So, what exactly is “football expertise”?

‘Cause Mike Slive is looking for a few good men.

“Clearly what you want: we want a committee that has football expertise, and we need to find the right people,” said Slive, who met last week with College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock and other officials in Pasadena.

“We want integrity, and we want transparency, because this is our opportunity to make sure that not only are we comfortable but you’re (the media) comfortable and all the fans are comfortable that this process is the way it should be. It’s not going to be easy.”

More like it’s not going to happen.  Let’s face it, there are a ton of not-so-hidden agendas out there where the real battles over the selection committee will be fought.

Slive arguably has more at stake than anyone in the committee discussion. The BCS system has been highly favorable to the SEC, whose teams’ repeated postseason triumphs have helped bolster their favorability with the pollsters who currently vote teams into the title game. A committee untethered from the traditional polls could be more discerning and possibly less forgiving of the now 14-team league’s insistence on staying at eight conference games (the Big Ten will soon join the Big 12 and Pac-12 at nine) and feasting on Sun Belt and FCS foes.

Scott, who does not come from the basketball committee background, presumably wants his teams rewarded for their historically stronger nonconference schedules, but he’s also less familiar with the associated metrics. Delany, whose league has inarguably fallen behind of late, has spoken out in the past about valuing a conference championship and perhaps not rewarding a team like 2011 Alabama that did not win its own division. Bowlsby must be on guard that his conference won’t be penalized for its lack of a conference championship game.

It’s not outright dishonesty, or even the blatant conflicts of interest that have marred the Coaches Poll for years, that concern me.  It’s the more subtle tug-of-war that the committee members are likely to engage in with close calls and how much spreading the wealth, so to speak, between the conferences enters into the decision process that has me nervous.  (If there’s one lesson to be taken from the BCS experience, it’s that there will be a fair number of seasons with close calls.)  Don’t think that’s not in the minds of Slive and his peers right now as they try to build the better mousetrap.

It seems to me that Slive has already won a very significant concession with the agreement that a conference can have more than one participant in the playoffs.  Take a postseason that features two (or more) SEC teams on a regular basis, add the above vested interests and you’ve got a formula that virtually guarantees postseason expansion, Bill Hancock’s straight-faced denials notwithstanding.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

24 responses to “So, what exactly is “football expertise”?

  1. paul

    Meet the new bass. Same as the old boss. We’ve moved around a lot of the pieces, renegotiated all the TV deals and renamed everything. But the same people, literally, are still in charge. If he believed we were actually likely to get integrity and transparency, Slive wouldn’t be talking about it the way he is. Like the handlers that run with Ralphie the buffalo, Slive is doing his best to guide the committee in the direction it ought to follow. But like the buffalo, he knows it ain’t going there if it don’t really want to.

  2. Big Shock

    My guess is that “football expertise” = guys from ESPN.

    And I’m sure if you ask around the conference, any member would welcome a 9 game Big 10, Big 12 or PAC12 schedule.

  3. Macallanlover

    You could have eliminated 95% of the consternation over how this is done, or who makes the selection, by allowing representation of the “power” conference champions a seat at the table. All it took was to allow more than 4 teams in the playoff, one more round to get to eight, and most of the wind would go out of the sails. Would some still whine about the three “at large” entrees? Sure, you can never get away from that but how many really care about #8 versus #9? NCAA basketball has that argument about its tourney but the winner has credibility and the back-end arguments fade away except for a few thousand whiners. Win your conference, which you control, and punch your ticket to the dance. If you don’t, subject yourself to the whims of the voters. If you aren’t in a “power conference”, you had better schedule a damn hard group of teams, including someone from the Big Boy group to dazzle to the judges and beat the crap out of everyone you play.

    After the champs of the SEC, PAC 12, Big ?, Big 12, ACC, there could be three at-large spots for voters to select from. A committee within the NCAA, or a committee outside that group (AP or Mumme Poll?), or even a fan popularity vote where voters can pick a team and vote one time online per computer they control. I know the last thought sounds uncontrollable but I have voted online where there are ways to limit the ballot stuffing. Any contrived effort by one school would get dluted by the size of the voting population, I think. Doesn’t matter, that idea isn’t getting adopted anytime soon, neither is straightening out the mess the NCAA made of this by going with four and leaving themselves with the same shortfall they had before.

    • Cojones

      Mac, take a look at ESPN online numbers by school. They used to post those as “online now” or some words of such. You will find OSU, Mich, FU, and other wannabes pummeling the ESPN network glorifying their school. It will become a popularity contest by those schools leveraging more voices than we can. I don’t want any fan polls allowed else the Big10 and Pac12 teams will inundate the rest of us.

      They (NCAA) have made this bed and by damned they should be made to sleep in it. Instead of getting to a real playoff, they just pick a few more teams in this popularity contest. Delany is already pushing the 9-game meme to a false SOS importance level, but his whole intent is to cut the distance between the SEC lead and the Big10 teams without deciding it on the field. He knows they won’t fare very well when team strengths are measured so he is trying to get a leg up in the “football expertise” minds that will be selected as the adjudicators of the 4 teams to play for the NC. The ahole simply keeps trying to curry favor by stacking the deck ahead of time. If he still is unsuccessful, Delany will push the 20-member conferences to dilute the SEC back to where he is.

      Various groups rank the teams each year and they are “averaged” into polls. At least all of those sources don’t smack of rank subjectivity when compiling the polls, unlike what Delany keeps lobbying for. Take the top 8 teams and have a playoff. It all can be provided for easier and with less subjectivity than there is now in the system (especially since the Coach’s Poll will no longer count) and what Delany keeps trying to control. As long as we keep picking teams subjectively, the CFB scene will be a mess. This entire farce will blow up before 2015. Right now the NCAA and it’s would-be controlers are whistling in the dark. No one knows the answers to the problems that they have dreamed up past our (well mine, anyway) protestations.

