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Condi Rice ‘respectfully disagrees’ with Pat Dye’s assessment

Condoleezza Rice, David Shaw AP

It didn’t take long after reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago that Condoleezza Rice would be a part of the College Football Playoff’s selection committee for the criticism to rain down.  Most pointedly, former Auburn head coach Pat Dye laid into the notion of a non-football person being a part of a college football committee.

All she knows about football is what somebody told her,” Dye said during an Oct. 7 radio interview. “Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”

Yesterday, of course, Rice was officially named as part of CFP’s 13-person selection committee, which will determine the four teams that will take part in the sport’s postseason following the 2014 regular season.  During a conference call shortly after the full committee was unveiled, Rice, who has never been part of the sport as anything but a knowledgeable fan, attempted to alleviate the fears of those who are still against a non-football person being a part of the process.

A day later, she specifically addressed Dye’s comments and, as would be expected from a former Secretary of State, she was very diplomatic in her response.

“I would say, Coach, I respect you. I remember your great run at Auburn, and I certainly respect you, but I just respectfully disagree,” Rice said when asked during an interview Thursday what she would say to Dye if he were sitting in front of here.

Rice’s best response, though, came when she addressed the concerns and doubts expressed by myriad people that the fact that she hasn’t played the game at a high level, or even been an administrator in the sport, makes her a liability to the committee.

“I am, Colin, after all, a student of Russia but I’ve actually never been Russian either,” Rice, currently a professor of political science at Stanford, said during her talk with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “You can know something from following it and studying it, and I spend a lot of my Saturday with college football.”

Yeah, I think the sport is in good hands.

(Tip O’ the Cap:

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37 Responses to “Condi Rice ‘respectfully disagrees’ with Pat Dye’s assessment”
  1. irishdodger says: Oct 17, 2013 9:53 AM

    If she can negotiate w/ foreign emissaries & diplomats who are not friendly to the US, I think she can hold her own amongst this bunch on the playoff committee. She would serve as the contrarian in that she should bring a macro view to the situation vs all the ex-coaches & ADs who are hyper focused on CFB. She’s the least of fans’ worries. I’d be more worried about keeping Ty Willingham off the golf courses so he can focus on the games at hand. That’s the pick that boggles my mind.

  2. Anoesis says: Oct 17, 2013 10:15 AM

    Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her porch, so she’s a non-Russian “expert” as well. Right?

    Seriously, I’d take an analyst on Russia who was Russian over someone observing from afar, just as I’d prefer someone from within the sport of college football over someone watching the game from their couch.

    Rice is no different from any other fan of the game who has never been involved in college football other than as an observer. In fact, I would posit that there are likely thousands of fans with greater knowledge of the game simply because they have had the time she hasn’t in order to study it.

  3. Anoesis says: Oct 17, 2013 10:16 AM


    Maybe Willingham was chosen in order to take the heat off the Rice pick.

  4. dcviking says: Oct 17, 2013 10:20 AM

    Did Condi also said she thought coaches who went for the tie instead of playing to win were morons as well?

  5. drummerhoff says: Oct 17, 2013 10:24 AM

    Would you be a better student of Russia if you did visit the place?

    Ah yeah, I think that’s the point. Just because I love eating or watching movies doesn’t mean I am qualified to tell the world what are the best four …

  6. arizonahusker says: Oct 17, 2013 10:39 AM

    “Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her porch, so she’s a non-Russian “expert” as well. Right?”

    Sarah Palin NEVER said that. That was Tina Fey. Sarah Palin said Russia is Alaska’s neighbor (or something to that affect), which is true.

    But Sarah Palin NEVER said she could see Russia from her porch.

  7. rolltide510 says: Oct 17, 2013 10:52 AM

    Pat Dye has only one concern about Condi Rice, and it relates the the school she grew up a fan of.

    Don’t get me wrong, the playoff committee will be an unmitigated disaster, but it won’t be because Rice never played football.

  8. Anoesis says: Oct 17, 2013 11:04 AM


    “They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
    -Sarah Palin, when asked by ABC’s Charles Gibson about insights she had gained by living so close to Russia.

    As though being able to see something, like watching college football, somehow infers expertise on the subject. That was the extent of Palin’s foreign-policy experience, just as watching college football (like every other fan of the game) is Rice’s extent of experience in the game.

    True, Palin never said “I can see Russia from my porch.” It’s called parody. That’s a device used to more clearly convey the absurdity of the original comment.

