College playoff may be moving toward using committee

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany slammed polls as a method of picking title game participants.

Big Ten's Jim Delany slammed polls, computers as methods for picking title game teams.

I’m sorry, but did the Big Ten — the Betamax of college football conferences — just enter the digital age? And become pals with the SEC in the process?

Big Ten officials fell in line with the SEC and the Big 12 Monday, declaring that the impending college football playoff should be comprised of the nations four best teams, regardless of their conference affiliation. Commissioner Jim Delany also endorsed the possibility of junking polls and computer rankings and forming a selection committee to pick those four teams — an idea that has been pushed in my disturbed little corner of the universe.

Quoting Delany from a Monday news conference with Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and Indiana president Michael McRobbie: “Everybody recognizes the present poll system is not a good proxy. … It should be the four best teams.”

Did that really happen?

The Big Ten and Pacific 10/12 conferences have long been obstacles in a playoff format, in part because of their respective allegiances to the Rose Bowl. So the fact that the Big Ten is not endorsing a model for change — albeit late — is significant.

A few weeks ago I proposed my plan for the four-team playoff. Here’s the link. But let me recap a few bullet points:

The four teams can come from any conferences, with no automatic bids and no cap on how many per conference. I don’t care if the SEC gets zero or four. (Not surprisingly, SEC presidents favor this model, as you would expect from a conference that placed Alabama vs. LSU in the last BCS title game and has won six straight national championships.)

The four teams should be picked by a selection committee, similar to the one used for the NCAA basketball tournament.

The semifinals should be held at the campus stadiums for the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, with the championship game bid out to cities, similar to the Super Bowl.

The bowls, the BCS, polls, computers, etc., should have absolutely no input on the four-team playoff. They all can come into play for the non-playoff postseason games. And yes, that means the Rose Bowl can still have its Big Ten-Pacific 12 match-up, as long as neither school is in a semifinal. Similarly, the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Cotton Bowls also can create closed or partially closed bowls, fulfilling their own marketing needs.

Delany’s comments were significant Monday. I’m starting to believe many of the above criteria will be in place for a playoff.

By Jeff Schultz

146 comments Add your comment

Paul in NH

June 4th, 2012
1:22 pm

Let me guess who the committee is going to be – Mike Slive, Jim Delany, Larry Scott and Bob Bowlsby. John Swofford and John Marinatto need not apply.

Tokyo Tom

June 4th, 2012
1:23 pm

Jeff- what would be the expected timetable for the playoof system in all conferences agree?

Tokyo Tom

June 4th, 2012
1:24 pm

Sorry- I meant “playoff”

Red Stick

June 4th, 2012
1:33 pm

Jeff, I would love to see a semifinal game in Death Valley but I think the bowls will be hosting those games with the title game being bid out.

Also, I prefer the best 4 concept too but some observers believe a 3 & 1 plan (3 conference winners and 1 at-large) will be adopted.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Brave Hokie

June 4th, 2012
1:33 pm

A selection committee ~ that’ll solve everything… & you best go undefeated two seasons in a row {if you are in the ACC} for that group to notice you…

It is a hell of lot LESS costly if you screw up who is the best 35th or 36th team {a.k.a. in the NCAA BBall Tourney} than who is 4th or 5th best.

Sounds unfair unless you are a SEC school {who has earned the benefit of the doubt} but is this a ‘fairer’ system???

gt4ever

June 4th, 2012
1:40 pm

4 teams playoff…. What a COMPLETE joke!

EC Dawg

June 4th, 2012
1:46 pm

It really needs to be the top 8 teams. You don’t hear people saying the 9th ranked team deserves a shot at the title but you do hear people talking about the 5th ranked team occasionally, i.e. UGA at the end of 2007. 8 teams would just result in 1 more game for the 2 final teams.

Tim

June 4th, 2012
2:00 pm

Funny how in all sports but college football, a large % of all the teams that play can make the playoffs. But college football it’s 3% of the teams. What’s the point in having conferences if winning it means little to nothing? I mean if you win the easter conf or eastern division or southern etc etc that matters. This playoff will be an absolute joke. Why not just do what makes sense and have the 6 conference winners and 2 at large.

Jeff Schultz

June 4th, 2012
2:02 pm

EC Dawg — There are arguments on 68 basketball teams. How can you say there wouldn’t be arguments on 8 football teams? There will be arguments no matter the number.

Roll Turd

June 4th, 2012
2:03 pm

Has to be based on Conference Champions….then a couple of wild-cards…(aka best-of-the-rest)otherwise, winning a conference championship means little or nothing.

