Get ready to be angry, college football fans. That’s because the new college football playoffs will be an embarrassment of epic proportions.
I’ll go so far as to say that after a few years of the four-team playoff’s current format, we’ll all be longing for the BCS to return.
That’s not an exaggeration – I really think it’s going to be that bad.
In case you didn’t see the news, the College Football Playoff selection committee was formally introduced this week in Irving, Texas.
The committee is comprised of 13 members, and their task will be to collectively determine the four best teams in college football for next season’s playoffs. The committee will also place other teams into 2014’s BCS bowls that are not part of the playoff format.
Some of the names within the group are recognizable, while others are not.
As a whole, I think it’s an underwhelming collection of folks who are either unqualified or simply unable to accurately perform the duties from within the job.
Let’s start with problem No. 1: the athletic directors.
Five of the 13 members of the committee are active athletic directors at power institutions across the country – universities like Wisconsin, Arkansas, Southern California and Clemson.
Having a voting committee comprised of athletic directors is completely asinine for a multitude of reasons.
The first is logistics. Do you know how many college football games an active athletic director watches on a college football Saturday?
The answer is simple: one. USC AD Pat Haden watches the Trojans each week and no one else. Likewise, Clemson AD Dan Radakovich watches his Tigers and only his Tigers on every college Saturday.
There’s simply not enough time in the day for these men to see anyone else. Between tailgating (with boosters), meeting people and making new connections, the entirety of a Saturday for these folks is spent with their own school.
So by putting athletic directors on the committee, we are conceding that five of the folks on the committee will only see a handful of games each season.
If one cannot see how that is an obvious flaw in the system, then I have some beach property in Missouri to sell to ‘ya.
Besides for the obvious flaw of athletic directors simply not watching enough games, the elephant in the room is also present within their decisions: bias.
If Clemson is one of the top few teams in the country, does anyone really think that their athletic director will lobby against his school’s inclusion in the playoffs?
Duh. Of course not.
Likewise, if a school in Clemson’s conference is also in the running, does anyone think that the Tigers’ AD will lobby against that team, as well?
Double duh. Again, of course not – including another ACC team in the playoffs helps recruiting for the entire conference.
This is not going to be a huge problem because each power conference has just a lone voice in the room. But to think that bias and agendas will not be present is just silly. All five of the athletic directors in the room will be looking out for their own interests.
So let’s quit picking on the athletic directors for a minute and focus on some of the other names on the committee that we have problems with.
Let’s start with Archie Manning.
As we all know, Manning is a former great New Orleans Saint and also the father of NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning.
But Archie is an Ole Miss graduate and also a Rebels’ booster. Heck, the dude chaired the search committee that hired Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
While Manning is on the committee, will he step away from such activities and focus primarily on keeping tabs with the sport?
He may. But I’ll believe it when I see it.
Or how about my personal favorite committee pick, former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach Tyrone Willingham.
Willingham was a college football head coach for 14 seasons, the last of which came in 2008 with the Huskies.
But Willingham’s phone has been dry since that 2008 season, because he hasn’t been overly successful in any of his coaching gigs.
Willingham led winning seasons in just six of his 14 years on the sidelines. He won just a lone bowl game throughout his career – the 1996 Sun Bowl.
He was fired from Notre Dame after just three underwhelming seasons. He didn’t last much longer at Washington, getting canned after four years – the last of which was a winless 0-12 campaign.
So I guess what we’re saying is this: If Willingham knew quality football, why couldn’t he reenact it for his own teams as a coach?
If this guy is such a guru, then why is he just 59, but retired from coaching because of a lack of opportunity?
And then, there’s Condoleezza Rice.
The former U.S. Secretary of State will be the lone female vote on the committee – an opportunity she lobbied for once it was announced that college football would shift to a playoff system.
Having a woman on the committee isn’t a problem to me – plenty of females know enough about football to recognize real versus fake on the gridiron.
But is Rice really that person? I tend to think not.
Would you hire a plumber to fix your leaky roof?
Probably not, right?
So why are we hiring a career politician to fix our college football season?
Rice is just a big name hand-picked to create headlines for the committee – a face more recognizable than the athletic directors and former coaches on the board.
It all adds up to an unbalanced equation – a math problem that will likely end with the wrong teams being selected and fans being upset with the way the playoff format is handled.
But then again, maybe that’s what the NCAA wants, because more gripes will mean more demand for an eight or 16-team system. Of course, more teams means more money, which is what this is all about.
Ugh, I don’t like where this is headed.
Just give me the BCS back before it’s too late.