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Selection committee still a giant question mark for College Football Playoff

100th Rose Bowl Game Press Conference Getty Images

Coming out of playoff meetings this week, we now know what college football’s new postseason will be called — College Football Playoff, as it turns out — and where the major games will take place. That’s all well and good, but the biggest factor for CFP’s success over its 12-year agreement remains unclear:

Who is going to select the four teams to participate? And how?

CFP’s executive director, Bill Hancock, didn’t have much in the way of answers on Thursday. When asked how much time BCS commissioners spent discussing the selection committee this week, Hancock said “probably two or three hours.” As perspective, Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel remarks “This after spending nearly 20 hours in meeting rooms.”

Mandel goes on to write:

They don’t know what the size of the committee will be. The latest reported number was “14 to 20,” but that’s far from a guarantee. “I think there’s honest disagreement in the room,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said of the group’s talks.

They don’t know whether the committee members will be current administrators, ex-coaches and athletic directors, former media members or some combination of the above. They don’t know whether the group will be divided geographically, by conference affiliation or something else. They don’t know which sets of data the members will utilize, and they don’t know whether the committee will issue an official poll late in the season, a la the BCS standings.

Ten months into the playoff deal, it would appear that the same questions asked about the selection committee on Day 1 are still being asked today. “We have time on our side,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive has insisted. Be that as it may — the playoff doesn’t begin until after the 2014 season, giving decision-makers another year to figure out specifics — this isn’t exactly a textbook definition of progress on CFP’s most important, and undoubtedly controversial, area. Naming the postseason “College Football Playoff” may allow for future changes, but it means nothing if no one can decide who plays in it. And people won’t care which city hosts the championship game or which teams have “home field advantage” if they don’t understand how the four teams were selected.

Make no mistake: this is an enormously difficult task that demands time and attention to detail. As Mandel notes, there’s really no precedence for how to put together a selection committee outside of the one used to determine college basketball’s tournament field. Of course, the difference between choosing almost 40 at-large spots and four teams is beyond noticed. Still, a selection committee seems like the best option. If subjectivity in selecting teams is largely unavoidable, at least make it transparent. That was among the biggest, if not the biggest, gripe about the BCS.

Consequently, anyone serving on CFP’s selection committee is a brave soul who will no doubt be subject to an intense amount of criticism. Next to NCAA president, being a member of CFP’s selection committee might be the most thankless public job in college athletics. Some people in the game, like Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, have already admitted they want no part of it. At least the BCS didn’t have feelings, and if it did, we have bigger problems than who makes up a playoff field.

How the committee comes up with the four teams is equally important, yet just as unclear at the moment. Word out of Pasadena this week is that the committee would release its own poll a handful of times through the season and then make its decision following the end of the season. Would the top four teams in the final CFP poll be the four teams selected for the playoff? That seems like a logical conclusion, otherwise the rankings would seem arbitrary and pointless.

There’s a lot to figure out over the next year or so when it comes to a selection committee. Here’s hoping it goes better than the first 10 months.

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26 Responses to “Selection committee still a giant question mark for College Football Playoff”
  1. huskerzfan says: Apr 26, 2013 10:40 PM

    Sad when one can’t write without prejudice.

    Yes. There IS plenty of time to figure out who will be the voters in the newfound College Football Playoff.

    Hopefully the OP doesn’t get a vote.

  2. southernpatriots says: Apr 26, 2013 10:52 PM

    This has been a concern to me since the playoff format and a selection committee would play in integral role in it. I would hope those chosen would have integrity and somehow would not be swayed by their regionalism.

    There are definitely ways to have objective critieria, SOS, and computer rankings, but eventually there will be a need for decisions to be made by informed and experienced people. They yet have plenty of time to decide, but it needs to be done well for a thankless job.

  3. mrlaloosh says: Apr 27, 2013 12:54 AM

    Obama will be the decider.

  4. Walk says: Apr 27, 2013 1:46 AM

    Hopefully we learn the selection criteria. Making the process as transparent as possible will go a long way into helping the new system gain acceptance. I can see some revenue being generated as well if they package the voting and discussion with some dvd sales of the season and playoffs. Maybe even generate it’s own weekly show, or at least a one time broadcast per season to announce the playoff bound programs.

  5. louhudson23 says: Apr 27, 2013 7:31 AM

    The idea that any of this will stop the bitching and whining is laughable. …subjective is subjective…..

  6. canetic says: Apr 27, 2013 8:40 AM

    Heads/Tails. It’s the only way.

  7. tlmoon2112 says: Apr 27, 2013 8:56 AM

    They need to hurry up and figure this out so Saban knows who to start working on with his wallet.

  8. thefiesty1 says: Apr 27, 2013 10:25 AM

    A committee of 14-20?? What are trying to create…a moose? They’ll surely find a way to screw this up.

  9. barkleyblows says: Apr 27, 2013 11:26 AM

    Let the SECheat decide!

  10. mrlaloosh says: Apr 27, 2013 11:55 AM

    The 1st championships bracket will be- Alabama-Florida LSU-Georgia. Then a rematch of Bama-LSU for the lowest rated bowl game in HISTORY!

  11. manchestermiracle says: Apr 27, 2013 1:31 PM

    This is all beginning to sound like nothing more than an overblown reincarnation of the BCS system: Subjective coaches poll, secretive computer rankings, and an end-of-year “selection” to major bowl games that usually makes little sense.