Bob Stuups

June 4th, 2012
2:09 pm

Put me on the committee, I will be fair to the Dawgs.

GTBob

June 4th, 2012
2:10 pm

Can someone explain to me how a selection committee is better than just using polls? Instead of having many biased writers and coaches making the decision, they are going to let a small handful of random biased people make the decision? College Football’s mythical championship hasn’t gotten any less mythical and is even more of a circus now.

EC Dawg

June 4th, 2012
2:13 pm

JS – I hear ya but there would be a whole lot more arguments if the tourney were only 34 teams. And i don’t think anyone really thinks a team that doesn’t make the field of 68 would have a chance to win it all. But…many do think the 5th – 8th ranked football teams at year end have a chance at the title.

Big Crimson 75

June 4th, 2012
2:14 pm

Why congratulate a guy(Delaney) that has stood in the way of progress for College Football?
If not for the Big 10, I refuse the new moniker B1G, and the Pac 12 & their precious Rose Bowl, College Football would already have a Playoff System in place.

Delaney finally figured out College Football fans across America could care less about the Big 10. They had no hand left to play, once the Big 12 correctly decided to a minimum 4 team playoff featuring the BEST 4 Teams!! Holding out for “their” plan again would have only made them look more foolish than they already do.
Face it Delaney, your Conference is 2nd tier to the SEC, when it comes to what matters most — $$$$$$$$$$$$.

GTBob

June 4th, 2012
2:14 pm

EC Dawg — There are arguments on 68 basketball teams.

Every team in college basketball can make the tournament without relying on polls or selection committees. You can play your way in. In college football, its all a beauty contest, and you hope the old men think you are pretty.

UGASlobberknocker

June 4th, 2012
2:15 pm

Schultz plan is good except for the on campusd games. Those always fail as no one has planned to attend hat weekend as they would season tickets. I beliebe you should hold the semifinal games in the same city as the finals..
Play the semifinals fri and Sat nite in early Jan, champ game the next week in same city..makes it easy for teams , fans everybody.

Boise and Notre Dame

June 4th, 2012
2:15 pm

Where would this leave us?

shankit

June 4th, 2012
2:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Bill

June 4th, 2012
2:26 pm

Jeff I understand your logic here.I am for a plus-1.Ditch the BCS model and pick the best 2 teams after the bowls have been played. Rotate the sites for this game much like the BCS did.

Big Crimson 75

June 4th, 2012
2:32 pm

Solution is easy :
-8 Team Playoff.
-AP & Coaches Poll still in effect throughout Season.
-BCS Poll comes out as usual — towards end of Year.
-BCS formula consists of AP & Coaches Poll — Harris Poll — throw in a couple of computer polls & some-type of BCS selection Committee.
-BCS Conference Champs automatically qualify if they finish in top 12 in final BCS poll.
-”Cinderella” Teams from non-BCS Conferences qualify if they finish un-defeated & in top 4 of final BCS poll.
-Notre Dame qualifies if they finish in top 8 of final BCS poll.
-the final Playoff qualifiers are the TOP remaining Teams in the final BCS poll.
-Quarter Finals are played on or around New Years Day @ the Orange, Fiesta, Sugar & Rose Bowls.
-Semi’s are played at pre-designated sites around the Country, ex. GA Dome, JerryWorld, LA Coliseum, San Diego, Domes in Indy, Detroit….ect
-BCS Title Game held at a pre-determined site

Problem Solved – Case Closed — Roll Tide

Cobb Dawg

June 4th, 2012
2:40 pm

Here’s my idea: Do away with the polls, computers, BCS AND the selection committee — instead, pit the champions of the four strongest conferences against each other in a seeded format. You’d have to devise a formula for determining which are the strongest conferences in any given year, but that could be easily done based on the regular season results. That way you eliminate any and all subjectivity AND preserve the meaningfulness of the regular season. Any other method only preserves the status quo, which is that the teams with the strongest brand strength will always win out.

Abnerish

June 4th, 2012
2:40 pm

I say 8 teams instead of 4 for one simple reason. More meaningful games! If the NFL just took the top 4 teams based on record, then there would be only 3 games. Boring! How cool would that first weekend be if you had 4 games back-to-back! Awesome!

Selection committee > polls no matter who is on the committee.

Brave Hokie

June 4th, 2012
2:47 pm

@Cobb Dawg

I am sooooo sure Notre Dame and NBC would luv your idea…

PMC

June 4th, 2012
2:56 pm

Big Crimson, the B1G makes a lot more money collectively than the SEC. That’s part of the reason Delaney has been such a stick in the mud for so long.

