College Football Playoff reveals full selection committee

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While the vast majority of the names had already been leaked, the College Football Playoff officially announced the member of the group that will shape the postseason for the foreseeable future.

The 13-member committee, which you can view in its entirety below, will be charged with selecting the four teams that will take part in the College Football Playoff that will begin following the 2014 regular season. Generally speaking, each selection committee member will serve an unpaid, three-year term, although the initial terms could be longer or shorter depending on unknown variables.

While the number is 13 now, that total could go up or down moving into future seasons.

“We wanted people of the highest integrity for this committee, and we got them. Every one of them has vast football knowledge, excellent judgment, dedication and love for this game,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, in a statement. “They will no doubt have one of the hardest jobs in sports. But their skills and wide variety of experiencesfrom coaches and athletes to university leaders and journalistswill ensure that they will be successful. And they are committed to investing the time and effort necessary for this endeavor. We are grateful that they will be serving this terrific game of college football.”

Individuals with experience as a coach, player, administrator and journalist, as well as sitting athletic directors, were considered for the committee. Out of more than a hundred expressing interest at various points, the following baker’s dozen constitutes the initial selection committee:

  • Jeff Long, vice-chancellor and director of athletics, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Chair
  • Barry Alvarez, director of athletics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Lieutenant General Mike Gould, former superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy
  • Pat Haden, director of athletics, University of Southern California
  • Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
  • Oliver Luck, director of athletics, West Virginia University
  • Archie Manning, former University of Mississippi quarterback and all-pro NFL quarterback
  • Tom Osborne, former head coach and director of athletics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Dan Radakovich, director of athletics, Clemson University
  • Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor, former Stanford provost and former United States Secretary of State
  • Mike Tranghese, former commissioner of the Big East Conference
  • Steve Wieberg, former college football reporter, USA Today
  • Tyrone Willingham, former head coach of three FBS institutions

If you were curious as to the accomplishments of the committee as a group, which will be chaired by Long, as a group, the CFP release broke it down for you.

In aggregate, the selection committee members have roughly 230 years of experience in college football. The group includes 10 people who played college football, two former top-level university administrators, five current athletics directors, three members of the College Football Hall of Fame, three former college football head coaches, a former United States Secretary of State, a former member of Congress, and a retired three-star general.

In addition, the group includes a Rhodes Scholar, two Academic All-Americans, three Phi Beta Kappa graduates, and a retired journalist who won numerous awards as a reporter. Collectively the group has 26 degrees of higher learning, including eight master’s degrees, two law degrees, and two doctoral degrees.

While one key component, the committee, was revealed, just how the teams will be selected by the group remains vague and without any type of mandated structure.

A basketball-like RPI was mentioned as a possibility, although at this point in time the members will rely simply on factors such as win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and conference championships won. They are, though, not limited solely to only those factors.

“Unlike the BCS, which uses a formula based on a combination of computer rankings and human polls to select teams, selection committee members for the new playoff will have flexibility to examine whatever data they believe is relevant to inform their decisions,” the release stated.

In a press conference currently ongoing, Long mentioned that injuries would be another factor that the committee could take into consideration, saying “it would be unfair if we didn’t take [them] into account.”.

The release further adds that “the selection committee will meet several times in person to evaluate teams and prepare interim rankings during the regular season. It will meet again during selection weekend and will announce the pairings for the playoff.”

Rankings consisting of a Top 25 will likely be released 4-5 times a year, with the first coming around midseason. Unfortunately, individual Top 25s will not be released, which rips to shreds the notion of transparency that most thought there would be and which the sports’ leaders had hinted at repeatedly throughout the run-up to this announcement.

Cincinnati, Western Michigan ink home-and-home series

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Cincinnati and Western Michigan have agreed to a 2-game home-and-home series, it was announced Monday.

The Bearcats will host WMU on Sept. 12, 2020, and Western Michigan will host Cincinnati on Sept. 10, 2022.

The programs have met three times prior. Cincinnati and Western Michigan also played a home-and-home in 1949-50; the Bearcats won both games by scores of 27-6. Cincinnati also won their meeting in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto,  a 27-24 triumph.

Cincinnati already has road games lined up with Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska in 2020, with a Sept. 5 opener still to fill. Considering the Bearcats already have two MAC opponents and a Big Ten trip lined up, that game will almost certainly be a home game and likely against an FCS opponent. In 2022, Cincinnati will host Indiana and play Miami (Ohio) at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, with their Sept. 3 opener still unfilled.

