The 2009 season is no different.
While Alabama was the unanimous choice in both the AP and Coaches polls, a reasonable argument could be made for Boise State. TCU might be better than Texas - with or without Colt McCoy. And while the body of work of Alabama was more impressive than Boise's, who's to say that the Broncos couldn't have beaten the Tide in a one-game championship?
So here's how I voted on my final ballot, with comments below:
Last week's ballot
Dropped Out: West Virginia (#17), Arizona (#21), Oregon State (#22), Stanford (#23).
* I voted Alabama No. 1 because absent a playoff where more than two teams get a chance to determine the championship, one must consider the respective resumes of the only two undefeated teams. The Tide's best wins were over Texas (without McCoy), Florida and Virginia Tech. The Broncos beat TCU, Oregon and ... not much else. Not their fault, but the schedule does matter.
* The idiocy (or sheer malice) of some of the AP and coaches voters must be exposed. Craig James (yeah, that Craig James, he's a Dad!) had Boise State No. 7, behind two-loss teams Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa ... yes, he also had Penn State in front of Iowa, which actually defeated the Lions head-to-head. Worse yet, he had TCU at No. 14. His slots for Boise and TCU were by far the lowest of any voters in the AP poll. A ballot that produced such outliers should be tossed out for its irregularity. As it is, he single-handedly cost Boise the No. 3 ranking, as the Broncos finished four points behind Florida.
* Over in the coaches poll, which has yet to make available how the individual coaches voted on their final ballot, we do know that former Akron coach J.D. Brookhart has mailed it in ... or not mailed, faxed, or emailed in anything. He didn't bother submitting a final ballot after getting canned.
* My ballot follows a very simple logic. The teams are ranked by their records and resume. In cases where teams have identical records, the team that either won head-to-head or had a better resume is ranked ahead. Teams that lost their bowl games, particularly ones abandoned by their head coaches (i.e. Cincinnati), are not unduly punished as they were in the other polls.
* Every BCS conference team with no more than four losses is ranked, except West Virginia and Rutgers, who just missed the cut. Every non-BCS team with no more than two losses is also on the ballot. One exception is made for Navy, and it absolutely earned its place on the ballot. The Midshipmen played six bowl teams on their schedule and demolished Missouri in their own bowl game. Besides, they have our eternal gratitude for driving Charlie Weis out of college football, perhaps forever.
* So who would win in a championship game between Alabama and Boise State? The Tide would be favored, on paper. But Boise State's postseason history must give one pause before dismissing the Broncos entirely. Unfortunately, we'll just never know. The BCS crystal ball has been packed and shipped. It will be on Isle 6 at a Walmart near you, if you live in Tuscaloosa, that is.