  9. tigersfandan says: Oct 17, 2013 11:37 AM

    @ Anoesis:

    A parody? It sounds more like an outright lie to me.

    Getting back to the point (what does this have to do with Sarah Palin anyway?), the response by Rice is certainly a very classy one. However, what did we really expect from her? Obviously, she’s not going to say that she agrees with him.

  10. Anoesis says: Oct 17, 2013 11:49 AM


    I’m sorry you can’t see the connection between an island and a porch. It’s funny. The point is that Palin inferred a level of expertise she doesn’t have by insinuating that being able to see Russia made her some sort of expert on that country. Rice watching college football (with no other related experience) does not make her any more of an expert than any other fan.

  11. stoicpaisano says: Oct 17, 2013 12:06 PM

    You ain’t from Russia

    So chick why you Russian?

  12. irishdodger says: Oct 17, 2013 12:09 PM


    We’ve elected POTUS’s w/ just as much if not left experience so let’s not go down the road of political leanings…it never ends well.

  13. rolltide510 says: Oct 17, 2013 12:29 PM

    What exactly is the relevant experience for picking the top 4 teams in college football anyway?

    What hard lessons learned on the football field better prepares somebody to pick what in most years will likely be the first 4 teams in the AP rankings?

  14. shamrock22 says: Oct 17, 2013 1:05 PM

    I’m pretty sure most of the people opposing Rice’s selection will also be some of the first in line to disagree with and criticize the teams selected next year — despite never having played coll football either. If you can have an informed opinion, so can she… She’s just lucky enough to be in a position to actually have it heard.

  15. oldforester says: Oct 17, 2013 1:13 PM

    She is a great selection. Here is why: A judge in a courtroom might not know how to break into a banks vault, but he/she is qualified to ask questions to determine if someone is a bank robber.

    Anyone that thinks Ms Rice won’t be able to add a sense of fairness to this process is missing the whole point. She doesn’t have to be an expert on football, she needs to be qualified to ask questions to prevent “theft” of the process. For that reason she is an outstanding selection.

  16. barkleyblows says: Oct 17, 2013 1:42 PM

    The only ppl that are against having Rice on the selection committee are racist. Plain and simple.

  17. ezwriter69 says: Oct 17, 2013 2:12 PM

    Yeah, what a TERRIBLE thing to have a person on a committee who’s spent her LIFE on the most important committees on earth, analyzing data and arguments and making decisions that alter the lives of everyone on earth… that would just make no sense at all, let’s put some dude who spent his life with a whistle around his neck screaming at illiterate 19 year olds.

  18. lovinthatsomanyhateonnd says: Oct 17, 2013 2:29 PM

    its not just her qualifications that are suspect, its her credibility! This is the woman that told us lies upon lies about WMD’s, Pat Tillmans death (ironic that she was a part of a cover up of a noted football player now isnt it?) , and a host of other bs. Shes a stain on the committee

  19. geodude11 says: Oct 17, 2013 2:38 PM

    She has been appointed to be part of a committee that will select four (4) teams from a short list to be included in a college football championship playoff series. She has been appointed to numerous panels and committees before, she has experience in decision making at the highest level, and she is not part of the process that makes teams eligible for selection into the playoffs making her independent of those biases.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a manipulated group (Associated Press), BCS, or playoff system to determine a National Champion in college football. You people just whine and cry over everything.

  20. imaduffer says: Oct 17, 2013 3:18 PM

    So, ladies and gentelmen, what happens if no SEC team is involved in the playoffs? Will there be a riot? You have to remember that there will be conferences that won’t be represented and that isn’t right. Better yet, if two teams from the same conference are selected, I say good bye college football.

  21. larry188 says: Oct 17, 2013 3:35 PM

    Yeah, she’s a “Student” of the game… I would rather have professors of the game making the decisions. Would you want her as your Russian professor? Hell no, there are better people for that too! This is nothing but a cynical PR move and it stinks.

  22. lilanta says: Oct 17, 2013 3:53 PM

    I have to agree with Condi, only because at one point in time she was being considered for the job of NFL Commissioner

  23. youcantmakemepickausername says: Oct 17, 2013 3:57 PM

    larry188 says:
    Oct 17, 2013 3:35 PM
    Yeah, she’s a “Student” of the game… I would rather have professors of the game making the decisions. Would you want her as your Russian professor? Hell no, there are better people for that too! This is nothing but a cynical PR move and it stinks.


    A PR move for what, exactly? It’s the second most popular sport in the country behind the NFL, and the ONE thing most people said it was lacking (a playoff) it’s now going to have (still wish there was 6 or 8 teams though).

