Releasing a Top 25 Weekly Poll a Dangerous Move for CFP Selection Committee

Adam KramerNational College Football Lead WriterMay 1, 2014

IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 16:  A detail view of the College Football Playoff logo shown during a press conference on October 16, 2013 in Irving, Texas. Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor and former United States Secretary of State, was chosen to serve as one of the 13 members that will select four teams to compete in the first playoff at the end of the 2014 season.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It's going to feel a lot like BCS 2.0, but with people, faces and personalities to blame. And if you don't think that's going to push patience, fanbases and message board servers to the brink of annihilation, I have only one question for you: Where have you been for the past five years?

The formulas and computers have been unplugged and tucked away, replaced with a room of esteemed human beings handpicked for the job. The members of the selection committee will stow away all biasesat least we hope—delivering your updated College Football Playoff standings on a weekly basis, starting on Tuesday, October 28.

Think of it as the BCS, only with a few more seats. The name is different; it's a rebrand that was decided upon to remind you of just how different it is. And yes, the Sunday suspense that came with the BCS—which often didn't provide any suspense at all—has been moved to a night when it doesn't have to compete with prime-time NFL games.

That doesn't just make sense; it's brilliant.

It's the messaging delivered on a weekly basis that could highlight holes in the committee's mindset and consistency. Forget about getting it right at the end of the year—the only thing that truly matters with the committee—now you have to show your work along the way.

Remember that in your test-taking days? That was the worst.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, chairman of the selection committee, doesn't believe that to be the case. Or, at the very least, he believes the check-ins will provide more good than bad.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, he believes a weekly unveiling is a necessary part of the process that fans crave.

"We felt we wouldn't be meeting our responsibility," Long said, per Barry Alvarez of The Associated Press. "Once we made a ranking, we felt then we needed to make them weekly. That's what the fans have become accustomed to, and we felt it would leave a void in college football without a ranking for several weeks."

Long won't just be helping to decide the playoff teams with his colleagues. He'll have a much more critical role than that.

Likely accompanied with 1,200 pounds worth of beefy security guards, a flak jacket and the world's most elaborate first-aid kit, Long will be tasked to explain the committee's latest rankings each and every Tuesday on live television, according to Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel.

It's both sadistic and applause-worthy. It'll be Long's job to disappoint weekly, to enrage a fanbase that just won its game by a comfortable margin yet somehow fell to fifth in the latest poll.

He'll be the voice of the playoffa walking, talking, reasoning Grim Reaper. It doesn't quite reach the misery threshold of being president of the NCAA, although this job isn't far behind.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The show will undoubtedly do extraordinarily well from an interest (and viewer) standpoint. Each week, just like we did with the BCS, we will tune in like zombies and demand more blood. With little football to compete with—outside of the occasional MAC football game—Tuesday night will become playoff night.

In the end, it's a business. This entire charade is structured around running a successful postseason and making as much money as possible. You can decide in which order those should be listed.

This will meet all of the financial requirements and then some. Beyond the cash grab, however, there are various concerns regarding this weekly roller coaster. For one, inconsistencies in the evaluation process—a process that will be new to the creators and the consumers—will be spotlighted. The pressure on those tasked with picking college football's four playoff teams was already unimaginable. Now, starting in October, it will stay that way throughout the homestretch.

Adding to this concern, at this present time, there is still confusion regarding how teams will be evaluated and picked over one another. This was always going to be the case with human influence, so perhaps it's not surprising. But at the very least, we'll need further clarity to help us center our future outrage.

Regardless of why a team is ranked the way it is, a weekly evaluation provides little context to the method. If conference championship games are stressed as much as we've been told they will be, then what exactly does a midseason or three-quarter report card tell us?

In the end, the only ranking that matters is the final one. Everything up until that point is a parade of the procedure.

The top four will be the top four at that time while the rest of the Top 25 will help shape some of the marquee bowl games. Teams will lose, rankings will adjust drastically, and outrage will follow no matter whether it's warranted.

We will be able to relate to this unnecessary ride because we've grown accustomed to hitting the reset button weekly. This same procedure, however, comes from the system that this process is replacing.

With the BCS, there was the math to lean on. There were voters, too, but they were a part of the numbers and percentages that helped us accept the ups and downs. It's strange to look back at the system that way, but it really did a fine job of packaging the chaos into numbers we somehow understood. We didn't always agree with it or accept it, but math couldn't be convinced it was wrong.

Committee members present a slightly different scenario. They have feelings, they have televisions and they have the Internet. They also have an integral part that the former system lacked—a human element—although this can be both good and bad.

Allowing this group of dignified football minds to decide on the postseason is one thing. Forcing it to show exactly how it got there—following a procedure still taking shape—is another.

We'll be playing the role of that dreaded math teacher you despised in school, looking for distinct and exact reasoning for why the rankings are the way they are. At that same time, we'll know we're only seeing a percentage of the final equation. It'll be Jeff Long's job to satisfy, which will be an impossible task.

It'll be wildly entertaining regardless of how efficient it is packaged and delivered. It's going to generate a flurry of debate and, in turn, mountains of cash for the network that now owns that playoff. And yes, it's going to take an already chaotic process and highlight the potential for problematic reasoning.

It is, quite simply, going to be complete and utter anarchy.