“Our focus is the best,” he said, “not the most deserving.”

In a world where a playoff selection committee member refers to winning a conference championship as a “nuance”, I think it’s pretty clear that the most important criteria for a school’s inclusion in the semi-finals field – besides making sure that your power conference doesn’t get screwed, of course – is the ability to bully your fellow committee members with some choice in the arena messaging.

Allow Barry Alvarez to demonstrate.

“I think a lot of it is your intent to play a strong schedule in your non-conference,” said Wisconsin AD and committee member Barry Alvarez. “… It’s pretty easy for me to take a look at a schedule and see what the intent of the schedule is.”


“Having broken down film, I think I know a little bit about football and what constitutes a good team,” said four-time Rose Bowl coach Alvarez. “… I really look forward to studying other conferences and teams. I know the Big Ten well. I look forward to studying others.”

Oliver Luck gets it.

“I think it makes a lot of sense to ask Barry Alvarez, ‘Hey, you guys played Michigan last week, tell us what you think. Tell us what your coaches said,’” said Luck. “I think it’s an asset to listen to Pat Haden talk about a Pac-12 team.”

I figure by the time the end of the regular season rolls around, a third of the members will be irritated by being patronized, another third will be turned off by the sucking up and the last third will be upset that their wisdom goes unappreciated.  At least that will distract those of us concerned about bias and the appearance of conflicts of interest.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs

43 responses to ““Our focus is the best,” he said, “not the most deserving.”

  1. Most of the media and “experts” seem to think the SEC will have an advantage in selections. Sure hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it that way at all. Quite the contrary, actually.


    • Well said as usual, Ivey. I actually think the committee is going to find ways to work against the SEC. It’s hard to believe $live was so enamored with the $$$ that he walked right into this trap of the selection committee.


      • 81Dog

        my flush reaction to the whole setup was that it was built to guarantee only one SEC team makes the final four. The Big Ten and ACC have just about become irrelevant the last 10 years (though FSU stepped up this year). I think they may have given up on keeping an SEC team out of the picture, but they want to make sure they at least have a seat at the big kids table for the final four. I will be shocked if they ever let another SEC v SEC matchup be a possibility.


        • James

          I’m pretty sure it was set up to increase revenue. Period.

          The SEC agreed to this, why would they have agreed if they thought it was set up solely to screw them?


          • The SEC agreed to this, why would they have agreed if they thought it was set up solely to screw them?

            That’s my hope. That somehow I’m seeing it wrong, and a 1-loss Ohio State won’t get in over a 2-loss Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, or LSU team, with close losses in a tough SEC regular season game, and the SECCG (assuming, of course, that the film shows the SEC team to be superior, which most of the time it will).

            Also, teams like OSU could easily be undefeated with their schedule, and not be a top 4 team. So you could have a 12-0 Ohio State team going against a superior 11-1 SEC team, who didn’t have a chance to play in the SECCG, for the 4th spot. And so on.

            I’m all for the FOUR BEST TEAMS playing for it. I hope they mean that. And let me be absolutely clear: I don’t want favorable treatment for the SEC. Just due consideration.

            But I don’t see us getting it.


  2. uglydawg

    I believe we will, in a very few years, see the whole thing as a big set-up to benefit the Big and Pac. This SEC…winning the NC almost every year, must not stand!


  3. Cosmic Dawg

    If I’m reading it correctly, there are actual conflicts of interest…we have grown so numb to cronyism we don’t even bother to grouse or feign surprise anymore.

    Taking what was formerly an interesting quasi-populist and fairly organic process and giving it to this technocratic star council is a damn disappointment.


    • I had part of the same thought: ‘APPEARANCE of conflict of interest.’ Appearance, my rosy red ass, Big Ten Breath.


      • It’ll be just like the bowl selections from the 20’s until the contracts kicked in: ‘Invite one of those inferior, bigoted, inbred, all white, backwards, socially irresponsible, politically incorrect, schedule loading, cupcake playing, 8 game schedule playing, northern powerhouse avoiding, small tv market occupying SEC teams?’ NFW! We’ve got to get some diversity!


