A new college football poll will replace the Associated Press poll in the same three-component formula used last season to calculate the standings for the Bowl Championship Series, which determines which teams play for the national championship.
The Harris Interactive top 25 poll, which will consist of 114 voters, will carry equal weight with the coaches' poll and a compilation of computer rankings in the formula used to compute the BCS standings, which will be released on a weekly basis beginning Oct. 17.
One noteworthy change is that the Harris poll will be first released Sept. 25, four weeks into the season, unlike the Associated Press poll, which is first released in the preseason.
BCS officials wanted the new poll to rely more on current performance than on preseason expectations. The Associated Press, citing conflict of interest concerns, informed the BCS in December that its poll no longer would be used in the formula.
Former coaches and players will comprise most of the Harris voting panel, with some administrators and media members also included. The panel will be revealed before the start of the season. And for the final regular season poll on Dec. 4, individual votes will be made public. Coaches had earlier agreed to make their final votes public in their poll for the first time.
"We thought it was important for there to be consistency with the two human polls," BCS Commissioner Kevin Weiberg said yesterday in a teleconference. "To make the ballots public on a weekly basis during the season, we feel the focus would be on who voted for whom and detract from the games being played."
Harris Interactive Inc., hired by the BCS last month to explore the feasibility of creating a new poll, is in the process of compiling a panel from 300 nominees supplied by conference officials and Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White. BCS officials said the panel will be a representation of all 11 Division I-A conferences and independent teams.
"We're recruiting as we speak," said John Kennedy, senior vice president of Harris Interactive. "That [114 voters] is the goal of the ideal model."
In addition to the Harris and coaches' polls, the BCS formula also will consist of an average of six computer rankings, provided by Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe, respectively.