WASHINGTON — Florida (12-1) topped the charts after quarterback Tim Tebow threw three touchdown passes to win the SEC championship game 31-20 over Alabama (12-1), but it's a tougher call to say whether he's the fan favorite for the Heisman Trophy, according to the weekly Ipsos Fan First Poll.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy got 23 percent of the vote, Tebow received 22 percent and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford got 19 percent among all the poll participants.
And while respondents to the Fan First Poll agreed with the BCS that Florida and Oklahoma (12-1) are the top two teams, they overwhelmingly preferred a playoff system to determine the national champion. The Sooners clobbered No. 22 Missouri (9-4) by 62-21 in the Big 12 championship game.
Seventy percent of the poll's respondents said they wanted a playoff system. Of those who preferred a playoff, 47 percent backed an eight-team field, 27 percent wanted a four-team field and 26 percent liked the idea of a 16-team field.
When they were asked why they preferred a playoff system, 45 percent said it was the best way to determine the best team, while 36 percent said they liked the idea of eliminating the controversy over polls and computer rankings.
While Texas (11-1) ranked third behind Oklahoma and Florida in the BCS and coaches' poll and third behind Florida-Oklahoma in the sportswriters' poll, the Longhorns were fourth in the Fan First Poll, with Alabama at No. 3. The Crimson Tide was ranked fourth in the other three polls, tied with Southern California in the coaches' poll.
The Trojans (11-1) were fifth in the Fan First Poll after beating crosstown rival UCLA 28-7.
Closing out the Top Ten in the Fan First Poll were Penn State (11-1 and headed for a Rose Bowl date with USC), Texas Tech (11-1, headed to the Cotton Bowl to face Mississippi, which is unranked in the Fan First Poll at 8-4), Utah (12-0, which will face Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl), Boise State (12-0, and bound for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to face No. 15 TCU (10-2)), and Ohio State (10-2), which faces Texas in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Ipsos College Football Fan First Poll
1 Florida (12-1) ..... 2
2 Oklahoma (12-1) ..... 3
3 Alabama (12-1) ..... 1
4 Texas (11-1) ..... 4
5 Southern California (11-1) ..... 5
6 Penn State (11-1) ..... 7
7 Texas Tech (11-1) ..... 6
8 Utah (12-0) ..... 8
9 Boise State (12-0) ..... 10
10 Ohio State (10-2) ..... 9
11 Cincinnati (11-2) ..... 13
12 Ball State (12-1) ..... 11
13 Oklahoma State (9-3) ..... 12
14 Georgia (9-3) ..... 16
15 TCU (10-2) ..... 14
16 BYU (10-2) ..... 15
17 Virginia Tech (9-4) ..... Unranked
18 Michigan State (9-3) ..... 22
19 Georgia Tech (9-3) ..... 18
20 Oregon (9-3) ..... 21
21 Pittsburgh (9-3) ..... 24
22 Missouri (9-4) ..... 17
23 Tulsa (10-3) ..... 20
24 Northwestern (9-3) ..... 25
25 Boston College (9-4) ..... 19
METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION:
For this survey, a national representative sample of 738 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel were interviewed online (424 college fans and 182 avid college fans). Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Statistical margins of error aren't applicable to online polls because they're based on samples drawn from opt-in online panels, not on random samples that mirror the population within a statistical probability ratio. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.
Fans in this poll are selected in a rigorous multistage process. First, a representative sample of U.S. adults is selected from the Ipsos online panel. Of this sample, about 56 percent are college football fans, here defined as watching at least one college football game in a year. Ipsos then selects "avid football fans," representing about 42 percent of all football fans, or 23 percent of the adult population. The definition of "avid football fans" is based on an index of how often the fan watches college football games on television, listens to them on the radio and attends games in person as well as reads newspaper and magazine articles related to college football.