PMC

June 4th, 2012
2:57 pm

Delaney speaking with any kind of cognative good sense means that it’s a very chilly day in Hell.

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:07 pm

Jeff & All -

I hear what your saying about a committee, but really is this committee going to be better than the polling system?

What kind of cirteria will the committee use?

Is a committee of X# of prople not going to be influenced by the media and politics more so than the current polls?

I mean now we have the average of all the polls, computers, coaches, media, influenced by strength of schedules, head to head, common opponents, quality wins, ….. ….. …..

Go to a committe of some number of guys (girls) and it is strictly their opinions.

A committee to pick 64 teams in Basketball….. cant have much argument with that many teams getting in. hard to be wrong.

But the committee to pick 4!!! I actually think the BCS formula will be less biased than a few individuals. I really do.

Yes there will always be argument in picking such a small field. Diecriminating between 3-4 and 5-6 or 7-8 and 9-10 an knowone but god knows at the end of the regular season who the actual 4 or 8 best truely are; but I have confidence that the BCS polls, picking the top 4 or even better 8, would insure that the top and very best 2-4 teams or 6-8 teams for a playoff would get the best teams in the field and thats what I am all about.

Lets just insure that the best system we can use to determine WITH QUESTION of course who the top 4 to 8 teams are…. no there will be some bickering and questioning about the bubbles, but find comfort that the best team(s) is in the field somewhere and they can play it out.

Much as I hav disliked the BCS, I think it or a formula like ot would be lest biased in determining a 4-8 team playoff field.

COMMENTS

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:12 pm

Jeff common man!!! Yes the number 66 or 67 team in the BB NCAA might argue they shoud have gotten in the field, but it is nothing like who is 1-2…3-4…5-6-8 . That 66 -69 team can not say they deserved a shot at the title. Oureasonably comment.

What? Are we supposed to guess where our teams are ranked during season, now?

June 4th, 2012
3:14 pm

Disagree. Delany is being self-serving by not wanting polls. If there is no poll to have a starting point for a committee, Big 10, for example, will lobby harder with a “Who’s to say we’re not top 4?” mentality. Can’t act as if there is no credibility to, say, an AP poll. There is credibility by a large majority voting.
I’m just advocating that a committee has a credible poll to use as a tool in deciding.
The fans will always want polls throughout the year to see how they stand nationally by media and coaches.
Committees can be a BIG problem

It will wind up being a geography tournament

June 4th, 2012
3:16 pm

Not liking committee thing

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:18 pm

EC – Agree 100% – 8 is the correct number…. Yes…7-8-9-10 to 12 can have some argument as to who is better and should have gotten in but an unbiased fan or sportswriter can say with a pretty high level of confidence going into a playoff that the top 5-8 teams are in the field and a true champ will emerge. Not perfect but as good as we can expect given so many teams in the NCAA.

Zing

June 4th, 2012
3:19 pm

Jeff:

There are a few problems with a selection committee picking the teams. The first is the obvious one– regardless of the lip service being paid to the fact that the top four should be “the best four teams,” there is going to be an inherent bias in favor of teams from different conferences being the 4. Any committee is going to be composed of (not comprised, mind you, but COMPOSED OF — sorry, old, old pet peeve of mine) equal representatives from the conferences, and the reps, while no doubt trying to be impartial (raised eyebrows on the “trying”) will be under enormous pressure from their constituent respective conferences to put a team from their conference in the semi-finals.

Second, the reason a selection committee works just fine for basketball is… there are 68 entrants!! No one really cares if their team is seeded #2 instead of #1 or 3 instead of 4. Point is, it doesn’t matter if they make a mistake; actually playing the games takes care of the mistakes. You won’t have that here with just 4 teams.

So, no, I don’t think a committee for picking 4 teams is a good idea. A poll is better. And a poll of non-affiliated persons (like the AP poll) would be best. But it’s not going to happen. I guess we can be thankful to some degree that at least there will be SOME kind of playoff.

Never eliminate polls completely

June 4th, 2012
3:19 pm

Committee will need some sort of check and balance system.
Polls can be used as a primary check and balance of their choices.

Zing

June 4th, 2012
3:20 pm

gbal — just saw you said basically what I just posted, so. Comment is: You’re right.

Dawg8589

June 4th, 2012
3:21 pm

You have to have conference champions, or conference and conference games will mean nothing. It could later mean the breakdown of conferences, period, much less realignment.

Diddly P. Puffy

June 4th, 2012
3:24 pm

Hurry and build the new stadium so Atlanta can host the Super Bowl and the Nat’l Championship within a few weeks of each other. RIP Georgia Dome. Welcome to the WeedEater Home Depot Dome.

