Fab 5-0: How the playoff selection committee should look

More media than anything else.

That’s my take on the proposed selection committee that is going to select/help select the Football Four beginning in 2014. A playoff is coming – pending presidential approval – we just don’t know many details.

Put forth here is a group of voters to guide the process. Calling them voters is even confusing. We don’t know for sure if there is going to be a weekly “poll” to rank teams. One source said this week that the committee/poll may weigh in two to three times a season but that’s not set in stone. My thought in this has always been to get as close to the AP poll as possible. That’s why my 50-member committee is media heavy. We/they are the most objective like it or not.

Inviting a small group of insiders to decide football’s playoff teams is way different than college basketball’s selection committee picking 37 at-large teams and seeding the field. Any controversy over team No. 68 dies down after about a day. A college football playoff is for all the Tostitos.

There are inherent biases in a small committee. Bigger is definitely better. Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer cannot sit on a small committee because he is the former SEC commissioner. In my group, he is more than welcome because with 50 members, hopefully biases and opinions are balanced.

Participants accept the position with the knowledge that there may be criminal background checks and that personal information may be requested by the public through the Freedom of Information Act. That’s not me. That’s the age we live in. Get used to it. It’s going to happen. It only takes one of the participants to have a DUI, a public divorce or some other legal entanglement to get the likes to TMZ involved.

Disclaimer: This list does not take into account if any of these persons currently vote in the AP poll, or that their employer would bar them from joining this committee.

Ground rules: Individual ballots will be available. No, released publicly whenever available. Full transparency.

--The commissioners say they want “weight” given to conference champions. They’re still not clear on how that would work. The suggestion here is that a subcommittee be established after the regular season to weigh conference champions. That would have come into play last year when No. 5 Pac-12 champ Oregon would have missed out on the top four to No. 4 Stanford, which it defeated head-to-head.

--Any former coach, player or administrator, while on the committee, cannot contribute money to any former college employer.


My list in alphabetical order …


Tony Barnhart, CBSSports.com – Mr. College Football, the conscience of the sport. If there was a commissioner of college football, he’d be it.

Rachel Bachman, Wall Street Journal – Talented former Portland Oregonian staffer covers the national scene for the WSJ.


Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel – Influential Florida (and national columnist) who knows where the skeletons are buried at Miami, Florida and Florida State.


Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe – What hasn’t he done? When Blau writes they pay attention all over the Northeast.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman – Knows more about Texas football than Darrell Royal.

Rick Bozich, WDRB, Louisville – Made headlines recently by moving to the dark, er, TV side. One of the most talented columnists in the country, formerly of the Louisville Courier-Journal.


Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News – Chuck pretty much is the college coverage at the Morning News. Intimate knowledge of the Big 12.


Gene Corrigan, retired -- One of the most respected administrators in history as Notre Dame AD and ACC commissioner. Also served on several NCAA commissioners. His advise is still sought.

Ron Dayne, 1999 Heisman Trophy winner.


Vince Dooley, former Georgia coach. Hall of famer. Gentleman.


Tony Dorsett, 1976 Heisman winner.


Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times – National college columnist for a national newspaper. He doesn’t turn phrases. He puts them in a head lock and makes them tap out. 

Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com – Three best-selling books, 17 years at ESPN, colleague. Incredibly insightful.

Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports – Former ESPN.commer whose weekly Forde Yard Dash is a referendum on the sport.


Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Has covered Missouri, Big Eight, Big 12 and the nation for more than 20 years.


Ken Goe, Portland Oregonian – Talented Oregon and Pac-12 beat writer. We should all work so hard.  


Teddy Greenstein, Chicago TribuneWhen not playing golf with celebs or covering majors, Teddy G holds it down on the Big Ten, Big Ten Network and Northwestern.

Archie Griffin, president/CEO, Ohio State Alumni Association – Only double Heisman winner. Experienced voice as an athlete and administrator.


