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|Condoleezza Rice did receive a vote of confidence from Steve Spurrier: "Why not?" he said.|
You could have started the countdown the minute former Secretary of State and current Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice's name was leaked as a potential member of the 2014 College Football Playoff selection committee.
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ...
Oh hey, here comes a crusty old football guy!
"All she knows about football is what somebody told her, or what she read in a book or what she saw on television," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said earlier this week on WJOX 94.5's morning show, The Opening Drive. "To understand football, you've got to play with your hand in the dirt. I love Condoleezza Rice and she's probably a good statesman and all of that, but how in the hell does she know what it's like out there when you can't get your breath and it's 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?"
"Probably a good statesman and all of that?" Like it's so much more complicated to be a football coach than help guide the country's administration through a war.
And ahead of Dye was ESPN analyst David Pollack, who said women shouldn't be on the committee during a College GameDay segment this past weekend.
"I want people on this committee, guys that can watch tape," Pollack said. "Yes, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams, on tape, not on paper ... "
Dye and Pollack are doing what some men have done for generations, and that's to decry women's gains into yet another boys' club. Whether it was female reporters finally gaining access to male locker rooms, women who wanted to run marathons, or women who wanted to play golf at their private clubs, there are always a few who stand up to talk about how two X chromosomes is an automatic disqualification.
Power never wants to give up power, and that's what this College Football Playoff selection committee represents to some of these guys. It's their fiefdom -- no girls allowed.
As Yahoo!'s Pat Forde pointed out, there have been plenty of men on the committee over the years who somehow managed to make football decisions without growing up with a "hand in the dirt." Others had positions that kept them from poring over years of game tape. Somehow they have escaped the scrutiny of men like Dye and Pollack.
So you think Rice can't relate to 110 degrees and can't get her breath? Rice was in actual war rooms. You'd think given her experience as Secretary of State that people in football would get that Rice can handle the pressure. Auburn plays some pretty big games, but football is a sport where the word "battle" is still a metaphor.
She has also been a provost at Stanford and visible football fan throughout her career. If anything, Rice is too qualified. Whether you agree with some of the controversial decisions she made while in politics, Rice is an intellectual heavyweight compared to the Pat Dyes of the world.
But Rice must be used to dealing with the old guard. This is a woman who broke barriers at Augusta National; she's been dealing with doubters for the duration of her time in the public eye, whether she was attempting to negotiate peace or weighing the necessity of war.
And college football, after all, is only a game.