Senior College Football Columnist

Human selection committee for BCS playoffs only spells trouble


Will a small select committee be charged with deciding who plays for the national title? (Getty Images)  
Will a small select committee be charged with deciding who plays for the national title? (Getty Images)  

A human selection committee for the coming college football playoff is a really bad and stupid idea.

Seven to 10 guys in a room deciding major college football's first-ever tournament like they were secret government scientists poking at an alien corpse? Or think of it this way: Your master's thesis being reviewed by Barry Alvarez, Roy Kramer and friends.

Can't imagine there would be any problems with that. And before we go any further, let's assume it wouldn't be seven to 10 guys. We're talking diversity in the Old Boys Club, people, if we're truly talking fairness and transparency.

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Somehow, some way, the human committee concept has gained traction as a method to decide which four teams should play for the national championship beginning in 2014. Alvarez, Wisconsin's athletic director, has endorsed the idea. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds likes it.

These are two smart, accomplished men supporting an incredibly awful plan.

Compare a stand-alone human committee to the current BCS set up -- six computers, plus the Harris and coaches' polls. The BCS is actually starting to sound attractive. More really is better in college football. I don't want a small group of anyone deciding my fate. That means I'm either in court or on the operating table.

Let's hope none of these select men (and women) ever gets so much as a speeding ticket -- or a DUI or is sued or has an affair. Laugh now, but something like that will happen sooner or later. Where would that leave such an august group's credibility in this social media age?

Oh, and the minute this committee is announced, I'm filing Freedom of Information Act requests on everything. Their emails, phone records, tax liens, underwear purchases. All of it. And I'm FOI-ing constantly. And it doesn't have to be me. It could be anyone, but these people will be held accountable. If the college powers that be are going to go through with this, I'd recommend criminal background checks on all the participants. For starters.

But I'm sure the human committee advocates have thought of all this.

College football is different. The reason the NCAA basketball committee works is because of the sample size. The public readily accepts nine people in a room selecting and seeding 68 teams that play approximately 35 games each.

Ten people deciding the best four teams after 12 football games is asking for trouble. There are built-in biases. I can easily think of a small group of influential power brokers that would serve. I also believe every one of them has an alma mater.

And jobs. Kramer was commissioner of the SEC. Alvarez is a Big Ten guy. A committee of former coaches? It's being done. For fun. Charge them with rating teams that will be part of a $400 million playoff and scrutiny gets a bit more intense.

If I'm a Florida fan, I don't want Bobby Bowden anywhere near that committee. We've seen how current coaches have been able to massage their own poll.

We're in the heart of the offseason. A playoff is more than two years away. That gives a lot of people a lot of time to offer a lot of opinions. The human committee may be nothing more than bloviating by the college football elite. The commissioners who will actually decide the playoff model may share my views. A human committee might be a pipe dream.

If not, though, look out. Underwear purchases just became a lot more interesting. To me, at least.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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