AP Voters Likely Won't Know Urban Meyer's Fate Before Ballots Are Due on Monday

By Kevin Harrish on August 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm
One way or another, Ohio State's ranking likely won't be accurate.

The preseason AP Poll will be released on Monday Aug. 20 – a week from tomorrow – and we have no idea where the Buckeyes will be ranked, mostly because voters likely have no idea where to rank them.

While it's likely Meyer's fate will be known by the time the poll is released, it almost certainly won't be known by the time ballots are due on Monday Aug. 13 – a week in advance of the poll's release.

This leaves voters with an obvious dilemma of where to rank the Buckeyes, forcing them to speculate whether Meyer will return, will be hit with a suspension or will be terminated ahead of the 2018 season.

It's difficult enough to accurately rank teams before a single college football game has been played, not even knowing who will be coaching a top team certainly compounds that.

Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times is one of those AP Voters, and he wrote about that dilemma earlier this week: 

With Ohio State's investigation into Urban Meyer expected to wrap up within two weeks, the Buckeyes should know whether he's coaching them before their Sept. 1 season opener against Oregon State.

Unfortunately, that timeline means I probably won't know Meyer's long-term status when my preseason AP Top 25 ballot is due Monday.

To be clear, football isn't the most important part of the situation in Columbus. The domestic violence accusations involving former receivers coach Zach Smith are serious. The questions about what Meyer knew and did (or didn't know and didn't do) are serious, too, which is why the unquestioned No. 2 coach in the game is on administrative leave.

But as a college football reporter, I have a college football dilemma:

What should I do with the Buckeyes?

For context, the coaches poll, which was taken well in advance of Meyer's paid administrative leave, ranked Ohio State No. 3, which is consistent with nearly every other preseason publication.

Sports Illustrated, though from a nation-wide poll, released their rankings after Meyer was placed on administrative leave and had the Buckeyes at No. 9. While they never explicitly stated Meyer's uncertain status was the reason, it's a safe assumption, based on the timing and the wide difference between their ranking and the national consensus.

Ultimately, this is a trivial in the grand scheme of things. The final College Football Playoff rankings are the only ones with real ramifications and the AP Poll will be updated after the first week of the season anyway.

Still, it will be interesting to see what pollsters do with the Buckeyes when rankings are released next Monday.

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