The most crucial part of the College Football Playoff, which will begin following the 2014 season, is the formation of the selection committee.
Officially, an announcement on who will serve has not yet been made. But among the first names to seriously emerge in the discussion is West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. According to Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports, Luck is expected to be named to the committee.
"The Big 12 has briefed league officials about Luck's involvement, according to three college football sources," Fowler writes.
The Associated Press later identified USC athletic director Pat Haden, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich as other names expected to join the panel, which will be somewhere between 12 and 18 members.
While the unveiling of the committee is still a couple of months away, it would be an excellent choice if Luck is aboard. The WVU AD is an active face in college athletics and has a diverse resume with previous jobs as the CEO of NFL Europe, president of the Houston Dynamo of the MLS and CEO of the Houston Sports Authority. He's given a lot for getting West Virginia into the Big 12.
Luck had also been a vocal proponent for a playoff before it was implemented last year. And at a time when the popular idea was for a conference champions-only model, Luck voiced his support for a playoff that selected the four best teams regardless of conference.
#WVU AD Oliver Luck on playoff structure: "In my mind, I think the 4 best teams have to be the 4 best teams. That’s the American way."— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) May 30, 2012
Exactly how the "four best" teams will be selected remains to be seen as well, but Luck's previous stance could ultimately work two ways.
On one hand, a conference champions-only model could include a team less deserving based solely on one criteria—being the fourth-best conference champion—without taking anything else into account. Luck would have a good point there.
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On the other hand, ADs and administrators serving on the selection committee will undoubtedly be criticized for any potential biases. While that's ultimately unavoidable, if Luck votes for two or even three Big 12 teams, his credibility could be called into question.
The formula, whatever it is, will likely fall somewhere in the middle with extra weight given to teams who schedule difficult out-of-conference games and/or win their conference.
Luck is an extraordinarily bright person who has the capability to consider and act on all the intricacies of the selection process. He's a good addition for what surely will be a difficult job.