Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Take Two: Forming a selection committee
By Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett
Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett will occasionally give their takes on a burning question facing the league. We'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. We'll let you decide which blogger is right.
The Big Ten on Monday strongly advocated having a selection committee with specific guidelines to determine the four teams in a future college football playoff model. The league thinks the committee -- not the polls or computer rankings -- should make the final decisions on who's in and who's out. Today's Take Two topic is this: How should the selection committee look -- who's on it, how many people, etc. -- and do either of us want to serve as a media representative?
Take 1: Adam Rittenberg
I've got my dark glasses and mustache ready, BB, and I'm taking my address out of the phone book. The truth is I have no interest in serving on the committee. We deal with enough lunatics in this job. The brave souls on the selection committee undoubtedly will face the wrath of some fan bases. That said, I think there are enough people up for the job. The committee should be on the larger side to eliminate the influence of one or two members. I'm thinking 12-14 people, mostly senior-level folks who represent as much of the college football universe as possible. I'm OK with an NCAA tournament selection committee model where members recuse themselves when teams from their leagues are being discussed. I'm not opposed to athletic directors and conference commissioners, but I'd prefer those who have worked for multiple schools and or in multiple leagues. Same goes for any former league or school administrators on the committee. It'd be nice to have a media presence as well, but it would be critical to get someone who knows the national scene and wouldn't let any ties or biases get in the way. I don't want former players on the committee, and I'd be opposed to most former coaches as well. I'd also require the committee to have a very strong majority (75 percent) to approve a team into the playoff.
Take 2: Brian Bennett
You should see the angry emails we get over our weekly Big Ten power rankings during the season. I can't imagine the abuse a selection committee member might endure. I don't want this guy poisoning the cherry blossom in front of my house. I think that fear could actually keep some otherwise qualified people from joining the committee. But I also think about the NCAA tournament basketball selection committee and how rare it is for people to accuse it of regional or conference bias. Sure, that committee takes grief for leaving a team or two out, or giving more weight to power conference teams, but you don't often hear that the committee is in the pocket of, say, the ACC. And other than the chairman who comes on TV to explain the committee's thought process on Selection Sunday, most fans couldn't identify anybody else on that's year's panel. It would be different in football, where fans analyze everything more thoroughly in search of biases real and (mainly) imagined against their teams. But as long as the committee were large enough and had enough diverse regional representation, that shouldn't be an issue. Unlike Adam, I don't mind former coaches being involved, because I think they have the most informed opinions when it comes to the eye test. You would just have to make sure you balanced them out and didn't stack the deck with old SEC coaches, for example. The media should not be in any way involved because there's no way to report on the sport and also determine the playoff participants without losing credibility. While I'm normally for openness, if the committee deliberations were top secret the way they are for basketball, then no one will know for sure who voted for whom, and therefore fans wouldn't know where to direct their ire. Except for the chairman. That person had better have thick skin -- and high walls around his house.