Not so unexpectedly, another change has come to the College Football Playoff selection committee.
In a press release Friday, the CFP announced that Archie Manning will not be able to rejoin the committee charged with both picking the four playoff participants and slotting teams in the other “New Years Six” games. Manning was one of the original 13 members of the committee, but was forced to take a sabbatical related to health issues this past October.
“I was honored when I was chosen to be on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee,” Manning said in a statement. “It’s a great group of people and they did a wonderful job last year. But as I look ahead to the various commitments I have – to my family, numerous time obligations around the country and to other conflicting demands – I have concluded that I won’t be able to return to the committee. I particularly want to watch [NFL quarterback sons] Peyton and Eli play, in person when I can, and it’s hard to do that when weekends are devoted to watching college games. This is not an easy choice, but it’s the right choice for [wife] Olivia and me.
“The College Football Playoff is a big hit and I wish my colleagues the very best.”
Manning’s replacement has already been selected, with Bobby Johnson sliding into the open spot. After spending eight seasons (1994-2001) as the head coach at Furman, the 64-year-old Johnson spent eight seasons (2002-09) in the same position at Vanderbilt before abruptly retiring from coaching in July of 2010.
Johnson, a South Carolina native, played his college football at Clemson in the late sixties and early seventies. He also spent one season (1993) as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.
According to the release, Johnson was selected unanimously during a March 25 conference call.
“I have tremendous respect for the selection committee and I am honored to join the group,” said Johnson. “As a former player and coach, I’m particularly happy about the opportunity to continue to serve the game.”
With Johnson onboard, there are now four former FBS head coaches on the committee: Johnson, Tom Osborne, Barry Alvarez and Tyrone Willingham.
Johnson is also the second new committee member announced this year. In mid-December of last year, after the final CFP rankings came out, it was announced that Oliver Luck would be stepping down as West Virginia’s athletic director and taking a job at the NCAA. Two months later, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt was announced as Luck’s replacement.
This likely won’t be the last shakeup as the terms of current committee members Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Mike Tranghese and Osborne expire next February. As far as the other committee members go, the terms of Alvarez and Condoleezza Rice expire in February of 2017, while the terms of Willingham, committee chair Jeff Long, Tom Jernstedt, Dan Radakovich and Steve Wieberg are up a year later.
(Photo credit: Vanderbilt athletics)