Selection committee needs an anchor

June, 29, 2012
6/29/12
11:17
AM ET
We know now that a playoff is coming to college football in 2014 and that the teams participating in that playoff will be chosen by a selection committee.

Already, my thoughts go out to those brave souls who will comprise that committee.

Talk about a no-win job.

No matter what they decide, they’re going to be second-guessed, scrutinized and accused of being biased.

Here’s the hard part with a selection committee: Just about everybody you put on there is going to inherently have some bias, whether it’s a conference commissioner, athletic director or former coach.

Let’s go ahead and eliminate one group. I’ve never thought that we in the media should be in the business of covering teams and then deciding which of those teams gets to play for a championship.

That’s simply a line we should not cross.

The same goes for former coaches.

Some of those guys would be ideal and make every effort to get the best four teams in the playoff each year.

Others simply wouldn’t be able to get past old rivalries and old grudges. The problem with former coaches isn’t so much that they would be lobbying to get certain teams and certain coaches into the playoff. It’s more whom they might try to block because of past feuds.

Again, we’re only talking about a minority of former head coaches who wouldn’t be able to set aside past issues, but the problem is that you’d have to rotate these guys on and off the committee. Sooner or later, you can bet there would be a problem, or at the very least, a group of fans raising bloody hell that some former coach wasn’t giving them a fair shake.

So let’s not go down that road, either.

That pretty much leaves conference commissioners and athletic directors, and I think the key again is making sure the panel is large enough (12 to 15 members) to ensure that one or two people don’t have too much power.

There needs to be representation from around the country, both smaller and larger conferences. The public needs to know what set of criteria they are basing their decisions on, and I’d like to see some type of formula out there that’s front and center and measures strength of schedule.

Finally, and this is the most important part of getting the selection committee makeup right, there needs to be a sitting chairman that’s not an athletic director or conference commissioner.

Maybe this guy is a former NFL executive or a high-ranking bowl executive who’s stepped aside. It just has to be somebody who truly knows football and isn’t aligned with any team or conference. And someone who is willing to sink his teeth into the season, travel around and see these teams and know who’s playing the best football come late November.

He’ll know who’s healthy and who’s not. He’ll know which team is limping into the postseason and which team is motoring into the postseason. He’ll know if a team is beating up on paper tigers.

It still won’t be perfect, but it at least gives the selection committee an anchor and somebody to pilot the ship in these uncharted waters.

Chris Low | email

College Football

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