  4. And, Excuse the hell out of me Jeff Long, but what’s the difference between the best and the most deserving?


  5. uglydawg

    Let me be the first to say that “Georgia’s on the bubble”.
    The little, bitty bubble.


  6. paul

    So, to summarize, “We’re making this up as we go along. Just keep sending the checks and everything will be fine.” Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.


  7. Bright Idea

    If UGA is in the discussion on December 7 we might as well accept now that we won’t get in short of 13-0 or 12-1 with that 1 being a squeaker on the road to a solid team. Of course their logic makes it sound like we need to beat Arkansas 45-0.


  8. Macallanlover

    Alverez is right, until winning the conference championship (Power 5 only) actually means you are in, it is a “nuance”. I have said forever, there will be an element of luck/politics/manipulation until we stop trying to determine which conference is more deserving. It is a half assed solution, twice the number of teams the BCS gave us but still did not address the problem it was intended to fix. You guys predicting expansion had to be right, not for expansion’s sake alone, but because the move to four was simply not adequate. Four is fine if you go to the 16 team Super conferences, otherwise you start at five as the absolute minimum…and that number doesn’t work for a playoff. Fairest method is 8 teams which insures you get all the deserving teams in, and the argument is about which of the other teams that didn’t earn their way get a wildcard spot. Not perfect, but doesn’t screw some conference that will always think they deserved, and earned, a seat at the table. Big difference in the passion in that argument. Conference titles should be what you fight hardest for, then there is the gravy that flows from that…and everyone controls their destiny.


    • Union Jack



    • Cosmic Dawg


      Either make it awesome and a little nutty with the sportswriters fighting a computer to vote for #1 (what a great Spencer Tracy image that brings to mind) or codify the process with conference champs in an 8 game playoff – this selection committee idea is horse****.

      With a playoff of conf champs you may also have the added benefit of increasing conf. parity as schools like Maryland and Kentucky move to less competitive conferences to have better chances to win titles…not that I want to get rid of Kentuckya.


  9. Will Trane

    Breaking down film for Coach Alvarez. Yep, nothing like calling yourself a genius. Unless Mike Bobo is on the field and he lights up your D in a bowl game. Sounds like the Coach has a memory problem and little understanding of SEC history.


  10. Keese

    Debate has existed for as long as I’ve known college football. This is nothing new but better than the BCS or AP crowning the “national champion”.

    The selection committee has already said that they will give tiebreakers to conference champs so how’s this any different? (except 4 teams actually playing instead of polled as Nat Champs).

    Stewart Mandel? Please…you rag that guy except when it fits your narrative


    • So because I’ve mocked several of Mandel’s opinions, direct quotes from third parties in response to his questions are tainted? Damn.

      I’m sure Mandel’s going to SEC Media Days. I guess that’s off limits to me now.


    • Cosmic Dawg

      Why is a committee of few subjective people, many of whom have direct ties to athletic depts / conferences, better than the checks and balances and diffused responsibility of a nation of many somewhat less subjective sportswriters + an entirely objective (if flawed) computer?

      Let me put this another way: if it were possible for candidates to “settle it on the field”, which system would you prefer for selecting, say, presidential candidates?


  11. The selection committee is a big joke and only serves the WWL’s desire to get this thing to 8 as quickly as possible. The BCS standings would have gotten to a sufficient answer using 4 and probably would have been able to identify the best team year in and year out. The move to 8 only cheapens the regular season and the value of the conference championships.

    Anyone who thinks the SEC will be at an advantage in this system is kidding themselves. The only way that happens would for #1 and #2 to be in the SEC and undefeated and then play a true Game of the Century that comes down to the last tick on the clock. Both may get in then, but otherwise, it will the SECCG winner only. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1 or 2-loss SEC champion get left out due to “strength of schedule” with 8 league games.


