Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, officially announced the 13-member selection committee tasked with deciding which four teams will be chosen to compete for a national championship.
Here are the 13 people who were appointed, per an official release:
|Jeff Long (chair)||NCAA Management Council; Current AD at Arkansas|
|Barry Alvarez||Former HC and Current AD at Wisconsin; College Football HOF|
|Lt. Gen. Mike Gould||Former MWC Chairman; Retired 3-Star General|
|Pat Haden||QB at USC; Los Angeles Rams QB ; Current AD at USC|
|Tom Jernstedt||Supervised NCAA BOD; Former President of USA Basketball|
|Oliver Luck||QB at W. Virginia; Houston Oilers QB; Current AD W. Virginia|
|Archie Manning||QB at Ole Miss; N.O. Saints QB; College Football HOF|
|Tom Osborne||Former HC and AD at Nebraska; College Football HOF|
|Dan Radakovich||Former AD at Georgia Tech; Current AD at Clemson|
|Condoleezza Rice||Former U.S. Secretary of State; Provost of Stanford Univ.|
|Mike Tranghese||Former Big East Commissioner; Former BCS Administrator|
|Steve Wieberg||Award-Winning Writer/Founding Member at USA Today|
|Tyrone Willingham||Former HC at Washington, Notre Dame and Stanford|
Source: College Football Playoff Website
Almost every member of the committee has a tie—current or former—to a specific school or conference, leading some people to raise questions of bias.
Addressing those concerns, committee chairman Jeff Long vowed to be impartial:
Jeff Long: "We are expected to check our various biases and loyalties at the door."— David Ubben (@davidubben) October 16, 2013
We'll see if that's easier said than done.
Another protest that people have voiced is knowledge of the game. How would a group of committee members who never played football properly assess the teams?
But now that the group has been announced, those concerns have essentially become moot. As Paul Myerberg of USA Today points out, 10 of the 13 members played college football:
10 of the 13 committee members played CFB, per Bill Hancock, which should please the "hand in the dirt" crowd.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) October 16, 2013
Unlike the BCS, which uses formulas to pick its teams, the CFP committee members will meet periodically and use "whatever data they believe is relevant to inform their decisions."
According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, the committee will meet four times, starting around midseason, and release rankings every other week (four times in total):
Playoff committee will meet 4 times a year starting in midseason & release rankings 4 times every other week— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) October 16, 2013
According to ESPN's Joe Schad, the committee will also be able to place higher seeds in more advantageous locales, rewarding them for a better regular season:
"The committee will place the top seeds at the most advantageous sites..."In current system, LSU has played at "home" for BCS title twice.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 16, 2013
That's a lot of power to entrust in a group of human beings, which is why this process of appointment has drawn so much attention and sparked so much debate.
Let's take a second to meet all 13 committee members:
Jeff Long (Committee Chairman)
Long is the current Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at the Arkansas, a position he has held since 2008. He was also a member of the NCAA Management Council as one of the athletic administrators overseeing the operations and regulation for Division I.
Altogether, he has 35 years of football experience at the FBS, FCS and Division II levels.
Alvarez is the former head coach and athletics director at Wisconsin, the winningest coach in school history and—because of that success—a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Last year, after Bret Bielema left the team and accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas, Alvarez came out of retirement and coached the Badgers in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.
Lt. Gen. Mike Gould
Gould is a distinguished former member of the United States Air Force, a retired 3-star general and a former Air Force Aide to the President of the United States.
From 2009-2013, he served as the Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and he is the former chairman of the Mountain West Conference Board of Directors.
Haden was one of the best quarterbacks in USC's prestigious football history, winning two national titles with the Trojans before becoming a Pro Bowler with the Los Angeles Rams.
He is a Rhodes Scholar and currently serves as the Director of Athletics at USC, where he formerly served as Chair of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Committees.
Per the CFP's official website, Jernstedt has "served as senior-level executive, including executive vice president, deputy executive director and chief operating officer, throughout 38-year NCAA career."
He was the President of USA Basketball from 2000-2005 and formerly sat on the Board of Trustees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Luck was a record-breaking quarterback at West Virginia before moving on to the NFL and playing for the Houston Oilers.
He was the former CEO of NFL Europe, the former President of the Houston Dynamo, and currently serves as Director of Athletics at West Virginia.
Before he was just "Peyton and Eli's dad," Archie Manning was a two-time All-SEC quarterback at Ole Miss and Pro Bowler with the New Orleans Saints.
He currently serves as a spokesman and motivational speaker, and he is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Osborne coached Nebraksa through its glory years between 1973-1997, winning three national championships and 13 conference championships in the process.
He would later become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (2001-2007) and the Director of Athletics at Nebraska (2007-2012). He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Radakovich has over 30 years of experience with college athletics. He was the former Director of Athletics at Georgia Tech and is the current Director of Athletics at Clemson.
Per the CFB website, he is "one of 10 athletics directors serving on 2013 NCAA advisory commission to make recommendations on future rules and policies."
Rice—the most (initially) divisive member of the committee—is both a professor and the Provost at Stanford University.
She is the former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Adviser, and she has twice been named the "Most Powerful Woman in the World" by Forbes Magazine.
Though her inclusion on the committee has sparked debate, SEC commissioner Mike Slive praised her appointment (via Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News):
Mike Slive: Condi Rice will be "terrific" on playoff committee. "She's been in pressure situations." http://t.co/RwRU5ZxBkv— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) October 16, 2013
You have to admit it: He has a point.
Tranghese oversaw the launch of Big East Football in 1991 and became the conference's longest-serving Commissioner between 1990-2009.
He also served on the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee from 1996-2001 and is a formed Lead Administrator of the BCS.
Wieberg was a "founding" member of USA Today and served as an award-winning college sports writer on its staff until 2012.
The Chronicle of Higher Education named him one of the "10 Most Powerful People in College Sports" in 2007, and he received similar accolades from College Sports Magazine in 1995 and 1996.
Willingham is the former head coach of Washington, Notre Dame and Stanford, and he won the ESPN/Home Depot Award for Coach of the Year in 2002.
He also served as President of the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees in 2008.
Whether you love or hate this group of appointees, you'd better get used to them. According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News, each member is expected to serve a relative term-length of three years, though some may be shorter or longer:
Term length for #CFBPlayoff selection committee will be 3 yrs, "but some will be shorter, others longer initially, to achieve a rotation."— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) October 16, 2013
Over that span, the average member will be responsible for appointing roughly 12 teams to the playoff and snubbing countless more.
Welcome to the post-BCS universe.