With the news that Archie Manning is recusing himself from selection committee service for health reasons, the College Football Playoff folks announce they’ll muddle through the rest of the season with only a 12-member committee.
I can’t figure out if that’s a plus or a minus.
Another day, another buffet.
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At least we know they’ve got a good excuse to watch a lot of college football on TV.
I don’t know if this is a matter of semantics, or if these guys are serious about the distinction, but the selection committee continues its weekly mission of making me scratch my head.
In wide-ranging interviews with four committee members last week — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and former NCAA executive vice president Tom Jernstedt — none cared to compare conferences.
“At this point in the process, I don’t think in terms of conference strength,” Long said. “I think at the end of the day that’s something we’ll look back on and say [how relevant conference strength was.] … The balloting process we do will compare teams against each other and who they’ve played, and I think that’s less about conference than it is who they’ve played, even within a conference.”
“I don’t think there’s any need to make a judgment as to this conference is better than that conference,” he said. “You sit there and evaluate this team versus that team. Our obligation is to select the four best teams.”
If the SEC West plays out as the meat grinder it appears to be and those schools eat each other while continuing to destroy outside competition (no SEC West team has a loss outside the division yet), how is the strength of the conference not relevant to the selection committee’s deliberations?
Well, if the committee members are concerned about something other than spreading the wealth around to the power conferences, that is.
Nail, meet Rick Neuheisel’s hammer:
It’s only September, but we’re all talking about playoffs.
“It’s kind of sad,” says Neuheisel, who has taken part of the discussion in his role with the Pac-12 Network. “We’ve now created everything where I look at Georgia, and in Week One I say they’re a ‘final four’ team. Week Two, they’re out. Neither one of those premises are true. There’s still so much to be played.”
I know ESPN’s gotta ESPN, but he’s right. There is so much playoff noise in the system now and I suspect that’s played a part in contributing to our level of disappointment this week. Which is a shame, because as clichéd as it is for Georgia’s players and coaches to talk about their goals being unchanged, it’s still true, especially given that Georgia’s overcome losses to South Carolina before to get to the SECCG.
You will no doubt be shocked, shocked to learn that Jeff Long is totally fine with the idea that Pat Haden’s partisan behavior at the USC-Stanford game has no bearing on his ability to serve dispassionately on the playoff selection committee.
“Well, you know, Bill Hancock from the College Football Playoff issued a statement. But my view is very similar. You know, we can all get passionate about our teams, and you know, I’m passionate about the Arkansas Razorbacks. Matter of fact, I was at the volleyball game last night, and I was excited about some calls. But, you know, the Pac-12 handled it as they should. I think that it doesn’t affect the way that Pat Haden’s going to evaluate teams, make tough decisions when we come down to making tough decisions in the selection process. So, you know, I don’t think his actions affect his ability to serve extremely well on the Playoff Committee.”
Even if he did, I doubt he’d tell us. In any event, once you start questioning one athletic director’s impartiality, where will it end? Not at volleyball games, that’s for sure.