By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
ESPN analyst Craig James has drawn the ire of Boise State football fans again this week with his ballot in The Associated Press Top 25.
James ranked the Broncos 24th — seven spots lower than any of the other 59 panelists. And those seven points were costly. If James had voted the Broncos 17th, they’d be tied for No. 6 instead of tied for No. 9.
Earlier this year, James railed against the Broncos as national title contenders on ESPN’s “BCS Countdown” show.
James had the Broncos ranked No. 8 before their loss to TCU, tied for the lowest among AP voters. He dropped them to No. 25 after that one-point loss.
This week, James has the Broncos (10-1) behind Notre Dame (8-4), Texas (7-4) and Missouri (7-5). He has Virginia Tech at No. 4 and Houston at No. 5, two teams that have faced softer schedules than the Broncos.
Meanwhile, Boise State is as high as No. 3 on one ballot and ranks in the top 10 on 46 of 60 ballots.
All this led me to ask The Associated Press whether James’ ballot is cause for concern. After all, the voter guidelines say “homerism” will be challenged and “could lead to dismissal from the poll board” and voters should “avoid regional bias, for or against.”
“We have no reason to step in,” AP sports editor Terry Taylor said in an e-mail. “Craig does his homework and has strong opinions about where he ranks teams.”
I am attempting to get comment from James.
Here is James' ballot.
Here is a breakdown of James' ballot from The Big Lead.