When Steve Spurrier handed in his final ballot for the USA Today Coaches Poll, it did not reflect what he actually thought of the nation’s top 25 teams.
And that’s because the final ballot of the season is made public by the newspaper, Spurrier said.
“I would have done it differently if I didn’t have to put my name on it, that’s just being honest,” he said. “You have to be politically correct when they put your name on the ballot. If it was anonymous, I would have changed it a little bit. I would have put some different teams here, there or the other.”
Spurrier, like 56 of the 59 coaches who vote in the poll, put undefeated Notre Dame No. 1 on his ballot and SEC champion Alabama No. 2. He “probably” would have voted the Crimson Tide No. 1 on an anonymous ballot, he said.
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“Whether or not we all believe Notre Dame should be No. 1, ‘Hey they won all their games,’ ” Spurrier said. “Have they played the toughest schedule? No, they haven’t. If they were playing Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia or us, who would be favored on a neutral site, I don’t know. That’s the way we do it in college football. They deserve to be No. 1 because they won all their games.”
Although he might have voted Alabama higher, Spurrier indicated he might have voted other SEC teams lower if he didn’t have to reveal his poll.
“There are several teams I would have done a little bit differently, but when you have to put your name on it and you have all these people in our neighborhood you have to look out for, that’s what you have to do in my opinion,” he said. “I think most coaches did that. If they say that’s exactly the way I see it, I don’t think they are telling you the truth.”
Spurrier voted South Carolina No. 8, Alabama No. 2, Florida No. 3, Georgia No. 5, LSU No. 7, Vanderbilt No. 22 and Mississippi State No. 23 on his final ballot.
“When I read USA Today, I am going to see where all those other SEC coaches put us and so forth, and they are going to look to see where I put them,” Spurrier said. “That’s just the way life is.”
Spurrier voted Clemson No. 12. The Gamecocks finished No. 10 in the final coaches poll, while the Tigers were No. 13.
As a former Heisman Trophy winner, Spurrier gets to vote for the award. He would not reveal his ballot on Sunday night, but he had one South Carolina player on it. The Heisman ballot includes places for first, second and third place votes.
“I always vote for one of the guys on my team, so it’ll be out there,” he said.
No Lattimore news
Spurrier expects junior tailback Marcus Lattimore to speak to the media before the bowl game, he said. Lattimore has not made any public comments since suffering a season-ending knee injury against Tennessee. He is eligible to enter the NFL draft this year.
“I don’t have any exact information on that,” Spurrier said. “Marcus will address the media some time.”