Paul Johnson’s coaches poll ballot

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson's ballot reflected his perceptions of two conferences in particular - the ACC and the SEC. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s ballot reflected his perceptions of two conferences in particular – the ACC and the SEC. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Let’s just say Paul Johnson doesn’t spend a lot of time watching the SEC Network.

The Georgia Tech coach, who has made clear his thoughts about the attention and praise that the SEC receives, took a lesser view of most SEC teams than his peers in the USA Today coaches poll. Of the seven SEC teams that he voted for, he voted five below their cumulative ranking, one even with it and one above it. Johnson, who has steadfastly refused invitations to participate in the poll, relented and became a voter this season.

Of the five ACC teams on his ballot, he voted three above their ranking and two even, including his. That included Duke, which gave the Jackets their only home loss this season. He gave the No. 24 slot to the Blue Devils, who received the fourth most votes among teams out of the top 25.

His votes for teams from the other three power conferences were more of a mix.

“I almost feel like I defend the (ACC) like I have to do the offense,” Johnson said last week. “Just like there are probably some good basketball teams in the SEC, there are good football teams in the ACC. The conferences are perceived almost exactly opposite. It’s good for the league to have that kind of day (Nov. 29, when the ACC went 4-0 against the SEC). I think it was important. We’ve talked about that as coaches. If you’re going to change the perception, you need to win some of those games.”

Johnson’s ballot, with the variance from the actual rankings.

1. Florida State (+1)
2. Alabama (-1)
3. Oregon (0)
4. TCU (+2)
5. Baylor (0)
6. Ohio State (-2)
7. Michigan State (0)
8. Mississippi State (0)
9. Georgia Tech (0)
10. Arizona (+1)
11. Kansas State (-1)
12. Wisconsin (+5)
13. Missouri (+1)
14. Ole Miss (-2)
15. Georgia (-2)
16. UCLA (-1)
17. Arizona State (-1)
18. Clemson (0)
19. Louisville (+1)
20. Boise State (+1)
21. Auburn (-2)
22. Oklahoma (+2)
23. Nebraska (-1)
24. Duke (+5)
25. LSU (-2)

The poll had Utah at No. 25.

ACC (5 teams): Three teams higher than poll, two even

Big 10 (4): One team higher, one even, two below

Big 12 (4): Two teams higher, one even, one below

Pac-12 (4): One team higher, one even, two below

SEC (7): One team higher, one even, five below

Mountain West (1): One team higher

You can view the ballots here.


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