LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ Bret Bielema rejoined the voting panel for the Amway Coaches Poll this season after taking off last year.
“I do,” Bielema said Monday when asked if he likes voting in the poll, “because it probably keeps me a little bit locked in.”
Bielema is entering his 11th season as a head coach, and during that time, he’s had a coaches poll vote in all but three seasons. He didn’t vote in 2006 — his first season as Wisconsin’s head coach — and also didn’t have a vote in 2009 or 2015.
Many often believe — right or wrong — that when coaches vote in the poll, it is often the team’s sports information director that actually fills out the weekly ballot. Bielema insisted, though, that he does it himself.
“I do think that it has my name on it, so I don’t want someone else to represent me,” he told reporters before speaking to the Little Rock Touchdown Club.
Bielema went on, though, to heap praise on the College Football Playoff committee as the rightful entity to determine the sport’s national champion each year.
“I think now you have a group that doesn’t have, supposedly, bias,” Bielema said. “You’re going to have some bias. I mean, my AD (Jeff Long) is there.
“That’s why you have certain guys from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12. But coaches don’t have enough time to watch enough film on their own, let alone their opponents.”
Bielema said that it’s sometimes difficult to watch West coast games because they kick off so late.
Bielema is one of seven SEC coaches — along with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin — to vote in the 2016 coaches poll.
Also, two of Arkansas’ 2016 non-conference opponents are coached by voters: Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz and TCU’s Gary Patterson.