Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 8/9/12
LOS ANGELES -- It's Lane Kiffin's first time participating in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches' Poll and he's already made a mistake, the paper says. It's agreed by USA TODAY and the American Football Coaches Association that votes are kept anonymous until the final poll but coaches are allowed to reveal their votes if they wish. However, Kiffin's vote for the number one team in the country has been revealed by USA TODAY. He voted the Trojans as the top team in the country. According to the paper, if a voter gives "false or misleading" information, USA TODAY has the right to reveal their vote. Earlier this week, Kiffin was asked who he voted No. 1 in the Coaches' Poll and the Trojans head coach answered "I can't disclose that." Kiffin was then informed Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez voted USC No. 1 in the Coaches' Poll. He replied, "I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that." Because his comment "misrepresented" his vote, the paper has made his vote public. According to the paper, Kiffin claims to have made a reply as if he were a member of the media or coaching another team. "We have less players than everybody else," Kiffin told USA TODAY. "So looking at it from the outside, I wouldn't (vote USC No. 1). Did I? Yeah, I did. That's not based off of 75 vs. 85. That's based off of (USC players) Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. When everybody has the same record, I can't go into a meeting with our players and have them say, 'You put that team and that team ahead of us.' That's why I did that." According to USC, the paper's decision to make the vote public goes against information the school was originally given. "USA TODAY sent a June 4, 2012, letter to coaches who agreed to vote in its college football poll stating that, except for the final poll of the regular season, 'votes for all other polls will be kept confidential by USA TODAY,' said USC spokesman Tim Tessalone in a statement. "The fact that the leadership of the American Football Coaches Association, which tasks USA TODAY to administer its poll, joined with the poll administrators from USA TODAY to decide to breach that confidentiality by providing to a reporter a coach's vote in its pre-season poll is disappointing and attacks the integrity of the poll. Further, that the reporter who was given this information represents the very organization that conducts the poll is a conflict of journalistic interest." According to USA TODAY, AFCA executive director Grant Teaff sent a letter to Kiffin about the incident. USC officials say Kiffin has not received a letter or a phone call.
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