Thursday, May 30, 2013
Playoff committee seat a demanding task
By Brian Bennett
As we get closer to the dawn of the College Football Playoff, conferences are submitting names of potential selection committee members this spring. The more we learn about the committee, the more the question shifts from who from the Big Ten should take part to who has the time and desire to sign up for this demanding job.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the playoff, said during the SEC spring meetings that the committee could meet up to five times during the 2014 season, with each meeting lasting three or four days. Big 12 commissioner Bill Bowlsby compared the time commitment required to that of the basketball selection committee.
"There's going to be a lot of film study. There's going to be a lot of travel," Bowlsby told reporters. "The last year I was on the men's basketball committee, I think I was in the hotel 66 nights for the basketball committee. I think there's going to be a similar level of commitment that's going to be required from this."
The time and travel requirement is one reason conference commissioners have decided that they won't serve on the panel. Hancock said active athletic directors could be eligible, but that playoff officials are focusing more on former administrators, coaches and media members.
That makes sense. While Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez is an obvious choice for the committee, the demands on any current administrator could be too much, not to mention the extreme pressure involved. It's one thing when the basketball committee gets criticized for tournament seeding or its decisions on bubble teams among the final 68. The scrutiny will be more intense when there are only four teams involved. Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley issued the following warning about serving on the committee:
"There are people that will tear into your background. They will try to find anything they can to discredit you. Your email will blow up with people raising hell with you. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that."
We don't know what names the Big Ten has or plans to submit as potential candidates and we may never know the full list. Bowlsby told reporters that he has suggested about 15 people, including current and former ADs, ex-conference commissioners, retired coaches and former media members.
Hancock expects to receive about 100 names, and the selection committee will eventually have between 12 and 20 members and will be formed by the end of this season.
If playoff officials decide that former coaches and administrators are the best way to go, the Big Ten still offers a lot of options in that regard. Recently retired Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne seems like the ideal choice, assuming he wants to put in all that work. Former coaches like Ohio State's John Cooper, Michigan's Lloyd Carr and Purdue's Joe Tiller also make sense.
The question is, how many of them really want the gig?