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With The Playoff Selection Panel Set There’s Only 1 Question: How Do They View The SEC?

gfx - honest opinionThe Southeastern Conference has thrived under the BCS system.  Nine national titles in 15 years to date.  That’s unmatchable stuff.

But now college football’s means for determining a national champ is changing.  Starting next year a four-team playoff will finally come to college football.  Yesterday the men (and woman) tabbed to handle the selection of playoff teams was officially announced.

There are ex-coaches and sitting ADs on the panel.  A former Air Force general and a former Secretary of State are on the committee as well.  One ex-sportswriter is in the group.  Of the 13 members, ten played college football.

For now… all’s good.  Anyone asking a question about the exclusive club will be painted as a grumbler.  Question the inclusion of Condoleezza Rice for any reason and you’ll be labeled as a knuckle-dragging cave man (even if you suggest that there are more qualified women out there).

So be it.  We’ll play along.  To quote Rip Torn from “Men In Black,” the following group is the best of the best of the best.  Their belonging on the committee is self-evident:

 

Chairman Jeff Long (current Arkansas athletic director)

Barry Alvarez (current Wisconsin athletic director and former head coach)

Lt. General Mike C. Gould (retired Air Force general and former superintendent at the Air Force Academy)

Pat Haden (current Southern Cal athletic director)

Oliver Luck (current West Virginia athletic director)

Tom Jernstedt (former supervisor of the NCAA’s board of directors)

Archie Manning (member of the College Football Hall of Fame)

Tom Osborne (former Nebraska athletic director and former head coach)

Dan Radakovic (current Clemson athletic director)

Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State, former National Security Adviser, and former provost at Stanford)

Mike Tranghese (former Big East Conference commissioner)

Steve Wieberg (former college football writer)

Tyrone Willingham (former head football coach)

 

Thumbs up.  Love it.  Geniuses, one and all.

But what do they think about the Southeastern Conference?

You see, in the end, that’s all most of you are going to care about.  If next year, your favorite SEC school doesn’t make the playoff field despite being ranked inside the top four or five in the national polls, you will lose your ever-lovin’ mind.  You know it.  I know it.

SEC fans and the Southern media (of which I’m a part) believe the Southeastern Conference to be the King of the Football Conferences.  Whether it’s national championships, stadium size, the number of NFL draftees cranked out, or the league’s overall year-in, year-out bowl record, the SEC is at the top of the ladder.  The BCS — with its computers and its voters — almost always took a pro-Dixie view of the football landscape, too.  With the exception of Auburn in 2004, the benefit of the doubt was usually awarded to the SEC.

So what about this new group of 13 who’ll be selecting (from behind closed doors) four teams to take part in the College Football Playoff?

It was initially believed that people on the committee would have to remove themselves from the room when their school or their league came up for conversation.  But would Archie Manning be booted when any SEC team came up?  Or just when Ole Miss came up?

What about a guy like Tyrone Willingham?  He played and then began his coaching career at Michigan State.  Then he coached at Central Michigan, NC State, and Rice as an assistant.  He was then a head coach at Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington.  Just who the hell’s resume could Willingham discuss?

For kicks, let’s play around and say that Alabama, Oregon and Florida State have already been tabbed for the first playoff in January, 2015.  In our scenario, the fourth slot would come down to either South Carolina or Ohio State.

For now let’s assume that Arkansas AD Jeff Long — the chairman of the committee — and Manning would be shown the door due to their SEC ties.  Also gone would be Barry Alvarez and Tom Osborne because of their Big Ten ties.

That would leave nine people to debate the merits of South Carolina from the rough-and-tumble SEC and Ohio State from the top-heavy Big Ten.  Those nine folks would be: Gould, Haden, Luck, Jernstedt, Radakovic, Rice, Tranghese, Wieberg and Willingham.

Is that the brain trust you’d want making the final selection between the Gamecocks and Buckeyes?

Would that group have any interest in making sure the playoff involved four teams from four different conferences?

