Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Who could rep B1G on playoff committee?
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten on Monday expressed its strong desire for a selection committee to choose teams in a potential four-team college football playoff. League commissioner Jim Delany was pointed in his criticism of the polls (biased, statistically flawed) and the computer systems (non-transparent), and Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman said those at his level would be comfortable with a committee, as long as it receives certain guidelines.
Is the selection committee a perfect solution? No. Would there be challenges in assembling such a committee and concerns about biases? Without a doubt. Would the group need to earn the public's trust over time? Absolutely. But the committee seems like a better solution than the current methods, as long as it has some transparency.
My sense is the selection committee component ultimately will bring the leagues together on a model during the next few weeks. It shouldn't be that hard of a sell to most conferences.
The big question, then, is who serves on such a committee? Brian Bennett and I debated the topic this week. Brian is more open to former coaches being on the committee than I am, although neither of us have closed the door.
Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden says he'll serve. Colleague Joe Schad reports that other former coaches, including former Ohio State boss John Cooper and former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, also are up for the job.
"I would love to do this," Cooper said. "I would love to be a part of it. My life revolves around college football and coaching. I would vote for the best team, regardless of conference. And I know we all would operate that way."
My top criteria is to find individuals who have connections to multiple conferences.
A committee clearly has to represent the sport nationally as best as possible, so who would be best to rep the Big Ten in the room? There are so many possibilities, but I tried to narrow them down a bit.
My top pick is actually a former coach who is still involved in the sport as an athletic director: Tom Osborne. 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.
Here are a few other potential candidates with Big Ten ties:
John Cooper, 74: Coached at Ohio State from 1988-2000. Also was a Pac-10 head coach (Arizona State) and an assistant in the SEC and Big Eight.
Lloyd Carr, 66: Coached at Michigan from 1995-2007. Also a Michigan assistant from 1980-94. Retired as an associate athletic director in 2010.
Hayden Fry, 83: Coached at Iowa from 1979-1998. Texas native played at Baylor, and made several coaching stops in former Southwest Conference.
Bill Mallory, 77: Coached at Indiana from 1984-96. Also coached in Big Eight at Colorado, and has roots in the Mid-American Conference.
George Perles, 77: Coached Michigan State from 1983-94. Served as Michigan State's athletic director from 1990-92.
Joe Tiller, 69: Coached at Purdue from 1997-2008. Also coached at Wyoming, and served as a Pac-10 assistant at Washington State.
Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin athletic director: Wisconsin football coach from 1990-2005. Played at Nebraska, and served as an assistant at Notre Dame and Iowa.
Jim Delany, Big Ten commissioner: Has served in role since 1989. Worked for NCAA from 1975-79. Served on several NCAA committees. Played basketball at North Carolina.
Mark Hollis, Michigan State athletic director: Has served in role since 2008. Also worked at Pitt and for the Western Athletic Conference. Recently named 2012 athletic director of the year by SportsBusiness Journal.
Tom Osborne, Nebraska athletic director: Has served in role since 2007. Nebraska football coach from 1973-97. Nebraska assistant from 1964-72. Former member of U.S. House of Representatives.
Jim Phillips, Northwestern athletic director: Has served in role since 2008. Former administrator at Notre Dame, Tennessee and Northern Illinois, and also spent time as a basketball coach at Arizona State.
Gene Smith, Ohio State athletic director: Has served in role since 2005. Led athletic departments in Big Ten, Big 12 (Iowa State), Pac-12 (Arizona State) and MAC (Eastern Michigan). Former Notre Dame football player. Former chair of NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee.
Looking outside the coach/administrator model, Tony Dungy might be an interesting candidate. He's a Michigan native and a former quarterback at Minnesota who is well respected throughout the sports world. Former longtime Big Ten ADs like Ron Guenther (Illinois) and Pat Richter (Wisconsin) also might be potential options.
Who would you want to see on a selection committee?