Frustrated Fan Starts Peoples Poll

Auburn, Ala.--The 2004 Peoples National Championship Poll voting opened Saturday for the fans to decide for themselves the one thing that the coaches, writers and computers couldn't agree on--who is number one?

"If there's a coaches poll and a writers poll, why shouldn't there be a fan poll?" says the architect of the new system, 17-year-old George Brown. "We need to take back what is ours, and that is college football. Without us there would be no sportswriters, there would be no coaches and there wouldn't be any college football."

Brown, an Opelika, Ala., High School student, decided to start a website at http://www.fanspoll.com where the fans can vote on their number one from the five undefeated teams--USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah and Boise State. Voting opened on Dec. 11 and will run through Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. If a team loses its bowl game, it will be eliminated from the poll.

"The announcement is going to made at the ESPN Zone (in Atlanta) on Jan. 8," Brown says. "The trophy is going to presented on Jan. 28 on the campus of the school that wins. Jim Donnan is going to present the trophy with Mike Gottfried of ESPN."

The trophy stands at 25-inches tall and can been seen on the website. It will likely be presented during the halftime of a basketball game at the winning school.

Brown says that he's received much support and has several upcoming TV and radio appearances to spread the word. "They're supporting it as much as they can," he says of Donnan and Gottfried. "Jim Donnan has done a really good job of getting the word out to people."

Brown says he is hopeful that ESPN will do a report on the Peoples Poll during a college football broadcast, Brown says. He also expects Gottfried to discuss the poll during a telecast of a bowl game.

"We've already had a column written in The Birmingham News (by Kevin Scarbinsky on Wednesday)," Brown says. "I'll be going on SportsNite at 5 p.m. central time on Comcast Sports (on Saturday, Dec. 11). I'll also be doing a radio show in Atlanta on 790AM The Fan on Dec. 17, and WANI on Monday at 8:30 p.m."

Brown, admittedly an Auburn fan upset about the BCS system, says that he's not just doing this for the Tigers. Auburn finished the regular season unbeaten and then won the SEC Championship Game vs. Tennessee to improve to 12-0. However, the Tigers are ranked third in the Bowl Championship Series rankings and did not receive an invitation to the BCS championship game at the Orange Bowl. USC, which is number one in the BCS ratings, will play No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl while Auburn faces 10-2 Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

"The way I'm looking at it is that I'm doing it for the rest of college football," he says. "It could be anybody. The reason we decided to do this is because the system is unfair. That's the bottom line. The system is unfair. If this can happen to Auburn it could happen to Alabama, Tennessee or anyone."

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