You can’t stop settling it on the field. You can only hope to contain it.

John Pennington:

When the conference commissioners decided to do away with polls and computers in favor of a selection committee, we warned that come March everyone would be reminded of all the things they dislike about selection committees.  Here we are.  And with people complaining about the sheer randomness of the seeding process as well as the hard-to-figure out invitation process for the final four or five bubble teams, it should all be quite worrisome for college football fans.  If there’s this much debate over 68 teams, how hot will temperatures rise when we’re talking about a bracket that will include only four teams?

The good news is that the football panel will have a former Secretary of State, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, and a career basketball man to help pick the teams and set the matchups.  Yes.  That was sarcasm.

If anything, the 13-member football panel should expect to receive even more hate mail than the hoops group.  As we noted above, more teams will be getting turn-downs in football.  And American sports fans are also more passionate about college football.  (Check the TV ratings and recent TV contracts if you need proof.)  There will be some serious howling when a team ranked in the top four of all the (now meaningless) polls gets jumped by a fifth- or sixth-ranked team that won its league.  Top 25ish SMU not getting one of 36 at-large bids?  Try an SEC runner-up getting bounced by a lesser-ranked Big Ten champ.

Every March we’re treated to Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale and Seth Davis and Andy Katz telling us what the hoops committee got wrong.  Set your DVRs.  This December we’ll get another batch of analysts telling us everything the football committee botched in carrying out its duties.  So prepare yourself right now to be disappointed.  We see no way the College Football Playoff selection committee escapes controversy.  The basketball committee never does.

That last point – how often do we bitch about ESPN’s narrative?  Is there any reason to think the selection committee will be immune from that?  Of course not.  A couple of loudly trumpeted “controversies” about a deserving number five and we’ll find ourselves in the same kind of mess that playoff proponents insisted the BCS created.

We’ve got playoff fever.  And the only prescription is more playoff.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

6 responses to “You can’t stop settling it on the field. You can only hope to contain it.

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I predict that there will come a time when serious football will people yearn for the days of the BCS and a bright line where it was clear to all who was in and who wasn’t–without human fudging.


  2. stoopnagle

    Yes, but will we hear: didn’t even win its division again?


  3. Gravidy

    Full disclosure: I’m no fan of the playoff and where it will inevitably lead. Having said that, I’m not sure what his point is. Is he alleging that there was never any complaining about computers and polls? That would be news to me.


  4. Governor Milledge

    While they added some people to the playoff selection committee to lend it seriousness and gravitas (looking at you, Condi), these people will also be very visible during the selection period.

    Can anyone name 2 people on the basketball committee? I guarantee that our current football committee will not last with its same roster through the 2014 football season — too much heat.


  5. Dog in Fla

    Shorter USA TODAY Sports scan of backgrounds on the 13 College Football Playoff selection committee members:

    Chair: Jeff Long – likes Bert Bielema
    Barry Alvarez – dislikes Bert Bielema
    Lt. Gen. Michael Gould – hates the enemy
    Pat Haden – hates Lane
    Tom Jernstedt – loves basketball
    Oliver Luck – hates the guy who took what should have been his job as Texas AD
    Archie Manning – dislikes Saints, Colts, Chargers
    Tom Osborne – likes corn
    Dan Radakovich – dislikes Tech
    Condoleezza Rice – dislikes daily intelligence briefings
    Mike Tranghese – dislikes bigger feeder conferences
    Steve Wieberg – fondly remembers USA TODAY newspaper
    Tyrone Willingham – hates getting fired


  6. Macallanlover

    I doubt there will be nearly as much complaining about the four, or eight, teams selected for CFB playoffs as there are about basketball. Many of the experts here think we have been able to clearly identify the best two teams during the BCS era, if so, putting two ill-equipped teams in is not going to offend many at all since the two best will dust their asses off in short order. Will there be grumbling from those one or two schools who thought they should have picked 3rd or 4th? Sure, but that is a small outcry when we are headed into a real playoff and will be quickly dismissed and forgotten.

    Once conference champions from the five power conferences are included every year, all legit complaints are down away with because those geographies will have crowned their representatives and been granted a ticket. We will still have number 9 or 10 bitching, but everyone will have had their chance. I expect minor bickering relative to the basketball noise, mostly about seeding. There are many more difficult, debateable questions on that than there will ever be about CFB.