      • Macallanlover

        I know the popular vote has its drawbacks but something about letting the fans control one spot has appeal to me. I think the ballot stuffing can be minimized some way but maybe not. Perhaps the one at-large spot would have to come from the Top 10 poll teams that haven’t secured a spot.

        I agree taking an average from the various polls is a good way to lessen the impact of any one body’s bias. If I were Delany I might be worried about my conference getting a guaranteed spot if we just selected the 5 best conferences. I know we make fun of the ACC here but the Big ? has been grossly overrated for decades. They have 2-3 programs that could compete for a Division title in the SEC most years but beyond that, the schedules in that conference always sets someone to be rated highly just because of lack of competition. Seriously, all the MNCs after the 70s of tosu and Michigan are suspect to me. How many of those teams would beaten the SEC, Big 12, or ACC winner those years? And how many would have gone with fewer than 2 losses in those other conferences in those years? I am not saying they weren’t good teams, but they didn’t have to be very good to go unbeaten so we will never know. That is why I want the conference champs to be invited to the playoffs, because you can never really know a conference’s relative strength.

    • Connor

      This is part of the reason why it is will obviously go to eight, the other being money. And then it will go to 12, and so on. There’s no reason to think that if two and four are so objectionable that eight is somehow a magic number. Now that the ball is rolling it won’t stop.

      • Eight opens up a new can of worms. There simply aren’t eight teams each year that clearly deserve a shot at a subjective postseason title. Once you cross the barrier of letting some lesser credentialed teams in, you’ve opened up the gates for more.

        I will gladly take all of that back if the powers that be go to an all-conference champs model, power conferences-only version. But I’m not holding my breath for that.

        • Connor

          Couldn’t agree more. Every expansion of the playoff field leads to a corresponding expansion of the teams considered worthy of admission to the playoff which leads to demand for expansion of the playoff… Throw in the fact that playoffs are solid gold to TV and the discussion of playoff expansion is not one of “if” but simply of “when.”

    • Mac, it’s going to eight, but it ain’t stopping there.

      • Cojones

        Disagree. Most fans would object like hell to go past 8 teams. There will be more of a conscensus opinion about 8 than you can get with any other number.

      • Macallanlover

        You may be right Senator, there is certainly a case to be made that the wise men at the NCAA and the Presidents aren’t above doing some dumb things. But the reason for 8 isn’t because I think that is a magic number, or because there are always eight great teams that all deserve the shot equally so I can agree with you on that point. It is because you never know which conference champions are worthy that particular season, and you will certainly never convince fans of that geography they aren’t the best and toughest conference. Including them is the right thing because of that, it denies any one from saying we didn’t have our shot. Look at Louisville last season, Florida simply laid down and legitimized the Big East fans’ complaints if they aren’t included. I would rather have a slight over inclusion formula than not enough, which is where we are.

        I really think six would be the best number but would rather not have 2 teams get a bye, so eight works better. Proportionately that is around 6-7% of the 120 teams which seems very reasonable. Maybe it should be set so that any expansion cannot be over 10%. I would whole heartedly endorse a cap once we get enough spots to include legitimate conference champs. That demands 5-6 at this time, so allowing a couple of at-large wildcards to capture those who are “elite” that year isn’t asking for much.

        • You keep thinking this is about coming up with a representative field. That’s not what this is about. It’s about, just like every other postseason above the high school level, money, pure and simple.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            It’s all about the benjamins. These players are just dressed in suits …. that’s all.

          • Macallanlover

            Cynic! I only know the planets are aligning for something I have long wanted, even if it is half-assed in the beginning. If the end objective is accomplished, I can live with it being done for the wrong reason. However, it may also be why they may inevitably screw it up eventually because their principles are faulty. After all these years without a legit champion, I can live with that….I even feel entitled. Like everything else, my children will pay for the collapse brought about for lack of integrity.

            I feel we will do this screwed up 4 team playoff thingy for 10-12 years, then get it right at 8 teams for another dozen or so. I will have checked out by then, but I feel I deserve to see it move in a better direction.

            • Of course I’m a cynic, Mac. After watching these guys operate over a period of years, how can you not be?

              • Macallanlover

                I meant it sarcastically, your thoughts on this have been made several times. And you are right in the vast majority of cases. I do think the Golden Goose will be dead before long and the unraveling will be very ugly. What will CFB be like when the money dries up and is not paid, or begins a rapid decline? Coming to a theater near you. In the meantime, the addicts are gulping down the green poison.

    • Dog in Fla

      The goal to which CFB Peak-Playoff aspires is 68 teams, with four play-in games, before the actual madness starts

  4. Cojones

    What exactly is “football expertise”?

    Some of you already are aware of the “expert” def that’s been given ad nauseam, but here’s a shot:

    Some unknown football drip under pressure at a strip joint.

  5. cube

    Considering that the polls are absolutely horrible, I’m not worried at all about the committee being worse.

  6. Senator,

    I think I’ve finally broken the code. (I’m so smart.)

    Why all the fascination with nine game conference schedules? Why would my beloved coach Saban throw his support behind such?

    It makes no sense with such a competitive league (as most coaches would agree) and it has the potential to hurt the home town with one less home game every other year.

    I believe they are setting us up for an expanded playoff – and sooner than we think.

    About the only way a nine game conference schedule makes sense is if you are trying to get multiple teams into a playoff system. The SEC has won the last umpteen BCS titles therefore we are almost guaranteed one team in the title game. Therefore it makes no sense to make the road to the title harder with another conference game.

    All this has to mean a bigger playoff field and sooner than most would like.

    Have a good day,