The problem with using an RPI for football is when you have a case where teams are required to play by law. (I'm pretty sure Utah and Utah St are required...there was a post a few years ago on another board about the subject that had like 5 or 6 required matchups) I know there are several others, but Clemson and South Carolina are required by state law to play each year in every varsity sport where both schools field teams. In basketball with the number of games one game against your required rival when they suck doesn't hurt as much as it would in football with 11 or 12 games.
So Catdaddy, how many game should be in a college football season to allow for bad SOS (state required or by contract)?
Also, basketball tends to set up their schedules in a shorter time frame than football. I know that Clemson already has OOC games set up for 2011 against Auburn and Oklahoma. What happens if both of those schools have a collapse like Oklahoma did during the mid 90's?
Some pollsters are very knowledgeable people who take this into account. I think that the coaches poll is very much aware of this fact, and they take it into consideration when voting.