Pac-12 football: How Pac-12 coaches voted in the final USA Today Top 25 poll

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The close of the college football season brings one of the most entertaining events of the year: The public release of the final ballots in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 poll.

The 63 ballots are kept private each week through the regular season — what stellar transparency! — so we are forced to wait until the very end to see the favoritism and hypocrisy in all their glory.

For example, Alabama coach Nick Saban voted his very own Crimson Tide second on the final ballot, behind Georgia — a full three spots above Alabama's position in the poll.

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun followed Saban's approach with his own team. The Falcons, who failed to crack the top 25, were No. 19 on Calhoun's ballot.

In contrast, Penn State coach James Franklin voted his Nittany Lions seventh, mirroring PSU's placement in the poll.

We were curious about the four Pac-12 coaches who voted in USA Today's poll this season: Arizona's Jedd Fisch, Utah's Kyle Whittingham, Washington's Kalen DeBoer and Washington State's Jake Dickert.

Where did they slot Utah, the conference champion that was steamrollered in the Rose Bowl?

How did they handle Washington, the hottest team in the league at the end of the season?

Did any of them slot Oregon State ahead of Oregon?

Did all four include UCLA?

All in all, there were no egregious decisions, but their ballots were interesting nonetheless.

For example, DeBoer was one of the two coaches who voted UW sixth, above Tennessee and Penn State and two spots higher than the Huskies' overall placement. (The other was Nevada's Ken Wilson.)

Noteworthy? Yes.

Unjustified? Nope.

Three of the four coaches ranked Washington above Utah. The exception: Whittingham slotted his Utes No. 10 and the Huskies No. 11.

Only Dickert ranked USC above Utah, even though the Utes beat the Trojans twice.

Fisch's ballot most closely mirrored the overall poll, while Dickert's had the greatest deviation.

All four coaches had the teams closely bunched (aside from UCLA), with Whittingham using five consecutive slots (10-14) for Pac-12 teams.

Here are the positions of Pac-12 teams on each coach's ballot and how they compare to placement in the top-25 poll.


No. 6: Washington (+2)
No. 12 Utah (-1)
No. 15: USC (-2)
No. 16: Oregon State (+1)
No. 17 Oregon (-1)
No. 25: UCLA (-4)
Total differential: -5


No. 7: Washington (+1)
No. 10: USC (+3)
No. 11: Utah (–)
No. 12: Oregon State (+5)
No. 13: Oregon (+3)
No. 22: UCLA (-1)
Total differential: +11


No. 8: Washington (–)
No. 12 Utah (-1)
No. 13: USC (–)
No. 16: Oregon (–)
No. 18: Oregon State (-1)
No. 22: UCLA (-1)
Total differential: -3


No. 10: Utah (+1)
No. 11: Washington (-3)
No. 12: USC (+1)
No. 13: Oregon State (+4)
No. 14: Oregon (+2)
No. 23: UCLA (-2)
Total differential: +3

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Jon Wilner
Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at

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