Coaches poll: Leavitt votes Cincy No. 2, Pitt high
For the first time since September, we're able to see how USF coach Jim Leavitt voted on his ballot in the USA Today coaches poll, and there's certainly a loyalty to his fellow Big East coaches.
Leavitt voted undefeated Cincinnati No. 2 on his ballot, ahead of consensus No. 2 Texas -- he was one of just 10 coaches not to have Texas in the top two. The only coach to vote Cincinnati higher was the Bearcats' Brian Kelly, who gave his own team his first-place vote and was the only coach not to have Alabama or Texas atop his ballot.
Leavitt also had Pittsburgh No. 12, matching the highest position the Panthers held on any ballot. Not too many other surprises -- the only team on his ballot that wasn't ranked in the overall top 25 was East Carolina, who he had at No. 25 as one of 15 coaches to vote for the Pirates.
You can check out all the coaches' ballots at USAtoday.com, which has a great interactive grid that makes it easy to view the poll voter by voter or school by school.
Of course, Leavitt isn't the only coach whose ballot deserves closer inspection:
--FSU's Bobby Bowden had some nuances -- he voted Florida No. 3, and only one coach (Air Force's Troy Calhoun) had the Gators higher. He was the only coach to leave No. 16 Pittsburgh off the ballot, and was one of three to leave No. 18 Oklahoma State off as well. He seemed to like the traditional powers more than most -- he had USC No. 23, was one of two coaches to vote for Oklahoma (Bob Stoops was the other) and was the only coach to put Georgia on his ballot. Bowden had five unranked teams on his ballot, the most of any of the coaches in the poll.
-- Other coaches who thought a lot of their teams: TCU's Gary Patterson put his own team No. 2, one of six coaches to rank the Horned Frogs that high; Missouri's Gary Pinkel put his team No. 22, accounting for four of the Tigers' five vote-points; North Carolina's Butch Davis put his team No. 24, the only coach to vote for his team; Stanford's Jim Harbaugh put his team 12th, five spots higher than any other coach. Texas Tech's Mike Leach gave his own team its second-highest ranking, as did Nebraska's Bo Pelini.
-- Highest-ranked teams left off a ballot? No. 13 LSU was left off by Louisiana-Monroe's Charlie Weatherbie, while Robb Akey of Idaho left No. 15 Miami off his ballot. And just strange: Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill voted South Carolina (where he worked before coming to MTSU) No. 18, but no other coach had the Gamecocks ranked.