Glenn Guilbeau, Gannett Louisiana Newspapers – Insider on LSU football.


Wally Hall, Arkansas Democrat – Experienced sports editor and columnist. With apologies to LeBron, we kneel at the foot of his throne.


Matt Hayes, Sporting News – The sport’s idea man. All of them make sense.


Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN – Any loyal Buckeye who has to move from Columbus to Nashville because he’s too “critical” is OK by me. Voice of reason on the show that sets the national agenda (Game Day).

Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial-Appeal – At the hub of Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Memphis. Also writes for SECSports.com.


Mike Huguenin, Rivals.com – Prolific national columnist with incredible analytic talent.

Keith Jackson, retired broadcaster -- The voice of the game. At 83, he is still God. We remain the faithful.


Don James, former Washington coach – West Coast football is different because of him. Three-time Pac-10 coach of the year won a national championship and 178 games in 21 years as a head coach.

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star – As newspapers take a hit, the Star sports section has risen above the turmoil to become one of the best in the country. Kerkhoff, the national and Big 12 writer, is one of the reasons.


Roy Kramer, former SEC commissioner -- Invented the BCS. Don’t blame him. Listen to every word. Roy broke the seal on divisional play and conference championship games. He is the father of the modern SEC that rules the landscape. Bubbas everywhere owe him respect.

Chris Low, ESPN.com – Only Mike Slive knows more about the SEC. Maybe.


Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger – Forceful voice in the Northeast covering Rutgers and the Big East.

Bernie Machen, president, Florida – Machen is retiring next year after overseeing Urban Meyer at two schools (Utah as well). That should be enough to qualify him. The respected administrator also has degrees from Vanderbilt, St. Louis and Iowa.


Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com – Creative, wonderful cfb writer who has set the agenda for years.


Stewart Mandel, SI.com – National college football columnist wrote, “Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls: Tackling the Chaos and Controversy That Reign Over College Football.” Any questions?


Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation – Seems to have done well starting a family.


Tim May, Columbus Dispatch – Knows more about Ohio State football than Jim Tressel. Especially now.

Malcolm Moran, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State – Decades of experience at New York Times and USA Today, to name just two.

Austin Murphy, Sports Illustrated – The embodiment of Cali, except that this Bay Area resident covers it all lyrically for SI.


Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman – The Idaho Statesman columnist has been at Ground Zero for the rise of Boise State as a national power.


Chuck Neinas, outgoing Big 12 commissioner – The game literally owes its modern success to Neinas. As head of the old College Football Association, Neinas helped lead the fight against the NCAA in the landmark Supreme Court anti-trust decision. His latest accomplishment: Saving the Big 12 from imploding. Not bad. Universally respected. There is no credible committee without Neinas.


Lenn Robbins, New York Post – This year’s Football Writers Association of America president. Day job is keeping national college football on its toes.

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald – The conscience of Nebraska football. Lover of golf, San Diego and the College World Series.


Chris Spielman, ESPN – Former Ohio State, NFL great whose book “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story” will make you weep.

Roger Staubach, 1963 Heisman winner.


Pete Thamel, New York Times – Respected national college writer. There was a time when the NYT gave passing interest to college football. Thamel has changed the dynamic at his paper and nationally.

Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner -- Look at it this way. When Tranghese was commissioner, the Big East was successful and thriving. Look at it now. Tranghese would have the ear of every voter on this committee.


Herschel Walker, 1982 Heisman winner and big Dawg – USFL legend. Athletic freak, MMA enthusiast.


Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News – His blog “College Hotline” does major invasive surgery on the Pac-12 and national scene.


Bud Withers, Seattle Times – Veteran who knows it and writes it all in the Northwest.

Dick Weiss, New York Daily News – If you don’t know who "Hoops" is, stop reading. Now.


Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports – There is no selection committee without one of the authors of “Death To The BCS”.




CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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