College Football Fans Tab Ohio State as Pre-Season No. 1 in Inaugural Poll

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Brady Quinn rated as top Heisman Trophy contender

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The new USA Today/Gallup College Football Fan poll ranks Ohio State as the No. 1 team in the country entering the season. The poll consists of a nationally representative sample of fans from across the country who have demonstrated a high degree of interest in and knowledge of the sport, and have agreed to rank the top teams in the country on a weekly basis. Roughly one in four fans met these criteria. The fans were drawn from Gallup's household panel, which is recruited using random selection techniques.

The poll gives fans a say in evaluating the best teams in the country, in addition to the traditional polls of coaches and sportswriters. In the poll, each fan is asked to rank their top ten teams, and points are awarded to each team -- from 10 points for a No. 1 ranking down to 1 point for a No. 10 ranking. The poll will report the top 15 teams in the country each week.

Ohio State is clearly the strongest team heading into the season in fans' eyes, receiving a total of 3,316 points and more than twice as many first place votes as any other team. Defending national champion Texas is No. 2 with 2,978 points. Southern California, the 2004 champion and 2003 co-champion, is ranked No. 3. Notre Dame is rated as the No. 4 team in the country by the fans. Auburn rounds out the top 5.

Fans rate West Virginia, thought to be a dark horse contender for the national championship, at No. 6. The rest of the top 10 includes Florida, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, and Florida State. Michigan, Miami of Florida, Penn State, Georgia, and California round out the top 15.

USAToday/Gallup College Football Fan Pre-Season Poll

Rank

Team

First Place
Votes

Total Points

1

Ohio State

197

3316

2

Texas

81

2978

3

Southern California

31

2580

4

Notre Dame

46

2521

5

Auburn

10

1670

6

West Virginia

6

1346

7

Florida

6

1183

8

Louisiana State

2

1138

9

Oklahoma

3

807

10

Florida State

2

701

11

Michigan

2

558

12

Miami, Florida

2

540

13

Penn State

3

509

14

Georgia

2

331

15

California

1

298

Issues Facing the Game

In addition to gathering opinions of the top teams, the USA Today/Gallup College Football Fan poll will also ask fans their views on some of the top controversies in the game. The pre-season poll asked fans three such questions.

The College Football Fan Panel was asked to choose which of three early Heisman Trophy contenders they thought had the best chance of winning. Brady Quinn, the Notre Dame quarterback, is easily the fans' top pick. Forty-eight percent say Quinn has the best chance, 28% choose Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, and 21% pick Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith. Three percent volunteered the name of another player.

This season marks the institution of the standard 12-game season for all schools; last year each played 11 regularly scheduled games before the post-season. The move has drawn some criticism because many schools are using the extra game to schedule a home game against a weak opponent. But fans seem unconcerned. The vast majority, 78%, believes 12 games is "the right amount" for teams to play; only 16% say it is "too many."

Eighty-five percent of fans are in favor of the use of instant replay to review the calls made by game officials. This year, each game involving Division I-A teams will include a standard replay system. In previous years, the replay systems varied by conference -- if instant replay was used at all.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone and Internet interviews with 400 members of Gallup's household panel, conducted Aug. 21-22, 2006, who have expressed a high degree of interest in the game, passed a basic knowledge test, and agreed to season-long participation in the USA Today/Gallup College Football Fan poll.

Members of Gallup's household panel are chosen by random selection techniques, and are representative of the adult U.S. population.

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/24259/College-Football-Fans-Tab-Ohio-State-PreSeason-No-Inaugural-Poll.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030