Senior College Football Columnist

In playoff selections test drive, some voters have some explaining to do


The power is intoxicating. Ten angry men in a room deciding the fate of college football? Best thing since S-E-X, er, BCS.

Which is kind of the point.

We here at decided not to wait two years for the first playoff, the details of which are still being hashed out. We decided to form our own selection committee and hash things out right now, weekly, until the end of the season. It begins this week to parallel the first BCS standings.

OK, so we didn't meet in what you would call a room. As you might have guessed, we're virtual. That's the point of the ".com" thing. Our committee is composed of's four college football bloggers, four columnists, bowl/numbers/BCS guru Jerry Palm and Heisman Pundit Chris Huston. (The roster appears below.) The weekly task is to decide who the four playoff teams would be right now if a playoff were in effect.

College Football Final Four
1. Alabama
4. Notre Dame
Alabama OR Notre Dame
vs. Oregon OR Florida
2. Oregon
3. Florida

For now, the results look a lot like the current human polls and BCS. 1. Alabama, 2. Oregon, 3. Florida, 4. Notre Dame. In our world, No. 4 Notre Dame would play No. 1 Alabama in one semifinal and No. 2 Oregon would host No. 3 Florida in the other.

We'll let you mull the possibilities. You probably noticed there are two SEC teams in the playoff. LSU and South Carolina are close behind at No. 7 and No. 8. You can understand why commissioner Mike Slive lobbied like crazy against the conference-champs-only model.

In the four-team bracket, it would be fascinating to see Alabama's pro-style everything go against Notre Dame. (They've only met six times, and Alabama has won once.) Oregon's REM (Rapid Eye Movement) offense would test Florida's Will-ful defense.

Let's cut to the controversy here. Seven different teams received top-four votes. Kansas State was an extremely close fifth, four points behind Notre Dame. You should be getting an idea of what the real humans -- wait, that didn't sound right -- face in two years.

They would have to decide dicey situations like Kansas State or Notre Dame. They would have to consider the highest-ranked non-BCS school for a possible seventh bowl. For us, this week, it would be No. 16 Louisville against a Pac-12 or Big 12 school.

There would be outliers, like blogger Matt Hinton, who would no doubt receive, ahem, queries about ranking Alabama second and Oregon fifth. Likewise, blogger Tom Fornelli would likely have to explain leaving both Oklahoma and Southern California off his ballot.

For lack of a better title, Palm is our executive director and compiles the ballots each week. We're each voting for a top 15. One of us will write a summary and the results will be released each Monday. Unlike the real committee two years from now, there are no allegiances. We're only interested in opening a window to the future.

Your feedback, as always, is welcome.

( playoff selection committee: Tony Barnhart, Dennis Dodd, Bruce Feldman, Bryan Fischer, Tom Fornelli, Jeremy Fowler, Matt Hinton, Chris Huston, Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson)

Selection Committee
Notre Dame1184564334553
Kansas St.1145445553645
S. Carolina837788769799
Oregon St.8388599868610
Florida St.5012101210101210101014
W. Virginia281111--1212--14131512
Miss. St.1815141111141515----15
Texas Tech13----------913--13--
Texas A&M6------------1115----

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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