    • Macallanlover

      The SEC is not at an advantage, and they shouldn’t be. Every conference champion in the Power 5 deserves a spot in the playoff….equally. The SEC should probably get a 2nd team into an 8 team playoff but that will vary year by year. It doesn’t matter if your champ is guaranteed an entry, that makes it impossible to block teams from earning their way. I don’t care if the SEC gets two spots every year, it isn’t our birthright, but most years there should be a 2nd SEC team in an 8 team playoff. But your argument about being left out is less compelling when you had your chance to get in by winning your own title.


      • I completely agree, Macallan. I don’t want to see 8 because I don’t want to see a team that didn’t win its conference in a playoff. If you aren’t the best team in your conference, how can you make a claim to be the best team in the country? That’s why I will always say Bama’s national championship in 2011 is tainted because they couldn’t say they were the best team in their own conference. With 5 “power conferences,” 4 makes no sense, but 8 (unless it’s champions only) cheapens the regular season.


        • uglydawg

          Now wait a minute, Mac. Year after year after year we see the SEC dominating the top ten….Now all of a sudden the SEC may get an occasional second team into an 8 team playoff?
          History demands the SEC have at least two teams in an eight team playoff most years with an occasional 3 teams in.
          It may hurt feelings, but it is what it is and the SEC IS the best conference by a long shot…Playing eight or nine or even more conference games in the ACC or any conference other than the SEC does not impress me as a positive SOS factor. Playing eight in the SEC does,


          • It may hurt feelings, but it is what it is and the SEC IS the best conference by a long shot…Playing eight or nine or even more conference games in the ACC or any conference other than the SEC does not impress me as a positive SOS factor. Playing eight in the SEC does.

            Dead on, Ugly. A close friend of mine addressed this last summer on another board. This is what he said:

            “Every SEC team’s schedule is tough every year because there’s 8 SEC games on it (not that there aren’t other OOC teams with tough schedules in various years). Rankings like that don’t account for the difficulty of the overall schedule or the physical nature of the League. And most of all, they don’t account for the famous ‘SEC Grind’.”

            “Most people outside of the League don’t even know what the Grind is, much less understand it. That’s been true for all the years I’ve known the League. Even most coaches don’t understand it. Because it’s only after they have coached a team through an SEC schedule for the first time that they finally get it.”

            So it was interesting to see this interview of Bret Bielema the other day:


            This is what Bielema said: “The part that jumps out to me is the week-to-week grind,” Bielema said. “Certain coaches were hacked off about the SEC only having eight conference games. Well I’d love to see them come try those eight. There’s just nothing like it in the world of college football.”

            There’ve been many other examples of new coaches who come into the League saying the same thing, over the years. I don’t remember many that didn’t talk about it. This is just the latest one. Case closed.

            But tell that to the Committee.


            • Ivey, the 9-game schedule is a red herring put out there by the WWL to try to get additional conference game inventory without paying more for it. I think the SEC should stay with 8 + a game against another “Power 5” opponent because it provides sufficient strength of schedule for the SECCG winner to get into the playoff every year.


          • I come back to the premise that I don’t want the regular season cheapened. An 8-team playoff where teams that didn’t win their conference can get in does that. We can beat our chests about how great the SEC is (and it is the best in the country), but if you can’t claim to be your conference’s best team (Alabama 2011), how can you claim to be the best team in the country? That’s all I have asked for with the playoff: Make the regular season and, especially, conference championships matter.


  12. John Denver is full of shit...



    • Dawgoholic

      Why not 6 teams with a play in for teams 3-6?


      • I actually like this proposal. Gary Danielson was the first I saw to champion this format.


        • uglydawg

          Because it gives 1 and 2 a huge benefit of a weeks rest and scouting.
          You might as well go straight to a 1 vs 2 playoff.


          • I don’t agree – if the 3/6 and 4/5 games are played the weekend following the championship games (2nd weekend in December) on the 3/4 teams’ campus, that team still has 3 weeks of rest to get ready for a semifinal to be played on New Year’s Day on a neutral field. The losers of the “play-in” games get a “BCS” bowl game guaranteed. If you turned around and played the next weekend, I would agree with your premise, Ugly.


