At first, folks were all like, "Whew, we got a playoff!" Then people were all like, "Yay, we got rid of the human polls and the weirdo computers!"
Now, people are all like, "Wait, selection committee? How is that going to work?"
Transparency has been one of two tenants that we have harked upon here at Your Best 11. The other, of course, was football guys who understand the nuance of the game when they watch it on tape.
Transparency is a funny thing, as it means so much and yet so little at the same time. It is a massive ideal we can grasp, but it makes us feel comfortable with the process. Transparency is the oil that will grease the wheels of playoff success.
Enter the "so little" part. As we've talked about transparency, two things have emerged as a means of keeping things on the proverbial up and up.
As Sporting News reported last week, Jack Swarbrick and the organizers of this grand revolution want the selection committee to produce a weekly top 20 during the season as a way to be transparent. This is not the preseason polls continued throughout; rather, it would be a rankings list arrived at by the committee members after a few weeks of watching football.
Today, another effort in the name of transparency has come to the forefront: getting a look into the selection committee process. As Dennis Dodd reported for CBS Sports, Bill Hancock and the power brokers are very much in favor of allowing a media member behind the selection committee curtain as they arrive at their decision. Folks are liking this, as Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples shows:
I do like that these CFB bigshots really seem to embrace the idea of selection committee transparency. Hope they mean it.
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 2, 2012
Obviously, this is a spin-off of the NCAA selection committee's mock session that has become popular for media members as a way to gain insight into the process.
The problem here? Football is not basketball. Allowing a media member, or even a group of media members, into the final selection would only do so much good.
In basketball, we're talking about 68 teams being picked into the field, seeded and placed into regions. That's a lot to debate, a lot to talk about and a lot to sort out. In football, we're talking about four teams in the playoff and eight teams in the remaining big bowls.
With the committee producing their week-to-week rankings, we'll know the teams that fall into the realm of playoff-probable teams. Thanks to bowl tie-ins, we also know where the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC and ACC Champions will be headed. It won't be the hair-splitting, resume-examining circus that the NCAA tournament selection process has become.
Where the top four is concerned, barring upsets in conference title games or season finales, the arguing will boil down to one spot where the playoff is concerned. We're talking Cincinnati versus Florida in 2009, Stanford versus Oregon in 2011.
Is a media member in the selection room the type of transparency you want?
As for the non-semifinal bowl games, you take your conference champions and the rest of the top 12, and then you fill in your slots. Pretty simple—just keeping geography in mind and where the actual semifinal sites will be on a year to year basis.
Ultimately, this is not me being down on the prospect of the media being allowed to sit in on the committee doing their final selection. It just doesn't move the meter for me the way it does for others. True transparency has to come prior to the final selection—during the weeks from October through November as the committee is compiling their rankings. That is where the true transparency must come from.
Transparency is critical, but opening things up at the end of the season is not the solution that most folks are looking for. A weekly look inside of the rankings and an explanation would go a long way to keeping things open and honest in a way that will truly impact the college football postseason.