It did not take long for this season's first Bowl Championship Series-related controversy to emerge.
In the first Harris Interactive college football poll, one person voted for winless Idaho in the top 25. The Vandals are 0-4 with three losses against teams that have beaten no other school.
The poll, which replaced the Associated Press in the three-part BCS formula, was not released until Sunday in an effort to offer rankings based more on a team's performance than on preseason hype. But the five points Idaho received for a No. 21 vote has prompted bewilderment within a sport that seems to find controversy every year in how it crowns its champion.
Former Big Sky Conference Commissioner Ron Stephenson, a Harris voter who lives in Boise, Idaho, said yesterday that he was "shocked" when he learned that Idaho received votes and added that the situation certainly does not help the Harris poll in terms of credibility.
The Harris panel consists of 114 voters, an eclectic group of former administrators, coaches, players and current media members. Harris Interactive has not released which voter chose Idaho -- only the ballots after the final Dec. 4 poll will be made public.
Voters cast ballots by telephone, fax or online; the voter who voted for Idaho reportedly did so by telephone. Did the voter intend to rank Iowa (2-2) but it was misheard over the phone?
"There are many times when someone says 'Idaho' and people think 'Iowa,' " Stephenson said yesterday by phone. "I don't think it's very often that people say 'Iowa' and people confuse it with 'Idaho,' certainly not on the East Coast."
-- Eric Prisbell