Would you be nervous if you spoke to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee today or any time before the start of the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night? It wouldn’t be a congressional committee or an executive committee, but it would be the committee that will make college football history on the sport’s first-ever “Selection Sunday,” December 7.
Student Section editors Bart Doan and Matt Zemek share what they’d say to “The 12” if they had five minutes in the room with college football’s deciding dozen.
Imagine that you have the floor in the conference room with the 12 members of the CFB Playoff Selection Committee. This is your chance to speak to them before they make their fateful decisions Saturday night and Sunday morning. Which three points would you make, in order of priority?
On Twitter: @TheCoachBart
The first thing I’d do is walk in with a case of beer. One of the undeniable facts of life is that walking into a party with free beer means instantly, you’re in the good graces. If I have to get them to listen to me, they may as well be slanted to liking me a little first.
The second thing I’d do is ask questions about what they’re having trouble with thus far as this thing gets going for the first time. The theory is, you learn a lot more from listening than talking.
I’d like to know why Mississippi State was kept in the top four with all of one top 25 win on its wall. What’s the logic there, or are we just going in assuming that certain teams automatically should be at the top because they reside in certain regions and we assume those regions are the best?
So for number one, I’d just tell them to wipe the assumption slate clean. Rank the top 25 teams or however deep you want to go where you think the wins possess quality, and then have someone blindly tally up who has the most wins over these ranked teams, who has the most losses, and not put names above which teams are which.
That’s flawed too, but I would like them to come to a decision without knowing the names of the teams or the conference these teams hail from.
Secondly, I’d tell them to bag up whatever the heck Game Control is and put it by the curb for trash pickup. You win and you lose. How you get there seems to be a trash argument applied only in college football.
Thus far, it feels like the committee has picked the teams it wants and then molds the proof to the teams it wants, rather than applying the teams to the proof. It’s looked a lot like a jury not reading the police report or hearing testimony and saying, “This guy is innocent … now, let’s find out how to bastardize the facts to make that decision look legit.”
The final thing I’d implore is to do this only once next year. Yeah, it’s great for ratings, but if that’s all we’re going for, then the entire process is a sham, which means the result will be also. College football championships shouldn’t be some ladder process that starts with getting viewers all hot and bothered on a weekly basis. Ignorance sometimes is bliss, but sometimes it saves us from knowing how terrible the truth might be.
The committee would have a reasonable amount of faith behind it going into this week if we hadn’t seen such inconsistent blather up to this point. They’d never have to answer things about Mississippi State or TCU instead of Baylor if the rankings just came out once.
And then, after calling their weekly show “inconsistent blather,” I’d remind them that I brought free beer, pop on some Poison, and we’d all have a grand ole time.
On Twitter: @SectionMZ
Gentlemen and Ms. Rice:
College football’s great problem over time is (and has been) that argumentation is valued over settling issues on the field. Yes, the sport is structured such that not every dispute will be settled on the field, but when differentiating results do occur, you need to honor them. That is your first duty, recognizing the value of this regular season and the teams which competed in it.
This also means that a power-conference team which goes unbeaten should be in the top two, not just the top four. Florida State, if it beats Georgia Tech, will not have beaten the Little Sisters Of The Poor. Going 13-0 is one of the hardest feats in sports. You must honor that if the Seminoles win on Saturday.
Your second duty is to point the way forward for the sport in the future. This really refers to all the mistakes which were made before the season began — more specifically, all the failures to institute specific, reasonable criteria that all parties could recognize and, moreover, agree on.
There’s no more important part of the on-field product of college football than robust and aggressive non-conference scheduling. You have to make this important for schools and their athletic directors. What I’d ultimately recommend: Vote Baylor over TCU to honor head-to-head (if BU beats Kansas State this Saturday), but then announce on the December 7 selection show that in 2015, strength of schedule will be your non-negotiable top criterion in differentiating teams. Force schools to schedule better in the long run — take the choice out of their hands. You didn’t create specific criteria before this season, and you should have. Make up for that failure by putting teeth to your criteria for 2015 and beyond.
Third, please be consistent — maybe you’ll err, which is certainly allowable if there’s a complex case to deal with, but don’t say something about one vote you made when another vote directly contradicts that reasoning. Inconsistency of application is one of the worst things you can do on Dec. 7.
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