Well college football fans, you are at long last finally getting your wish. Although we’ve known the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was a lame duck for several months now, the commissioners of America’s major conferences along with Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick finally established a name and site for the new “playoff format.”
While the name, “College Football Playoff” might not exactly make you want to throw a party for its’ creativity, it probably is a solid choice as sometimes simplicity does the trick.
Six bowls, the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A will make up the rotation for the four-team playoff. Two of these sites each season will be on a rotating basis and will host the semi-final games on December 31st of each year starting in 2014. The inaugural title game will be held at Cowboys Stadium.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction (any step away from the BCS was a step in the right direction), I still believe this will ultimately move to an eight team playoff at some point in the next 10-15 years.
The biggest task the committee of conference commissioners and Mr. Swarbrick must address now is forming the selection committee that will ultimately decide what four teams are invited to the playoff.
In doing so, there are several things to keep in mind which first and foremost among them is the fact they need to keep this committee small. Any more than 12 members is overkill in my opinion.
Unlike the NCAA Basketball Tournament Committee which is made up of a bunch suits (athletic directors but is there a difference?) the football committee needs to be made up of ‘football people.’ The fact that the 64, errrr, 68 teams in March Madness are chosen by AD’s who haven’t paid a lick of attention to anyone outside their own school and conference is appalling and the opportunity to get it right for college football exists.
Let’s say we go with 11 members. This way you aren’t going to deal with any ties which would only further embarrass the NCAA. I would choose four coaches, four nationally-prominent college football writers/pundits and three former college football players. The pre-requisites would be pretty straight-forward. Any former coach or player must have been away from the game for four years or more. Writers/Pundits/Broadcasters would have to have a minimum of 10 years covering college football.
For example, here’s a committee I’ve put together for the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff.
Former Coaches: Lloyd Carr, Fisher DeBerry, Phillip Fulmer, Tyrone Willingham
Former Players: Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker, Bill Fralic
Media Members: Stewart Mandel SI.com, Gene Wojciechowski ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit ESPN, Pat Forde Yahoo Sports
I would recommend the NCAA have a facilitator in place but they are not to be a voting member on anything. Their job would simply be to organize and provide any information and/or criteria sought by the committee. While it isn’t realistic in any way to suggest that fans ever be a part of the selection process, this just might be the closest way for fans to get there.
Certainly rules would have to be in place to restrict coaches or players from participating should their former team be among the potential group of teams vying for the football final four. I don’t think it would be at all difficult to fin a substitute or two.
Keep in mind my suggestions for the committee are just examples. I’m not married to any of them, but they are though to give you a more concrete example. While the chances of this are slim and none, it would be a step in the right direction in terms of taking the game out of the hands of the suits and putting it back in the hands of the fans.