 2005

Harris Poll: spitting parts on the on-ramp | by Jay

I don't know what's more embarrassing, that the Harris folks never considered that Holtz and DiNardo wouldn't be allowed to participate by ESPN, or that "Fruit Breezer Screaming Fan of the Game" Jason Rash actually made it to the final pollster list before being found out. Per USA Today:

ESPN subsequently pulled out as a co-sponsor of the coaches' poll. "The Harris poll has a direct connection to the BCS standings," network spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. "We've said all along we wouldn't have our commentators participate in the Harris poll, and it (removal of Holtz, DiNardo and Congemi) is consistent with our decision to pull out of the coaches' poll."

Scratch, too, from Harris' panel of 114 voters: Jason Rash. He was one of 10 panelists drawn from a pool of nominees from the Sun Belt Conference but was found not to fit the requirement of being a former athletics administrator, coach or player or media member. He's the son-in-law of Troy coach Larry Blakeney and a fan.

"If this gives fans access to what we're doing ... I'm OK with that," Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters said before BCS officials called Wednesday to say they weren't.

Well of course you're okay about giving a random fan a vote, don't give two craps about the BCS. And why should you? You're the Sun Belt. LA-Lafayette and Arkansas State aren't going to be contending for the title anytime soon. He knows it, so he picked his favorite coach's son-in-law to represent, probably as a goof or on a dare. And you know what? I kind of like that f--- it attitude. He doesn't care; he knows it's all a joke anyway.

The funny thing is, Rash probably has more cred than Terry Bradshaw, who's also a pollster. (Said Hollywood Henderson once, famously: "Bradshaw couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 't'.") At the very least, Rash has his Saturdays free to watch some football, unlike Terry. I'd trust him to fill out a more reasonable ballot than Bradshaw.

So I'm sitting here trying to figure out how Rash made it to the final cut, and I'm looking at the list, and Jason Rash is listed without any qualifying remark like "former AD" or "former player" or "media" on his one-line resume. It's just, "Jason Rash" -- blank. I guess that was a red flag for the BCS. (Maybe in Jason Rash's circle of influence, his name is all the introduction he needs. In fact, it's probably a nickname like "the Rasher". Unfortunately that's no help to those outside of the Rasher's world, but it would have been cool to see names like "the Rasher" and "Sully" and "Frank the Tank" on the list of voters.) So look out Ken Shipp and Lou St. Amant (the other two "blanks" on the list) -- you guys better fill in that resumé, and quick.

(Okay, I googled for you guys. Shipp coached the Jets for one year, and may or may not be a former head coach at Middle Tennessee State. And St. Amant was an assistant football coach at Louisiana-Monroe and now broadcasts ULM baseball games. Therefore, they look like two more Sun Belt nominees. Assist to me.)

And Kevin Donahue of tosses a few more darts at the list. Among the other question marks in the Harris Poll:
  • Kevin Duhe currently is territory manager for Blue Bell Ice Cream. He played at Northeast Louisiana.

  • Former SMU quarterback Lance McIlhenny was quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying: "Any given weekend, if I'm fly-fishing, how am I going to make sure by 1 o'clock on Sunday that this Harris group will have my input?"

  • Voter Kenny Roda, a radio talk show host in Cleveland, has a link to "Hotties" on his Web site. It includes (clothed) shots of Playboy Playmates and "pickup lines to bag a hottie."

  • George Lapides, a Memphis-based radio host, has a link to a gambling service at the top of his personal Web site.
Since Holtz and DiNardo are out, we're going to need more Irish representation on this board. Phil Donhue's looking for a job. So is my buddy Dan (resumé: domer, good section football player). But frankly, we'd like to nominate ourselves. Surely, we're more legitimate than Jason Rash. I mean, we at least run a website, after all. Look for us on the next iteration of the Harris poll: "BGS - unbiased, unwashed Irish football recidivists. And proud Harris poll voters."

UPDATE: Pat here throwing in my two cents. Does this mean Rocket will have to drop out of the poll as well? His hip-hop album website, if that counts as a credible source, mentions that he's signed on for a second year with ESPN College GameDay. So, if ESPN is going to be the kid that took his ball and went home, won't they make Rocket excuse himself from the poll as well? He is only involved to the extent that he does pre-scripted bits before games and isn't really involved in any analysis -- not that you can call what goes on during GameDay "analysis" -- but you never know what ESPN is going to do.

And another correction. In the previous Harris poll post, we guessed former ND AD Roger Valdiserri was an Irish nominee. Valdiserri himself clears up that notion in a Chicago Tribune article.
Valdiserri, though, said Notre Dame, where he worked as an administrator for 33 years, did not nominate him for the poll.

"I'm not sure they even know I worked there," he joked.

And Valdiserri said his ties to the school would have zero impact on how he votes.

"Notre Dame will have to be awfully, awfully good for me to put them in the Top 25," he said.
That seems to confirm that the three Irish representatives were Holtz, Rocket, and former player Jim Morse.

As for the replacements?
Originally ND submitted 10 names to Harris, and they picked three at random. So I suppose another random draw for the Irish will happen very soon.