As I read this small post over at FBSschedules, which announced the 13 member committee that will be giving the college football fan base the first ever Final Four, one sentence came to my mind… “let the mayhem begin”.
I know that several people have been up in arms about Condoleeza Rice being part of this. Mostly with sexist comments like “she has never played football, how can she be on it”. To which I would love, but do not have time in this blog, to run down the amount of newspapers reporters, front office personnel, and even coaches who fit that bill but have had outstanding careers nonetheless. My worry is not about Ms. Rice whatsoever, it is about another five members of this board.
Jeff Long, who is the chairman, Barry Alvarez, Pat Haden, Olive Luck and Dan Radakovick all worry me. Why? Mostly because they are currently working in colleges as Director of Athletics, with Mr. Long also being the Vice Chancellor at his institution.
Before you begin, I am not worried one bit about them being bias towards their conference. Mr. Radakovich is at Clemson, so that theory would not make sense, as I am a ACC guy. What I am very, and I mean VERY worried about, is that having jobs such as AD for a major college is not going to give them enough time to watch the teams carefully enough to make the best decisions.
The committee came out with this statement…
Unlike the BCS, which uses a formula based on a combination of computer rankings and human polls to select teams, selection committee members for the new playoff will have flexibility to examine whatever data they believe is relevant to inform their decisions. Among the many factors the committee will consider are win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and conference championships won.
This is all fine and dandy, but if we do not have the eye test then this is nothing more than a numbers game, which is basically how the good ole computers do the rankings for the BCS.
If you do not watch the games, and I mean all of them, for all the teams that are going to be in the running and keep up with all the opponents each program played, then trust me on this, people will not be complaining about one or two people on this panel as they have now. They will be complaining about the system just as much as they have been about the one that college football is using now.
How many times have we heard not just from the fans, but from actual analysts of college basketball, say that the committee made an error in picking one team over another when it comes to March Madness. And there is 68 programs that go into that playoff. Here it is but four programs, so while I can live with the 68th best team being passed over by the 73rd, I do not want to see the fourth best squad in the nation not get a chance at winning it all because the committee personnel did not follow the games closely enough.
Only time will tell how this will work out, and while I definitely thankful that the BCS system will be replaced, I remain a bit skeptical that this final four scenario is the best solution. In a sport like college football, where young men lay it all on the line, leave it all on the field, it would be a lot better to see the best 16 teams go at it for the coveted hardware than just four. But like the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers, so I will watch how this goes for now and hope that one day the high and mighty give me what I would like… a real playoff system!