Kevin Scarbinsky wildly overstates the impact of the verbal jabbing going on this offseason about the SEC from the likes of Bob Stoops and Rick Neuheisel, but I won’t say there isn’t a grain of truth at the heart of the point he’s trying to make.
College football’s postseason has always been a subjective thing from a selection standpoint and anything that’s arrived at through a subjective process is something that third parties can try to influence. Human nature being what it is, if you can try, you’re gonna try. In the case of the BCS, we saw coaches lobby furiously. We watched Herbstreit and Danielson go at it at the end of the 2006 regular season.
That was in a situation where computers drove some part of the selection process, at least. Now that the entire choice of the semi-finals pool is in the hands of human beings, it’s not logical to expect less lobbying of the decision makers.
Will it work? That’s hard for me to say. I suppose if there were some enormous crest of public sentiment about a particular team getting in – or, more to Scarbinsky’s fear, a certain conference being denied a second choice – I could see the committee members perhaps being swayed by that. But the likelihood is that when it comes to public sentiment, there will be all kinds of cross currents swirling about that will undercut a specific position. There will simply be too many agendas in play. (ESPN loves multiple agendas.)
That’s not to say that I don’t have a concern about lobbying. But my worry is about the internal kind, the in-the-arena types on the committee pushing the others by using their resumes to advocate a choice. For some reason, I haven’t found myself assured by Jeff Long’s reverence for transparency.