Would the Ohio State brand — one of the biggest in college football — get the nod over a South Carolina program that until three years ago had never even won 11 games in a season?

Would there be any plain ol’ SEC fatigue among those remaining panelists?

The bottom line on the committee is actually pretty easy to write:  It’s a fine panel right up until an SEC school gets the shaft.  At that point, you’d better believe a whole bunch of folks below the Mason-Dixon line will be shouting, “Why the heck is Rice on that panel and just who the hell are Gould, Jernstedt and Wieberg?”

Mark it down.

 


9 comments
UT98BCSChamps
UT98BCSChamps

They view the SEC as a dangerous animal that must be destroyed.

kingward1950
kingward1950

That South Carolina program currently owns two straight victories over that Ohio State brand. 

JoeFox1
JoeFox1

Radakovic would have to leave too,  former asst. AD at South Carolina...now AD at Carolina's in state rival...not fair...down to 8

OBXnoworries
OBXnoworries

For some reason I can't see the commenters' remarks, so I'm shooting blind here, but I've been waiting for someone to bring this up.  I’ve been an opponent of this committee from the git-go.  Why in heaven’s name would you replace a perfectly adequate numerical analysis tool with a bunch of people in a smoke-filled room?  Go back and look at the top 4 BCS schools each year and tell me who got shafted if they didn’t make the final four.  Very few, if any.  I predict more controversy rather than less, once this system begins.  And I guess that’s your point.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

I have never fully understood the excuse yourself and leave the room rule. It is one item in basketball where the committee has about 2 dozen people on it and they are picking from the 50-60th team in the country. This is picking from the basically 4 teams from the top 4-8 teams in the country. Plus you have people like Willingham that has direct ties to 6-7 schools and several conferences. Rice grew up a major Alabama fan, and that is her first love football wise. Where do you draw the line? I say let them all in the room. If they do not have the integrity to openly and factually discuss all teams fairly, then they should not be on the panel. If you want to keep people calm, then record the sessions and make them available after the announcements.

the_voice
the_voice

An undefeated season (with at least 10 of the 12 games being against meaningful competition) and a conference championship game win will trump anything less; no matter which of the 5 power conferences the team comes from. If the SEC wants more than their championship team in the playoff, 9 conference games and eliminating the steady diet of non-conference cream puffs will pretty much be required to be a "wild card". Play Stanford instead of Samford. Play Texas, TCU, or Texas Tech instead of North Texas. 'Buy a win' teams will become MUCH more expensive to schedule if you are a national championship contender.

They'll also hold the lack of a championship game against the Big 12.

NatanElias
NatanElias

Many despised the current system -- but do you think that this committee won't have its own prejudices?  Do you really believe that 'SEC fatigue' won't affect votes?  Often getting what you asked for leads to bitter disappointment.

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Especially interesting if South Carolina had one loss (to Alabama in the SEC Championship game) and Ohio State had zero losses in a weak Big 10. You know as well as I know that this whole system was allowed to exist by Delany in the hope that Conference Champions would prevail over 2 teams from the same conference. If South Carolina received the bid Delany would go nutso. My guess, under this scenario, is that Ohio State would get the bid even if they were "ranked" below South Carolina.

5LittlePiggies
5LittlePiggies

I like the old "blind taste test" when it comes to these decisions.  They should be given a team's resume without naming the team or any team they played.  Let them compare how many top-25 teams each one played, and their record against such teams.  Take a look at hard data like points scored vs. points allowed, turnover margins, average time of possession, yards per play (both offense and defense), etc., against FBS (and top-25) opponents.  Look at how they finished the season, say in the last 4 games.  Were they more dominant then than in their previous 8?  I always like it when, during NCAA basketball tourney time, they put up two "blind resumes" and see which is better.  Then they show the two teams and you go, "Wow, would have never guessed that."  If this committee never saw the names of the teams, that would be the only way to remove ANY bias.  

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