Dawgdad (The Original)

June 4th, 2012
3:25 pm

Let the fans pick the four, not like MLB allstar game, just set up a system where fans can register to vote once. After week 9,start doing weekly votes to see who is looking likely, and then have a big vote one Saturday after the season. Top four get in no whining. South would do well as our fans are true fanatics.

Settting up for a DISASTER....be careful what ya wish for

June 4th, 2012
3:25 pm

One things for sure…..There is gonna be a lot of outraged people after “top” 4 teams are selected.
Fans, media, coaches, players of 5th school on down.

It will be out of control in 10 years.....Prediction - 16 team playoff w/in 10 years

June 4th, 2012
3:32 pm

Take top 2 teams from AP and coaches polls every year…they never differ more than one different team in top 2.
If they do, Super – Committee decides in that given year.

REM

June 4th, 2012
3:33 pm

It’s the end of college football traditions as we know them

KM

June 4th, 2012
3:33 pm

The current proposals for a plus one game or a top four teams playoff as a remedy to the BCS (Big Cartel Syndicate) is basically no change at all. The simpliest way to determine a true undisputed chanpion on the field is to have a sixteen team competition just like the other division have had for decades. There should be no excuses since the FBS division claim to have the supposedly superior athletes.

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

8 teams in a playoff … and to give credibility to confrence champs…

The top 5 confrence champs are in IF they are ranked at the end of the season in the top 10… by a BCS type ranking system…..If not raanked in top 10… out….

If not ranked in the top 10, that slot in the playoffs along with three at large teams make the playoffs based on highest ranked teams.

NO COMMITTEE – Would be worse than the ranking system and more biased.

BOTTOM LINE _ Bet 8 make the field.

And that's a shame

June 4th, 2012
3:34 pm

This aint your daddy’s football

too many punk conferences

June 4th, 2012
3:36 pm

Big (L)East and ACC should get ZERO automatic bids.
Why do they even play football?

The demise of CFB is upon us

June 4th, 2012
3:43 pm

There will never be a fair system to determine the champion of D1 (or whatever they call it these days) football because D1 football isn’t a level playing field. The football factory schools will always have the advantage of lower academic standards and bigger revenue sources to put them ahead of other schools in recruiting the best players. Every now and then a non-football factory school can buck the system and get into the picture (see Boise St recently or BYU/GT in the old days). But it is a rare event.
And as you stated Jeff, it’s not surprising that the SEC didn’t want a cap on the number of teams a conference can have in the playoffs.

OK, here’s my idea, and I would like to know what “football factory” schools alums think of this.

Let the SEC grab 9-15 more schools of like interest (I’m guessing Vandy would drop out), secede from the NCAA altogether, admit that they really are semi-pro and go ahead with Spurriers idea of paying the players. They would have an all conference schedule (no more OOC cupcakes or cross conference rivalries – unless the cross conf team joined up). They could then have their own playoff system and crown their own champion. Their players could still take a few classes for some continued education, but the pretense that they are “student athletes” would be dropped.

And the universities that still want to play college football with real student athletes can continue to do so, playing in bowl games and crowning a champ in some fashion that nobody agrees on, just like the last 100 years.

My real question is what would alums of universities like Alabama, LSU, Texas, et al, think about their schools having semi-pro programs. There would still be great football games to pack those 90-100K stadiums, and you could have a system that would fairly crown a champion, even if it is just a new self contained league/conference.

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:47 pm

dawg 8589 —- So you think Clemson, acc champ, ranked # 15 by the polls at the end of the regular season….. (then had 70 put up on them in the bowl) deserved to be in a playoff just because the won their confrence championship over Alabama? Sorry dude that would not have been much of a playoff.

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:50 pm

Enter your comments here

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:53 pm

And I am not picking on the ACC here, it was just the example I could come up with. Im and SEC ACC fan alike. Also a fan that says a playoff should be the best 4 …actually 8 teams/

gbal

June 4th, 2012
3:58 pm

Deminish the regular season????

1) your playing to be confrence champ, whether you go further or not.

2) You know you have to win your confrence to have a chance to get in.

3) Your playing for the highest ranking you can get, which may mean in a weaker confrence you need to schedule quality non confrence games.

Regular season is always going to mean something. You think there are not some confrence champs who knew going into last season they hadl little chance of making the 2 team playoff??? Their fans still enjoy the season??? Yes, it ment something.

The demise of CFB is upon us

June 4th, 2012
4:06 pm

gbal, the regular season didn’t mean anything last year. LSU beat Alabama but still had to play them again.

gbal

June 4th, 2012
4:07 pm

Boise ND — really should go join a confrence.