Western Michigan also has a road trip to Notre Dame on the schedule for Sept. 19, 2020, and does not have any other games slated for 2022.

USC AD Lynn Swann explains wins still trump strength of schedule

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For a long time, college football programs on the west coast have battled to overcome an east coast bias. USC athletics director Lynn Swann says that is still a hurdle USC faces to this day, which is why the Trojans go about trying to build as competitive football schedule as they can.

“Because of time zones, people on the East Coast aren’t really seeing us,” Swann said in a Q&A with The Orange County Register. “We have to play a tougher schedule. If the voters are going to look at four teams to be in the top four, the Pac-12 playing the Pac-12 won’t get it by itself.”

That comment alone could be received as a veiled (or not-so-veiled) shot at the rest of the Pac-12, but it is a fair comment to say, especially after the postseason the Pac-12 as a whole just had this past bowl season (it was… not very good). Swann’s comment though backs up the overall philosophy power conferences and programs within them have taken to heart since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, where strength of schedule is held in high regard and placed on a pedestal above most other factors to determine a playoff contender and separate them from playoff pretenders.

“We have to schedule teams and we have to have that very competitive schedule to be able to get that look,” Swann said. “And we’ve got to win those games. So it’s important to have Texas on the schedule. It’s important that Notre Dame is playing well and we play them and we beat them along the way.”

Scheduling attractive games is great, and it allows for a slightly wider margin for error, but recent history has shown that the strength of schedule does not act alone in getting a team into the playoff as much as actually winning games. The last two seasons have seen one-loss teams without a division championship invited to the College Football Playoff (Ohio State in 2016, Alabama last year). Last year, USC lost two games but won the Pac-12 championship but was largely left out of the conversation that involved Alabama and Ohio State.

“The committee who’s going to vote on this is going to look at strength of schedule. They’re going to look at how you win games,” Swann explained. “They’re going to look at a lot of factors. They’re going to look at the competition inside your conference, outside your conference, all those kind of things. It won’t ever be just one thing.”

USC has yet to play in a College Football Playoff and the 2018 season could be an uphill climb to get there with so many key losses from last season. Regardless, the Trojans continue to be improving with depth and scoring big wins to return to work their way back to the big championship stage.

Florida is opening spring practices to fans

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What’s one easy way to get fans on board with a new head coach? Invite them to practice.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen wants the doors to be open to fans to come watch the Gators practice during the first two spring practices the Gators will conduct next month. Seats will be limited at the practice field, of course, but Mullen seems optimistic this will help get the energy going for the program from the jump this spring, and that could potentially lead to a good crowd at Florida’s spring game to wrap up the spring practice schedule.

Florida is scheduled to begin their spring football practices on March 16. That practice and the next day will be open to fans to attend practice, which likely will lead to some personal interactions with coaches and players for any fans who take Mullen up on his offer. Florida’s spring game is scheduled for April 14.

Florida fans may be getting a chance to see a hard-working bunch of Gators. Early indications are Florida players are already claiming to be working harder than they have in years in the offseason workout routine.

But it won’t be just the fans that will be given some exclusive first-hand looks at the Gators this spring. Mullen will also look to extend an open invitation to Florida faculty and staff to some spring practices. Those dates are yet to be determined.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.

Clemson commit wins free Chick-fil-A for a year

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Who doesn’t love a good meal from Chick-fil-A? Hopefully Clemson commit BT Potter does because he just won free Chick-fil-A for an entire year.

Potter was voted the Chandler Catanzaro Kicker of the Year, and to the victor go the waffle fries. In addition to a $1,000 scholarship, Potter will have a one-year supply of Chick-fil-A meals on the house. That could add up to a lot of chicken sandwiches for the second-ranked kicker in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals.

This wasn’t a contest won by asking for retweets on Twitter, but Potter did have Clemson fans come to his support by stuffing an online ballot box. Maybe Potter can use his Chick-fil-A year-long supply to hand out some milkshakes.

The best part about all this? There doesn’t seem to be any way for the NCAA to come in and ruin the fun, as there are no NCAA violations in play here. Score one for the good guys.

Potter, a native of South Carolina, committed to the Tigers back in June 2017.