Tuesday, June 26, 2012
3-point stance: Who selects the four?
By Ivan Maisel
1. Before anyone has decided that a committee should select the four teams in the playoff, speculation has begun on the size of the committee and the identity of its appointees. Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, Hall of Famers both, have volunteered. With all due respect, why pick any retired coach? Let’s not make this complicated. Pick commissioners and athletic directors -- as all the other sports have done for decades -- and trust their integrity.
2. The Iron Bowl rivalry spent 40 seasons (1908-47) in the desert before Alabama and Auburn agreed to play again. Taylor Watson, the curator of the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, has unearthed an exchange of letters between officials at the two schools circa 1926 in which Auburn wanted to resume play. In setting aside the request, the Alabama official quoted Auburn then-president Spright Dowell, who had said three years earlier that he feared a “…damaging situation in that foot-ball would tend to become the all-the-year topic at both institutions and all other games, contests, and activities would be made subservient to the one supreme event of the year.” That could never happen.
3. Dowell, continued: “In the interest of fairness and good sportsmanship, it would seem highly desirable to cherish the growing spirit of good will on the part of Auburn for the University, and on the part of the University for Auburn in the hope that all friends of both institutions will desire each to win every game it plays and that the student-bodies may invariably ‘pull’ for each other.” It’s fair to say that President Dowell's worst fears never included a rivalry that could produce a Harvey Updyke.