College football is entering a brand new world two seasons from now, with four teams battling for the national title in a three-game playoff. Those four teams will be selected by a committee, the makeup and size of which is yet to be determined.
What's the best way to piece together the people who will get the first chance to make history in 2014?
To put it simply: Make it big and make it diverse. College football is rid of the BCS and its shady, unexplained computer formulas and the Harris poll filled with its undereducated, unprepared voters.
The goal of the new committee should be to fix those problems, but any committee faces problems of its own.
Admitted or not, everyone has biases. Those will be on full display for any committee member whose résumé will be picked apart the second they're named one of the lucky few to select college football's elite.
Balance it out. A big committee full of people from different regions possessing different viewpoints is the best way to account for those biases and satisfy the paranoid masses that obsess over college football.
Former coaches? You're in. Welcome, Barry Switzer.
Conference administrators? You're in, too.
Current coaches? Sorry, you're out now. Too close for comfort.
Athletic directors? You're in.
Media members? Welcome. You'll be heavily vetted, but the best of the bunch may be the most objective members of the entire panel.
Bring in folks from the West Coast. Bring plenty from the East Coast. Bring in faces from the Midwest. Those conference administrators and athletic directors? A few from major-conference teams and a few from the Sun Belt and WAC better get a chance to have their voices heard.
But, David, that's a poll, not a committee!
Yeah, it is. Who cares? It's a poll with 25-40 people who know exactly what they're talking about and are well aware of the responsibility and time requirements for what they're undertaking. Ballots won't be hastily put together on a late Saturday night to be released on a Sunday afternoon.
Committee members must be required somehow to watch games from coast to coast. How do you mandate or monitor that? Any programmers know how to make an iPad app that tracks what's being watched on a cable box or on the iPad itself? Just an idea. The stats for that are going public. Don't want to watch games? Prepare to have folks campaign to get you off the committee.
Three times a year (October, November, and finally, December), on a Monday conference, the committee meets in person and discusses the past month of football. Committee members file a public ballot and each month, the top four teams (and only those four teams) are released to the public. Media members on the committee? Congratulations. You've just won three must-read columns per season from inside the committee meeting room.
At the end of the season, consider the conference champions, but above all, give me the four best teams. Two teams from a conference can get in, sure. But if a team outside that top four owns the conference title hardware that season, tough luck for a team from that conference inside the top four. Better luck next year. You had your chance.
Transparency was missing from plenty of the computer polls. It'll be present with the committee. No one will have a weighted voice. Everyone on the committee would have a vote, and ballots would be balanced from a variety of perspectives.
That's how it should be done.