- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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It remains to be seen who will represent the Big Ten on the selection committee for college football's playoff beginning in 2014.
But two of the best choices -- perhaps the two best with Big Ten ties -- both appear willing to serve.
Earlier this week, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told me if asked, he would serve on the selection committee. Former Nebraska football coach and athletic director Tom Osborne then told the Lincoln Journal Star's Steven M. Sipple that he likely would serve on the committee, if asked.
"I would have to look at the parameters, in terms of time commitment and how much you'd have to meet -- those kind of things," Osborne told Sipple on Wednesday. "You're certainly not going to win a lot of friends. No matter what you do, there would be people who would be upset. I haven't been asked, obviously, and don't necessarily anticipate being asked. But if I was, I'd sure think about it."
When the Big Ten formally advocated for a playoff selection committee late last spring, I looked a potential candidates to represent the league. BCS executive director Bill Hancock said last month that the 14- to 20-member committee will feature representatives from the 10 FBS conferences.
Osborne was my top pick to rep the Big Ten on the committee.
The Nebraska AD is well respected throughout the sport. He's smart and fair. And he has been affiliated with multiple conferences (Big Ten, Big Eight/Big 12), which I think is key for selection committee candidates. The committee won't need to be in place until 2014. Osborne, 75, might be retired by then, which could be better than having him on a school's payroll.
Osborne has since retired, and while I'm not opposed to current administrators serving on the committee, the time element would be easier for someone not bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of college athletics.
Alvarez made my list for current administrators, and his background both as an AD and as a successful coach makes him a very good candidate for the committee. He already serves on the BCS athletic director advisory group and has a vision for how the selections should be made and what areas should be emphasized.
If the Big Ten ends up nominating candidates, Osborne and Alvarez would have to be at the top of the list. Both have been in the spotlight throughout their careers. Both know football and can handle criticism.
Other potentially good choices include former Ohio State coach John Cooper, former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, former Purdue coach Joe Tiller and Ohio State AD Gene Smith.