Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Bielema votes 7 from SEC in coaches poll
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema talks with reporters during the Southeastern Conference football media days in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
FAYETTEVILLE - Bret Bielema should hold SEC coach-in-good-standing credentials after one season in the league as the first-year Arkansas coach voted solidly for league schools, particularly for neighboring Missouri, in his final top 25 vote in the USA Today coaches poll.
The coaches do not have to reveal their votes on a weekly basis during the season, but USA Today releases the voting after the final regular season poll is conducted.
Bielema put seven SEC teams in the top 22, with three SEC schools in his top 5: No. 2 Auburn, No. 3 Alabama and No. 5 Missouri, and he voted South Carolina at No. 8.
His votes for Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina mirrored their positions in the final poll, but his vote for Missouri was four spots higher than the Tigers’ final standing in the coaches poll.
He fell in line with most coaches who placed Big Ten champion Michigan State at No. 4, he voted Ohio State at No. 12, the lowest position by any coach and two spots lower than Baylor Coach Art Briles, who had the second-lowest ranking. The Buckeyes had been 12-0, ranked No. 2 and in position to play in the final Bowl Championship Series title game before losing to Michigan State on Saturday. Earlier this fall, when asked whether he would consider using helmet stickers at Arkansas, Bielema said he didn’t at Wisconsin because another Big Ten school that did made his skin crawl, a reference to the Buckeyes.
Bielema voted his former team Wisconsin at No. 21. Only Miami’s Al Golden and LSU’s Les Miles, who each voted the Badgers at No. 22, had them lower than Bielema.
Bielema put Louisville, coached by Batesville native Charlie Strong, at No. 6, the highest ranking by any coach and the only coach to rank the Cardinals higher than No. 10.
He saved the final spot in his poll for Iowa, his alma mater, which polled 30 votes, four spots out of the top 25.
RK. TEAM 1. Florida State 2. Auburn 3. Alabama 4. Mich. State 5. Missouri 6. Louisville 7. Baylor 8. S. Carolina 9. Stanford 10. Oklahoma 11. Oregon 12. Ohio State13. LSU 14. Okla. State 15. Cen. Florida 16. Ariz. State 17. UCLA 18. Clemson 19. Fresno State 20. Duke 21. Wisconsin 22. Texas A&M 23. Miami, Fla. 24. Georgia 25. Iowa
Sports, Pages 18 on 12/09/2013