I mentioned that while the money fight from the new postseason would get most of the attention, the selection committee would be the place where the real action is.
It turns out that the two may be joined at the hip. Per Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick,
The most notable revelations from Swarbrick on Wednesday were the criteria ND must meet to qualify for consideration for the top tier of bowls in years the Irish fall short of the Final Four, and that a selection committee will be charged with not only designating the four teams to play for the national title, but creating weekly standings of what it considers to be the top 20 teams from midseason on.
Twenty teams? Why so, when only four qualify for the national playoff? Well, because it’s the teams that show up in the next eight slots that will be eligible as at-large schools to play in the top bowls. And that’s big.
But because there are six bowls that will rotate as hosts as the national semifinals and because of bowl tie-ins with the Rose, Champions and Orange bowls, there may be years with very limited at-large spots available.
“Because of the complexity of the Rose and Champions bowls and the Orange Bowl,” Swarbrick said, “it’s impossible in any year to say it’ll be ‘X’ spots available for teams 5-12.”
If you’re a school not in one of the big five conferences, your window of opportunity has just shrunk. I’m amazed Swarbrick signed off on this. If the day comes when Notre Dame has to join a conference, you’ll probably be able to point to this as why.
All this is all the more reason the selection process itself has to be transparent. With this much at stake, financially speaking, being placed on it, there will be tremendous pressure to see certain schools’ appearance.
Publishing weekly results is nice, but if nobody knows how the results were tabulated and the committee isn’t required to explain them, it’s hardly going to matter. The way the BCS results flipped in 2007 after West Virginia lost in the last game of its regular season left a bad taste in a lot of Georgia fans’ mouths. That kind of unexplained reshuffling by a selection committee won’t sit any better – at least not with the public.