What changes should be made to the College Football Playoff Committee?

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another roundtable here at The Student Section. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join Kevin Causey and a rotating guest in our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.

Last week we discussed Braxton Miller and his future options as well as who we would pick in the NFL Draft. Joining us for our morning discussion is Allen Kenney, founder and editor of Blatant Homerism (Allen also contributes here at The Student Section).

Question: Should the College Football Playoff keep the weekly rankings? If yes, would you like to see any changes?

Allen Kenney:

On Twitter @BlatantHomerism:

I’d love to come down hard on one side or the other on this question, but I’ll admit to being pretty apathetic about it.

Aside from providing something else for ESPN to put on TV, the best argument for weekly rankings is transparency. Theoretically, we can glean insight as to how the committee feels about teams by following their movements up and down the polls from week to week.

However, the selection committee’s decisions last year showed their willingness to shake things up based on key results. (Which isn’t a bad thing.) Doesn’t that make transparency something of a moot point?

In fact, you could argue that the weekly rankings promote anchoring and discourage flexibility among the committee members.

I’d say the rationale against weekly playoff rankings ultimately outweighs whatever benefits they do provide. Throw the selection committee together in a room on the last week of the season and see what they come up with. I can’t imagine the outcomes would be all that different from the current process, and it would save plenty of money on rubber chicken dinners and suites at the Gaylord in Dallas.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

You’ve got to kind of be torn on this one. The reason being is that the bastardization of good rankings has been the blood lust for having them appear before games are played, subconsciously giving the higher ranked/opinionated teams an inherent advantage over those that are not ranked to start the season. Isn’t that the type of stuff we’re supposed to be getting away from?

On the other hand, it invites a little more accountability all-year long so we can see if they’re playing their rankings with a stacked deck versus putting everyone on the same level and forming opinions organically based on the one, current season, and not a single thing outside of that. Whether they do that … or if it’s even possible … is worth debating.

Personally, I’d offer that if it wants less controversy, it goes the route of the NCAA basketball selection committee and holds off on any public rankings until the final week. You don’t hear all that much wailing and grinding of teeth on Selection Sunday relative to college football … weekly. But college football thrives on immature discourse, perceived bias, and controversy as if it was the sporting manifestation of a coed freshman dormitory.

But all the same, when the rankings are originally released, you sort of wonder how the heck they came to those conclusions and where their opinions have evolved since week one. I’d say the smart thing to do is to just have one week at the end where you show up, say, “Here, this is it. Deal with it.” But the networks would hate it and it’d take away the weekly pissing and moaning across sports talk nation that comes with having a system that actually made sense.

However, in offering up that idea, I would like that on that final week, the committee make public their top 25 ballots from week four on, with a detailed explanation of maybe the last 5 weeks and the teams they chose to be in the playoffs on those weeks. That would be the ultimate accountability. And it’s not that hard to write about college football for a few lines. See: present company.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

If the selection committee wanted to vote on a Top 25 or a ranking system each week, I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is this:

The Selection Committee members will meet weekly, in person, on Mondays and Tuesdays to produce rankings.

Why exactly do the committee members have to meet in person weekly for two days? That means the NCAA is now paying for them to fly in, paying for them to stay, paying for them to stuff their faces with over-priced food and any other expenses they see fit in declaring.

This is yet another example of the rich getting richer. If you want to release a weekly rankings then simply e-mail your rankings to Jeff Long, who can have his administrative assistant compile the list from his office in Arkansas. Then he can have a press conference from the University of Arkansas. Even better, let’s have Bert Bielema announce the rankings every week and then have him serve as the spokesperson for the CFB Playoff. That would make as much sense as flying in the committee members to meet in person every week.

What I dislike is the pomp and circumstance that is made of the playoff and the excess that is given to it’s members. If they want to meet before they make the final poll, then I’m okay with that…but every week? That’s just crazy.

We also need transparency. If you want to be on the committee then you must make your vote public every single week so any “homers” can be held accountable. Every committee member must tweet out their Top Ten each week. Now that would be fun! A lot more fun than watching the committee members take selfies with the trophy.

If it was up to me though, I’d tell these suits we only need them once a year.

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

Yes, the College Football Playoff should continue to publish weekly rankings. With the initial poll set to debut towards the end of October, the Selection Committee should have more than enough information to rank the teams accordingly. Any disputes about whether Team A belongs in the bracket over Team B should resolve itself over the final weeks of the season.

With that said, the current system needs to be more transparent than it is now. That’s why I propose the following changes:

  • For each team in the Top 10, the Selection Committee will provide a detailed description as to why that team is ranked where they are. This write up should have specific information in it (e.g. Team A beat five ranked foes) rather than the “we looked at the whole body of work” non-answer that we get now.
  • Every committee member’s ballot will be made available to the public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning the integrity of anyone on the Selection Committee – far from it. However, revealing these ballots to the public would eliminate any type of conspiracy theories as to who did what to whom behind closed doors.

By implementing these two simple rules, the College Football Playoff would eliminate a lot of the guesswork surrounding the selection of the field. Although these guidelines wouldn’t resolve every problem, the detailed description and public ballots would shed some light on why one team got in over another, while preserving the integrity of the selection process.

That’s quite an improvement over last season.


Previous Roundtables

Which returning starter at QB will show the most improvement in 2015?

Which first year starter at QB is poised to have a breakout season?

Which non-Power 5 QB do you want as the face of your franchise?

Which Power 5 quarterback do you want as the face of your franchise?

If you could have attended any game in the history of college football what would it be?

Reliving our favorite college football memories

Who was the greatest team in the history of college football?

Who was the most underrated team in college football history?

In a one-game scenario, which college football coach would you turn to for a win?

Which coach would you turn to if building a program from scratch?

Which teams have the best QB groups heading into 2015?

What will make 2015 a successful season for Notre Dame?

Where should Braxton Miller play in 2015?