    The selection committee will end up being a political animal that is hammered on all sides for being just as subjective, arbitrary, secretive and senseless as the soon-to-be defunct current system.

    The quote from Hancock (“probably two or three hours.”) regarding the amount of time commissioners spent discussing the selection committee sounds more like how much time each week those members will spend actually watching college football games. You know, about the same amount of time coaches and other poll voters spend now.

  12. mazblast says: Apr 27, 2013 2:04 PM

    Who’s televising the championship game? There’s your answer.

  13. amosalanzostagg says: Apr 27, 2013 6:38 PM

    canetic says: Apr 27, 2013 8:40 AM

    Heads/Tails. It’s the only way.

    rock paper scissors best 3 of 5 pay per view

  14. huck222 says: Apr 27, 2013 7:04 PM

    These smart people are stupid! It will never be a true playoff until all conference winners have a chance at the championship. On top of that! If ESPN has anything to do with it? It will be tainted! They would have 4 SEC teams playing for the title, because it’s always trying to sell their product. You have to take the “subjectivity” out of it! Period!

  15. tigersgeaux says: Apr 27, 2013 7:24 PM

    @amos

    That would be a much better method than what they seem to be doing now with some bowls. It appears now that they are throwing darts at balloons and the two balloons that pop are the teams that play in that bowl.

  16. lastdukestreetking says: Apr 27, 2013 7:43 PM

    I’ll decide!

  17. malbrecht4 says: Apr 28, 2013 5:20 PM

    The one thing you should know by now, is that the so called “football” won’t have anything to do with it.
    However it’s determined there will men wearing jackets and ties, who are more full of it than Gary Danielson and Kirk Herbstreet, making the decision.
    There will just be 4 choices now instead of 2.

  18. oldforester says: Apr 30, 2013 2:08 AM

    The money will decide. What pays off best for ESPN, the networks, and large conferences. Then they will tell us what they want us to hear, and what they want us to believe.

  19. florida727 says: Apr 30, 2013 9:42 AM

    I can’t begin to express my disappointment. I had to read eight, let me emphasize that again, EIGHT posts before getting to some idiot bashing the SEC conference. That’s ludicrous. What is this blog turning into, Ben?

  20. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 30, 2013 9:53 AM

    @florida727

    Great truth in your post. I will answer your question and let Ben answer his answer. My answer is your answer. “Bashing the SEC” is what many blogs have turned into. Bashing Bama due to their success. Bashing any other top tier team due to their success. Not too much bashing of Kentucky or Vanderbilt, or even Miss. State, but the rest of the SEC seem to be game for many CFT irregulars.

    I did not realize it, but I am somehow becoming jaded to that. I tend to just skip over them and keep going. I guess I have learned through recent experiences here on CFT to expect it, sort of like on BR on LSU stories, on LSU threads to have a rival’s fans post all kinds of negative comments which are not only negative but have nothing to do with the topic. That is the same thing done by fans of teams outside the SEC, conferences outside the SEC, here on CFT.

  21. Ben Kercheval says: Apr 30, 2013 11:26 AM

    I can’t begin to express my disappointment. I had to read eight, let me emphasize that again, EIGHT posts before getting to some idiot bashing the SEC conference. That’s ludicrous. What is this blog turning into, Ben?

    ————-

    I feel ya. These are dark times indeed.

  22. florida727 says: Apr 30, 2013 9:23 PM

    Only reason these are dark times, Ben, is because you and John Taylor have failed us. I asked, no, pleaded actually, that you guys get rid of February through October. Did you? NO! What is it with you guys? Losing all sorts of confidence in you two.

  23. Ben Kercheval says: Apr 30, 2013 9:38 PM

    Sorry to hear that, florida. I’ll be sure to think of you often while I’m off enjoying myself for the next week at my cousin’s wedding.

  24. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 30, 2013 11:45 PM

    Ben,

    Now I am feelin’ left out! Think of us here in Louisiana (and the southernpatriots’ family in Appalachia again)…we’ll be here when you get back–enjoying yourself–bah humbug!

  25. huck222 says: May 2, 2013 4:15 PM

    Ok my southern brethren,
    No one is bashing the SEC and they play great football, but ESPN finds a way to move their product in the top three year after year. Yep, I know you guys want to say, “The SEC has won the past 6 BCS title games” and that’s all due to the net works that fund a specific conference. I pose this question, if the SEC was so good how did it let a middle of the road BIG12 member be one of their top teams? The offenses in the SEC are marginal at best, but the front 7 play is superb. Then the quarterbacking is shaky as also, that’s why “Johnny Football” won the Heisman because he played against some good front sevens. He couldn’t win the job in Oregon and that’s how he landed in the College Station. On a one game title the SEC does have the best chance of winning a title, but in a playoff facing multiple talented offensive teams they wouldn’t win them titles like the BCS. ESPN is only selling their network!!!! To think they don’t wont to pay these kids while they get all the money is a damn shame! But as you think like a slave, you’ll be treated like a slave!

  26. sssjim7 says: May 2, 2013 7:47 PM

    It should be simple enough… the top 4 ranked CONFERENCE champions should advance… and I could care less if NONE of them are ranked in the top 10…

    That would be the fairest way to do it… win your freakin’ conference championship if you want ANY CHANCE at all to go to the playoffs…

    (and if an unranked South Carolina knocks off an undefeated Alabama in the SEC championship game and no teams from the SEC get to go, that is ok too…)

    Seriously… conference champions only…

    Just my .02…
    ~Jim

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