I recently interviewed the great Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News to discuss a topic that is inevitably discussed this time of year, as the BCS championship teams are to be selected.  Chengelis is one of the voters in the weekly Associated Press college football poll which is not an input in today’s BCS formula, but still has a key role in the whole mess.   Ask USC, who claims a share of the 2004 national title based on its top ranking in the final AP poll.

Beyond voting, we talked a bit about her relationship with Lloyd Carr and her new book, 100 Things Michigan Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.  The full interview is available on

On voting:

MVictors: Do you know anyone who’s been punished or removed as a voter from the AP Poll?
Angelique: That’s a really good question and I haven’t.  I have to be honest when they revise the voter list each season I wonder about that. 

I actually have a story with regard to me.  There was that Minnesota game one year that went really, really late into the night.  I was sitting at the Metrodome until two or three in the morning and I had a really early flight so I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my vote in the next morning.  In my fatigue and kind of harried state, I left Oklahoma out of the top 25 and they should have been in there at 10 or 11 if I recall correctly.  I got hammered by Oklahoma fans by emails.  I was straight up and told them it was totally a mistake, that I was pressed by travel and stayed up late and all that.  I was even responding to people, saying, ‘Look, maybe I shouldn’t vote anymore,’ and, ‘I’m really ashamed of this mistake.’ But then the Oklahoma fans really supported me and thanked me for being so honest, and told me I should keep voting.  I talked it over and it was an honest mistake and I moved on.  For Oklahoma, my vote had nothing to do on whether they stayed in or out of the poll, but to this day that incident sticks with me every time I go to vote.

MVictors: So how do voters actually submit their vote each week?  I would assume you see how you voted the week prior?  Or do you have to put a fresh ballot in each week?
Angelique: I send in a fresh ballot each week.

MVictors: When you say ‘send in’, do you submit an online form or do you email something in like a Word document or a spreadsheet or something?
Angelique: I just send in an email, ranking the teams 1-25.   I have a couple different email addresses that I send it to and that’s what I’ve always done.  You’d think it’d be more formal, wouldn’t you?

Yes, I would!

On her relationship with Lloyd Carr and a bit on her new book:

MVictors: Speaking of the challenges with the coaches, people talk about you having a special relationship with Lloyd Carr – is that true?  Do you feel like you had a unique relationship with Coach Carr?
Angelique: Yeah I do, and I think it grew.  Even though I’d known him as the defensive coordinator, when he became the head coach, those first two years there was a lot of friction between us.  I wasn’t crazy about him and I don’t think he liked me.  I wish I could tell you what the moment was when I thought, ‘Huh, I really like Lloyd Carr and really respect him.’   And I think he had sort of a mutual feeling for me as far as respect.  I think we did develop something and it was always professional because I felt like I could be hard on his teams when I needed to be.  I think we had a lot of trust and had a lot of fun ribbing each other.  I loved those Monday press conference; those were my favorites.

MVictors: Do you still talk to Coach Carr?

Angelique: Yes, and he wrote the forward to the book that I did, and that was a nice thing to do.  It was challenging for him because I don’t think he’s used to writing something like that, so it took him awhile to put down his thoughts.  I happened to run into him recently and it’s always fun to see him.

MVictors: Speaking of 100 Things… , it’s been out for a while now.  How do you market this book for the many of us out there that maybe aren’t your traditional bookworms, those that patrol the message boards and read blogs?

Angelique: It’s supposed to be sort of an interactive thing.  Sure there are basic things like knowing about Bo Schembechler and the winged helmet, but there are also ways for fans to be interactive and I do include things like the message boards and how people can subscribe, and join chats and be involved on a daily basis.  I talk about how fans can experience things like how to running out on the field in Michigan Stadium.  Things like that.  So it’s just not just a primer on Michigan football history, it’s about how to be involved.

Check out the full interview here.

Other interviews on this site.


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  2. In regards to the formality of the AP voting, I worked at the AP for several years before e-mail became common. In those years, the writers would phone in their picks, usually late at night, and you could tell they were sometimes picking the order of the teams on the fly. It wasn’t uncommon that I would have to track down a voter, who had forgotten to call in.

  3. @alkaline
    That is really interesting. It seems that the blogpoll has a more formalized mechanism for collecting and tabulating votes than does the AP. Go figure!