A few days ago, the commissioners of the eleven FBS conferences along with Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick announced that a consensus has been reached in regard to how College football will crown its champion. Four teams, seeded one hrough four, will play semifinal games at predetermined traditional bowl sites, with the two winners advancing to a championship game site that will be bid out every year. The commissioners also indicated that a selection committee will be used to determine the teams. The committee will be instructed to weigh both strength of schedule and whether or not a team won its conference. If implemented properly, the committee can be a dynamic addition to the post season.
Many people object to the selection committee based on pre existing biases among the members. First, any system will be inherently biased towards something or someone. A properly appointed and conducted selection committee offers two strong counter balances to any bias that may be inherent with the members. First counter balance is transparency. After the teams are announced, the members should be made available to media either in an interview status, or more likely, in a round table fashion in which each member reveals their ballots and reasoning for voting the way they did. The second counter balance will be, well, balance. For every Phil Fulmer you get a Lloyd Carr. For every Mike Belloti, a RC Slocum. I would also strongly advocate for long time mid major coaches such as Sonny Lubick of Colorado State and Jeff Bower of Southern Mississippi. Each of these men helped build solid mid major programs, often taking on a couple of “big boy’ teams a year. They know the game and might not have the prior ties to power programs that the aforementioned coaches do. Clearly, Slive, Delaney and the other commissioners were able to put aside their own conferences interests to do what is best for the sport of college football. Fulmer, Carr, Belotti and the other members are men who have a great deal of respect for the game and the current players and coaches. It is my belief that they would act in the best interest of college football.
Things I think the committee must do to be successful:
1.) Pay them, enough to make them take it seriously. $1M/ year is a nice round number. Members need to understand that for three and a half months, this will be a full time job.
2.) Members must be required to see games in person each week. Members must also view game tape of games they did not see. A conference call each week on Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss games played. Communication and evaluation need to be a significant part of the commitment to being a member. Members should not be limited to a specific region or conference. Phil Fulmer should be on the road in Ann Arbor, Norman, and Eugene and not limited to just Baton Rouge and Athens.
3.) The committee should be small (eleven members with one being chairman). The concept of the Harris Poll is not a bad one, but over one hundred plus members, some of whom have dubious ties to the modern sport negatively impact the poll’s legitimacy. If the goal is a blue ribbon committee, then the members should have impeccable credentials.
4.) The committee should only release one set of rankings, those following the conference championship games. One of the biggest flaws of the current system is preseason rankings. The new committee should be involved from the first game to the last game. They need to see as many games in person as possible. Those games not seen in person need to be viewed on tape and weekly discussions need to be held. After the last conference game is played, the committee needs to convene in person and name the top four teams in college football.
Bryant Roberts is a life long SEC fan, has 2 autographed pictures of Steve Spurrier, is addicted to BBQ, and a graduate of Presbyterian College. Follow him on twitter here. Also he is the newest LOHD writer.