Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Alvarez would be on selection committee
By Adam Rittenberg
MADISON, Wis. -- A playoff arrives for college football in 2014, but the big mystery in the coming months is the committee that will select the four participating teams.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in February that the playoff selection committee will consist of 14-20 members, at least one of whom will represent each of the 10 FBS conferences. Even before the playoff was announced, we debated about who should rep the Big Ten on the selection committee. Should it be a former coach? A former administrator? A current administrator?
One name that has come up a lot is Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who coached the Badgers from 1990-2005. Alvarez already is the Big Ten's representative on the BCS' athletic director advisory group.
A Big Ten athletic director (not Alvarez) recently told me Alvarez would be an excellent choice for the committee. So I asked him about it Tuesday.
"If I were asked, I would serve," Alvarez told ESPN.com. "I would do it."
Alvarez is the face of the Wisconsin program and also has ties to Iowa, where he served as an assistant, and to Nebraska, where he played linebacker in the 1960s. He works closely with presidents and commissioners in his BCS governance role.
Few potential Big Ten representatives can match Alvarez's varied experience. Alvarez advocated for a selection committee in college football as early as last May.
"I didn't like that [BCS] formula with computers and using polls," he said. "I didn't think it was transparent enough."
Alvarez expects the committee to examine factors like strength of schedule, whether the team wins its conference championship, polls and performance at the end of the season. He also thinks the committee will use a formula like the RPI in college basketball with specified criteria.
"It'd be smart to be very transparent week to week," Alvarez said, "and say, 'OK, this is the ranking and this is why,' so people are educated on it. The coaches have to know going in what's going to be weighed and the value of it. And then you can schedule accordingly. Do you use margin of victory or don't you use that? Is a tough win on the road worth more than one at home?
"A lot of those things have to be taken into consideration, but you have to have it laid out."
Alvarez agrees that every league should have representation. He also would like to see media members on the committee to better relay how and why decisions were made.
The pressure on committee members figures to be immense , much more so than what the men's basketball committee faces. There are already jokes being made about putting committee members in the witness protection program.
But Alvarez isn't easily intimidated or thin-skinned. The committee certainly could do worse.