Choosing The Choosers: Recommending College Football's Playoff Selection Committee

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: A statue of former Florida State head coach, Bobby Bowden at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

College football looks like it's going to need a playoff selection committee. Lots of retired coaches want in, but what other options do we have?

It's starting to sound more and more like college football's playoff field will be decided by a small group of humans, rather than by polls or computers or an ever-evolving BCS-esque transhumanist horror show. With the Big Ten officially on board with the selection committee concept -- and thus the SEC and Big 12 perhaps seeing a way to get "the best four teams" in while still compromising with their northern neighbor -- this does seem to be the road we're headed down.

So it's time to start recommending a panel.

(Note: If you'd like to recommend yourself, Corn Nation has an application for you, but keep in mind you'll have to pass the Holly Anderson test.)

No idea what the ideal number of selectors would be. Basketball uses 10 to fill out its 68-team bracket, but I think we'd want at least half that for our mere four teams, to cut down on any one selector getting too many death threats. Make no mistake, gentlemen, this is a dangerous mission.

Even though lots of former coaches have offered their services (and would be highly preferable to current coaches, who just have their own athletic departments fill out ballots), I'd want to avoid giving them too much power here, since all of them have specific ties to specific universities, as well as personal associations with multiple coaches still in the game. However, we have a solution later on to incorporate the older fellas.


Related: Constant college football playoffs coverage


Call me biased, but I believe national writers to be the best bet, especially the ones who attempt to watch way, way more than one game. Ideally, we're talking slaves to the college football rhythm who miss minimal MACtion and are pouring coffee as Hawai'i kicks off early Sunday morning. And there seems to be more of that spirit among online media members than in their print counterparts, though that's a generality. What I'm saying is this list will lean bloggy, but I think that's a good thing.

Whether the committee ranges from six to 10 or more, I'd want it to include these names:

  • Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated: You couldn't go wrong with any of SI's many fine college football writers, but the first-ever recipient of the President's Medal of Barbecue has been putting out themed top 25s for years, and this thing will need as many movie references as possible.
  • Bill Connelly, SB Nation: Bill C. has written more than 2,000 words and put together fantastic stat charts on more than half the football teams in the country already, with the rest on the way. And none of it is nerd gibberish. There's church in his school. I'm a big fan.
  • Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports: Including Wetzel wouldn't be a token entry for his role in spreading the playoff gospel. For one thing, he's already been doing this for two years, putting a 2009 16-team bracket in Death to the BCS.
  • Matt Hinton, CBS Sports: To me, the definitive BlogPoll ballot has always been Hinton's.
  • Paul Myerberg, Pre-Snap Read: Like Bill C., he writes up every team every year, and I don't know anybody more in tune with the roles each team and coach plays in the sport's endless subplots.
  • Phil Steele, Phil Steele Information Compression Industries, Ltd.: Any committee that doesn't reference Phil Steele and Football Outsiders before making its picks is just guessing anyway, so why not save the whole process some time by including the man himself?

Also, Western Kentucky's Big Red, for ethnic and gender diversity.

There are obviously many, many other fine options as well, dozens of whom will surely be better than most of the eventual real-life panelists. Just speaking from experience here, y'all.

However, we'd also want to have various sub-committees, to make sure everyone gets to participate. That's "participate," with a wink. We could use a [Mid-major]-Ain't-Played-Nobody Subcommittee, a Troll Subcommittee chaired by Mike Bianchi (which would only end up agreeing with itself on Oregon State vs. South Carolina every year), the Darren Rovell Subcommittee charged with sponsorship-based selections, and an Administrative Assistant Subcommittee, which will ordain teams based on jerseys and end up picking a better field than you do.

One big need is the Notre Dame Subcommittee, charged with making sure we never stop talking about whether this is good for Notre Dame or not. I recommend the following:

  • Beano Cook
  • Dick Ebersol
  • Lou Holtz
  • Paul Finebaum (Shhhhhhh, don't tell him!)
  • Regis Philbin

The finest group, however, includes whichever retired coaches continue to drop their names for the gig over the next year or so. So far, we've got ...

  • Bobby Bowden
  • LaVell Edwards
  • Phillip Fulmer
  • R.C. Slocum
  • Vince Dooley

That's a fine subcommittee and all, and we'd actually be lucky to have that much football wisdom in charge of the actual thing, inherent biases or not. But let Barry Switzer and Howard Schnellenberger co-chair it, and we've got ourselves a parrrrrrrrty.

Join in below and recommend your own committee or subcommittee!

While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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