Our beloved college football playoff just got a bit more real with the announcement of the selection committee. These people will choose not only the 4 teams to compete for the championship, but the teams to compete in the non-contract New Year’s Day bowls: Cotton, Fiesta and Chick-Fil-A. So who are they? Did the NCAA get it right?
The members of the selection committee are:
- Jeff Long, vice chancellor and director of athletics, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Chair
- Barry Alvarez, director of athletics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Lieutenant General Mike Gould, former superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy
- Pat Haden, director of athletics, University of Southern California
- Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
- Oliver Luck, director of athletics, West Virginia University
- Archie Manning, former University of Mississippi quarterback and all-pro NFL quarterback
- Tom Osborne, former head coach and director of athletics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Dan Radakovich, director of athletics, Clemson University
- Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor, former Stanford provost and former United States Secretary of State
- Mike Tranghese, former commissioner of the Big East Conference
- Steve Wieberg, former college football reporter, USA Today
- Tyrone Willingham, former head coach of three FBS institutions
I know what you are thinking. Current administrators? How can this be!? I thought the same thing. Having the current athletic directors of various programs is insane. The good news? They can balance each other out to eliminate bias. There are 13 people on the committee after all. I doubt they will ever act unanimously, but you never know. I anticipate a lot of contention, especially between the current athletic directors. Former player, coaches and administrators are fine, and I wish the whole committee looked that way, but oh well.
So just what is their job? There has been some confusion about the playoff so let me clear it up. First, this committee will determine which four teams compete in the playoff. They will seed those teams and 1 plays 4, 2 plays 3. There are 6 bowls that will alternate as sites for these semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-Fil-A. In 2014, next season, the Rose and Sugar bowls will host the semifinal games. The season after, the Orange and one of the other three will host. The following season, the other two host and then they start the rotation over again. The championship game is bidded out and the first playoff championship will be at Cowboys Stadium.
I think this is a great system. When not hosting a semi-final game, bowls can keep their traditional tie-ins. Others will have the committee decide who plays. I think it’s a good format. For example, if the season ended after this week, here’s a scenario:
Playoff: (1) Alabama vs (4) Ohio State at the Sugar Bowl and (2) Oregon vs (3) Clemson/FSU winner at the Rose Bowl
Orange Bowl: Clemson/FSU loser vs Louisville
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs UCLA
Cotton Bowl: LSU vs Oklahoma
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs Stanford
That’s one example of what they could come up with. It would be great because you know we would get great matchups, unlike say 8-4 Uconn going to a BCS bowl against Oklahoma. No automatic anything. Just educated people who know the game deciding who plays who. Room for bias? Sure, but they should balance each other out. At least I hope they do.