College Football Playoff: What Should the Selection Committee Look Like?
It's nervous time.
College football's future is in the hands of a currently faceless, nameless entity.
For now, this entity is referred to as the BCS Selection Committee. And although it hasn't been officially named, count on its name to be the Selection Committee since the BCS decided to call the college football playoff the College Football Playoff.
The actual name of this committee doesn't really matter, but the makeup of this committee is crucial. The people selected to form this committee will have to determine which four teams are the best in the country and deserve to play for a spot in a championship game.
Good luck sleeping well at night, committee members.
Because if the BCS does this right, fans will know every committee member's name, school and/or conference affiliation (if any) and which four teams he or she selected to play in the College Football Playoff. This isn't for the faint of heart.
So who should be sitting on this committee?
First off, media members with digital skeletons in the closet are a no-no. Any published material that shows any bias toward or against a particular team or conference should be heavily weighed in considering his or her acceptance into the committee.
School presidents or athletic directors (current or former) are usually a safe bet but more so for former presidents and athletic directors. Remember, if a BCS school plays in a BCS bowl, every school in that conference receives a percentage of the bowl's revenues.
Obviously, that potential financial windfall can elicit some biased voting from pollsters who are employed by a school.
For example, if a president of a Pac-12 school is debating between sending a Pac-12 team and a Big 12 team to the college football playoff, which selection bolsters his conference's coffers?
No matter how he votes, he can't really avoid criticism. The Pac-12 president will either be accused of conference nepotism or overcompensating conference bias. It's best to avoid this potential conflict of interest and only select former administrators to sit on the committee.
Media members (digital, print and broadcast) who cover college football on a national basis would be perfect committee members.
They're generally familiar with all the conferences and avoid covering one particular conference.
Moreover, they are paid to report on college football, so their analysis (and job security) is usually dependent on accuracy and thoughtful insight. Not all national media members are ideal candidates—those who have an agenda should not be considered.
Will the new selection committee avoid biased decisions?
Current coaches should also be taken out of the mix and the biggest reason why is they simply don't have the time required to do this right.
Committee members should be spending all week looking at videos of the previous weekend's games—not just checking box scores—and determining which teams proved their mettle week in and week out.
A head coach should be going over game film and preparing for next week's opponent.
Some coaches have admitted they don't really vote and that the task has been handed off to another staffer. Other coaches have voted so far out of the box that they can't even defend their voting records. Some of the bigger coach-voting controversies can be read here.
Coaches have enough on their plates—don't force them into a impossible situation.
Finally, the committee should be comprised of members who live in all parts of the country. Each member must commit to watching high-profile games from every conference, even if that requires very late-night viewing.
And each member must be able to defend his or her selections to the committee in detail so that the rest of the committee knows how that decision was made. That his or her decision was not just whimsy, an afterthought or based on some other influential factors.
The system is not perfect.
But the system needs to be perfectly transparent.
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