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College Football Playoff committee always lacks non-power representation

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Whether G5 teams should be making the field or not, it’d be nice to have a committee that better resembles all of FBS.

CFP National Championship Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Central to the debate over whether to expand the College Football Playoff is the question of whether teams outside the Power 5 conferences have fair access. No team in a non-power league has come close to making it yet, and the committee’s repeatedly ranked high-profile mid-majors below where those teams show up in advanced metrics and the newspaper polls.

One way to make the committee look like it actually offers a path for every team in FBS — as it claims, to much mockery — would be to create a selection committee that actually mirrors the 130-team breadth of FBS, rather than mostly featuring people with direct ties to Power 5 schools. Based on the first five-and-counting seasons, that is not a priority.

Members with significant ties to Power 5 schools (current bolded)

  • Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin AD and former HC (also former Nebraska player)
  • Frank Beamer, former Virginia Tech HC and player (also, son is Oklahoma assistant coach)
  • Paola Boivin, former Arizona Republic reporter and Illinois alum
  • Lloyd Carr, former Michigan HC
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma AD and Maryland alum
  • Pat Haden, former USC AD and HC
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech AD, former Kansas State player, and Oklahoma alum
  • Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA exec and Oregon player
  • Bobby Johnson, former Vanderbilt HC and Clemson player
  • Jeff Long, Arkansas AD (at the time)
  • Ronnie Lott, former USC player
  • Oliver Luck, former West Virginia player and AD
  • Archie Manning, former Ole Miss player
  • Rob Mullens, Oregon AD and West Virginia alum
  • Tom Osborne, former Nebraska HC and AD
  • Dan Radakovich, Clemson AD and Miami alum
  • Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State (and Alabama fan, Stanford professor, and Notre Dame alum)
  • R.C. Slocum, former Texas A&M HC
  • Gene Smith, Ohio State AD
  • Todd Stansbury, Georgia Tech AD and former player
  • Scott Stricklin, Florida AD and Mississippi State alum
  • Steve Wieberg, former USA Today reporter and Missouri alum
  • Tyrone Willingham, former Notre Dame/Stanford/Washington HC and Michigan State player

Current and former members with significant ties to non-power FBS schools (current bolded)

  • Jeff Bower, former Southern Miss HC and player
  • Herb Deromedi, former CMU HC
  • Michael Gould, former Air Force superintendent
  • Ken Hatfield, former Air Force/Arkansas/Clemson/Rice HC and former Arkansas player (truly a man hovering between worlds)
  • Christopher B. Howard, former Air Force player
  • Terry Mohajir, Arkansas State AD
  • Ray Odierno, USA Football chairman and former Army player
  • Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner

No, I’m not calling any particular person on either of these lists BIASED and IN THE BAG for his or her associated schools.

But there is a reason the Playoff insists on its members recusing themselves from discussing teams to which they have close connections. It’s about, if absolutely nothing else, avoiding the appearance of bias.

And based on nothing but head count, it is not hard to wonder whether the Power 5’s overwhelming majority in the room factors into the final rankings in some way.

It’s certainly fair to argue no Group of 5 teams should’ve made the four-team Playoff in its first five years, but polls and computers have frequently suggested those teams should be coming closer than they are.