Tom Osborne's Idea for College Football Playoff Committee Is Slightly Off Base
Nebraska Athletic Director Dr. Tom Osborne recently spoke to Journal Star's Steven Sipple and suggested that the College Football Playoff's selection committee should be comprised of retired football coaches.
Osborne served on the Legend's Poll, an independent group of 17 retired coaches, for three years.
He explained how its rankings work.
"Each week, they would send us DVDs of the top games," he said. "So you'd get 8-10 DVDs. They sent you a video player. You could sit there and really study the games."
The coaches on Mondays would gather for a teleconference, which lasted up to two hours, Osborne said.
"Each coach would talk about the game he had gone to the previous Saturday, and also what he'd seen on video," Osborne said. "I was impressed by the fact they seemed to be objective. It wasn't like R.C. was pushing Texas A&M, or Gene Stallings was pushing Alabama. They were just talking about strengths and weaknesses of teams in their area, and teams they'd seen.
I knew the teams we played. I knew our team. But I had no idea what they were doing out in the Pac-12. I didn't know much about the Big Ten. If we didn't play any of those teams, I just didn't know anything about them."
Osborne has a great resume and is very well respected among his peers. His idea of using retired coaches in the BCS selection committee should be considered.
But BCS College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock might want to take a detailed look at the Legends Poll's final rankings before he rubber stamps Osborne's idea.
Oregon State and Texas had identical 9-4 records after the two played in the Alamo Bowl. Texas beat Oregon State 31-27 yet No. 21 Oregon State was ranked ahead of No. 22 Texas.
Clemson (11-2) was ranked No. 8. True, it beat LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but its regular season record of 10-2 was not impressive.
Clemson beat only one FBS team with a winning regular season record—North Carolina State. Moreover, Clemson lost to its two best opponents—eventual ACC Champion Florida State (12-2) and South Carolina (11-2). Shouldn't Clemson be ranked behind No. 9 Florida State instead of in front of it? The AP and the USA Today Coaches' Poll thought so.
Nitpicking aside, there is also a concern with the Legends Poll's system.
How do you feel about Osborne's suggestion of using retired head coaches on the selection committee?
Pollsters should be responsible for watching all high-profile games. As Osborne stated, he didn't know what other conference teams were doing. So how can one cast votes for teams he has no knowledge about?
Unless that team was featured on one of the DVDs sent to him, Osborne was in the dark. Should a pollster's own ranking of a team he is not familiar with be completely dependent on other pollsters' observations? That question should bother college football fans.
Osborne still makes a valid point.
"I think coaches probably have the best background," Osborne told Sipple.
Coaches can appreciate and recognize superior talent and coaching. Retired coaches in good health should be used on the committee, but not exclusively.
Current media members, not retired sportswriters, should also be included.
Unlike head coaches, national media members are paid to cover college football on a national basis and are familiar with most of the major football programs. Head coaches only familiarize themselves with the teams on their respective schedules.
A conflict with their job duties could arise, but it is hoped that if media members are selected, their employers would give them one to two days to analyze games and formulate their rankings.
Beat writers should also be considered. The South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen is a perfect example of a reporter covering a team without favor.
Fans, coaches, media and administrators all have biases. It is human nature.
Bias will continue to permeate college football's system of crowning a BCS champion until we have a true playoff system. And what is a true playoff system?
The answer is right in front of us. Yet we continue to ignore it.
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