    This playoff is gonna be huge, and they don’t need PR moves on some committee most people don’t care about (comments here notwithstanding) to add to it.

  24. cincyfredo says: Oct 17, 2013 4:21 PM

    Condi don’t like The Big 10/12. Better watch out Bucknuts. Jimbo Delaney take notice …

  25. harbourimages says: Oct 17, 2013 4:56 PM

    “Did Condi also said she thought….”

    Who’s the moron???

  26. tominma says: Oct 17, 2013 5:16 PM

    What a freakin JOKE!! What does she know about football??? Nada!!! What gerbil came up with THIS bright idea! She lied to the 911 Commission are those bozos trust HER judgement?? Why not put an ex-pro football player in need of some type of job who might know a thing or 2 about the game!

  27. louiegrandie says: Oct 17, 2013 5:43 PM

    It is good to have someone who is skilled at defending that which is undefendable

  28. corvusrex96 says: Oct 17, 2013 5:53 PM

    I am sure Condi likes football , but clearly there are thousands of people more qualified to be on this committee

  29. Deb says: Oct 17, 2013 7:11 PM

    Committees such as this one usually include people from a variety of backgrounds, including coaches and academics who have no on-field experience. She is certainly a qualified academic who can be counted on to bring both intelligence and reason to the discussions. The boys need to get over themselves.

  30. jason1214 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:35 PM

    Condi will be just fine. Willingham is puzzling. All in all, a new format will be needed for 2015.

  31. twoody50 says: Oct 17, 2013 10:02 PM

    Condi attended University of Denver and Notre Dame. Grew up in Alabama territory. On the staff of Stanford. Perfect choice not to be SEC biased

  32. pensfan1 says: Oct 18, 2013 7:51 AM

    Why is there “picking” anyway? Do we pick the teams for the World Series, Superbowl, or any other sport and let them play or do they earn their way in as a reward for how they did during a season?

    Until there is a true play-down playoff format like the other sports have there will always be a measure of favoritism, real and perceived. Take the top 16 from the polls and let ‘er fly and see what truly shakes out. Bet the outcome would be different than hand selecting four teams, even if those four were involved.

    In a sense it is better than nothing but the question will always be there and someone always explaining why some team did or did not get in. Just another way to drum up reality drama for the BCS to keep controlling the money while trying to justify themselves and placate us.

  33. evdave says: Oct 18, 2013 9:47 AM

    You guys bashing Condi Rice do realize that her father was a football coach? As someone who grew up with a father as a football coach (and about the same age as Rice), I know that I knew more football than most people will EVER know by the time I was 10 years old.

    When your father is a football coach, it’s the subject at every meal, at every family gathering, every Saturday and Sunday. I had spent more time with my dad breaking down film by the time I was 10 than most fans will ever see in their lifetime.

    I played through college myself, but I never learned another new thing about football beyond what I already knew as a football coach’s kid.

    You really have to live it to understand that and know how silly these arguments are. I know Pat Dye and he and my father were good friends and my cousins all played for him at Auburn. I’m disappointed to see him being the angry old man yelling “get off my lawn” at everyone.

  34. greggatx says: Oct 18, 2013 5:20 PM

    I’m sure Dye would rather have all of the committee to have ties to the sec!

    Sports writers (for the most part) have never played football either yet they inflict their opinion on us everyday. What is the difference? There is none!

  35. greggatx says: Oct 18, 2013 5:26 PM


    I can agree with you about the picking part. The problem is you can only play football games once a week. All other sports you can play more often. This would drag out the season another month and a half.

  36. arrowdead says: Oct 19, 2013 4:45 AM

    condi rice = at worst a war criminal and at best a terrible secretary/advisor. pick someone else.

  37. jdillydawg says: Oct 21, 2013 3:24 PM

    So, the people who run the BCS, they are all former football players, yeah? They must be, right? I can’t imagine someone programming that thing and not having their hands in the dirt at some point in their lives. That would be absurd! I realize most computer programmers are seen as nerds, but the only ones I would want programming that BCS thing are experienced, hardened players!

    Rice is an excellent choice simply because it makes everyone like Dye look like a complete ass. And I would venture to say that Rice knows more about Russia than 90% of Russians.

    Be careful what you ask for. Are we looking for a committee made up of former football players who all majored in Rocks for Jocks? I mean, with Dye’s argument, a college degree isn’t even necessary for this committee.

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