Luck: Committee has focal points
College football is entering a brave new world this fall with a new four-team playoff that will be put together by a College Football Playoff selection committee.
One of the 13 committee members, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, shared some details with ESPN.com about what specifically the committee will be looking for when deciding who and and who won't will be included in the playoff.
"I think we all realize there are going to be some tough calls to make -- that's inevitable," Luck said. "We have our three or four bullet points. Strength of schedule. We are to reward conference championships no matter how they come about, whether it's a conference championship game, or in the Big 12 -- that counts for something to win your conference. There are those standards, which are pretty straightforward."
Luck admitted it would be impossible for every committee member to watch every game of college football this season. That's why Luck said the committee also would be leaning heavily on analytics and technology to help differentiate teams.
"I'm not sure this committee could do this without the technology that exists today," he said. "All the stuff these analytics guys are going to provide us is going to be extraordinarily helpful. We'll be able to call up any game, in whatever sequence we'd like. For example, all third downs for Missouri when they were playing Texas A&M. We'll have all that access, which will be really helpful.
"But we're also going to use our eyeballs. Everyone also has their friends, their former teammates or former coaches or whatever. We'll all use our support systems a little bit differently. But ultimately, with only one goal: to make the best decision we can."
One of the sharpest criticisms the committee has faced so far is its recusal policy, which basically only applies to those currently employed by a particular school. For example, the policy doesn't apply to committee member Tom Osborne, who no longer coaches at Nebraska, or Archie Manning, who isn't employed by Ole Miss, but played quarterback there and whose son, Eli, played quarterback there as well.
The recusal policy also doesn't apply to conference affiliation. Luck said the five sitting athletic directors on the committee -- Arkansas' Jeff Long, Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, USC's Pat Haden, Clemson's Dan Radakovich and Luck -- from the power five conferences all will be sharing information about teams from their leagues. But they won't be shilling for them.
"At the end of the day, we realize we're on there not to represent our conferences," Luck said. "I'm not a shill for the Big 12. Barry Alvarez is not going to shill for the Big Ten. I'm not wearing a Big 12 hat at the table. I'll know a little bit more about the Big 12 than the Big Ten, which is one of the reasons we wanted me to be able to talk about the Big 12 and not have to leave the room. I think each one of the ADs is really a worthwhile expert on his conference. I don't think I have any inherent conflicts, nor do any of the four sitting ADs, nor does Archie, who's an SEC guy because that's where he went to school and where his boys played. I don't think I'll be favorable or unfavorable to the Pac-12 because my kid (former Stanford QB Andrew Luck) played in the Pac-12. I don't think that's a real worry."
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