  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    Brought to you by the folks who convinced some folks something new and different actually was new and different.

    I think we are gonna miss the days when bowls picked teams based on how well the fan base traveled…now that is a nuance.


  14. Slaw Dawg

    Am I the only guy on Earth who just wants to go back to the old bowl system, and let AP or whoever “crown” a champion? Why was that any less objective, any less fun, any less credible than either the BCS or this whole super committee thing? Why the crying need to have some sort of playoff? Why this chimerical drive to find a supposedly absolutely honest, credible process for objectively determining a champion?

    Division I college football was (and I use the past tense deliberately, not just ironically) a blast in large part because every game counted, and that in turn tended to maximize the importance and luster of many rivalry games. No other sport had as many high octane, tradition filled grudge matches, replete with their own histories of triumph and pain. That’s going out the window so we can have NFL lite. The BCS and 4 team playoff were/are just way stations on the way to an inevitable 16 team playoff.

    Clearly, I’m a Luddite. Other than having an SEC conference championship game, there’s hardly any change in the CFB formatting process over the past 20 years that I think has improved the enjoyment or integrity of the sport. I was hoping at least one of the treasures of my youth would be there when I croak. Fat chance!


    • Dog in Fla

      My name is Slaw Dawg and I’m a playoff Luddite

      Hello, SlawDawg. That’s nothing a little fine-tuning can’t fix through the
      “13 Member 12-Step Program”:

      • Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction to the prehistoric bowl game system and that our lives had become unmanageable *

      • Step 2 – Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity assuming that is possible although not probable*

      • Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Selection Committee as we understood the Selection Committee to be although that is now and will always be a known unknown reft with ne’er do wells and conflicts of interest for which we forgive them*

      • Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and found it was a shutout*

      • Step 5 – Admitted to the Selection Committee, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs *

      • Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have the Selection Committee remove all these defects of character *

      • Step 7 – Humbly asked the Selection Committee to remove our shortcomings of which there are many *

      • Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all using both sides of paper*

      • Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them, others or just aggravate them *

      • Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong and promptly admitted it to everyone until they told us to hush up*

      • Step 11 – Sought through meditating on the powers of the Selection Committee to improve our conscious contact with the Committee as we understood the Committee, asking only for knowledge of the Selection Committee’s will for us and the power to carry that out without acting like Kenny Powers *

      • Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other Luddites, and to practice these principles in all our affairs except the ones we don’t want to get caught in *

      • used for misdirection purposes only.


  15. Lrgk9

    Thoroughly have we seen Luddites fail who have rarely followed these steps…


  16. FWIW, after watching Bill Hancock’s presentation today of how the playoff system will work, I feel somewhat better about being able to get 2 SEC teams in the Playoff.

    There is a quirk, though, and that is keeping those two SEC teams from playing each other in the first round. That will not be easy. Last year, for example, Auburn and Alabama would have played again, as the #’s 2 and 3 teams. I guess there’s no way around it, and it’ll depend on how good the ranking system is. If an undefeated Ohio State or Oregon team, for example, is always ranked ahead of a 1-loss SEC team, then we’ll see more of that than we should.

    But Hancock gave some hope, at least, that being undefeated doesn’t automatically rank you above a superior 1-loss team. That is only right, of course, but we’ll have to see about that.

    I don’t feel a bit better about Georgia getting screwed. I’m sure that will happen because that’s the way it always happens. And when it does, it’ll feel a lot like the screwing we took in 2007, and the screwing we took in the Vanderbilt game last year, when the insane penalty-anyway clause of the targeting rule cost us that ballgame. Georgia being the only team, of course, that the crazy rule actually screwed out of a game. That it was a textbook tackle, only sticks it in further.

    So that won’t change. But when the screwing happens this time, I hope there will be holy-righteous indignation and wrath coming out of Athens, from both McGarity and our President. And maybe even Richt himself. I don’t know how the officials and the League office could hate him any more than they do, anyway.