College football's power brokers still can't decide how to form the selection committee for the new College Football Playoff. Do they follow in basketball's footsteps? Do they stock it with former players and coaches?
So, here at Your Best 11, we've decided to build our own selection committee for the powers that be. We'll pick our special blend of personnel to figure out who deserves to be in not just the top four spots with a shot to play for the national championship on the line, but also the four other major bowls on the landscape.
Britton Banowsky, Karl Benson, Jon Steinbrecher and Mike Aresco. That's right, first up on our list are the commissioners from four of the five non-power conferences. The Mountain West, a conference that has had plenty of success in getting to BCS bowls, sits this one out, as the other four parties get to champion for the "little guy" and even out the bickering of the big boys.
Banowsky, from Conference USA, just saw his league go through a brutal period of reconstruction, leaving him with, come 2014, a far-flung group of teams ranging from the Southwest to Florida and West Virginia. teams from the Southwest through West Virginia. The Southwest ties are strong with Banowsky, who worked in the SWC and the Big 12 before taking the reins of Conference USA.
Benson is the ringleader from a bowl standpoint here. He's a guy who's worked in the MAC, the WAC and now the Sun Belt, guiding each of those leagues into new bowl tie-ins and pushing for a sense of stability. In the Sun Belt, Benson has added a few teams, but his big sell is that he's been a major player in the basketball selection committee and understands that side of the equation very well.
Steinbrecher worked his way up from smaller divisions and is now in charge of the MAC. He helped put the MAC into bigger venues and get more television exposure. This is a guy who brings an understanding of just how critical exposure is to teams across the board.
Which brings us to Aresco, the Big East commissioner. Folks will point to his league losing schools, but Aresco's selling point, in this capacity, is that he is very much a television guy. Prior to the Big East position, Aresco was a television executive, which makes him a major asset on this committee. Aresco will be a guy in the room who is not just being fed info by television networks but rather understands what makes matchups attractive and how they can benefit the game as a whole.
Joining those four will be Larry Scott, John Swofford and Bob Bowlsby. You'll notice two big names who are not on the list, Jim Delany of the Big Ten and Mike Slive of the SEC. The two biggest players on the landscape are both sitting this one out. They will come into play later, but for now let's give the two biggest mouthpieces a break.
Scott, the Big Ten's biggest ally in all of this, will be working to preserve the Rose Bowl and get his Pac-12 teams positioned well in the postseason. He is a guy who will be fighting for his own league as well as the interest of the Big Ten, to a certain extent.
Swofford of the ACC enters as a guy with little in the way of big allies. He's pilfered Aresco's league and had a school stolen by the Big Ten. Both the Big Ten and the Big 12 are rumored to be eyeing his league, so that makes him a prime candidate here. Swofford has to play the ally and the self-interested guy in an effort to make it all work in the college football sandbox.
The last of the big players, Bowlsby of the Big 12 has ties to the Midwest, the West Coast and represents the Southwest on this committee. Like Swofford, Bowlsby does not have an easy job. He has to try to limit the SEC, Big Ten and the Pac-12 to help get his guys into prime position. The better they can be positioned, the better the future of the league shall be.
These seven are your administrative guys. They are the members of the selection committee who will work numbers and look at matchups in an effort to set things up in the right way. To balance these types, we get back to the game's roots with some "football guys."
Names we'd roll out for the first year of the job? Former coaches Robb Akey of Idaho, Jeff Tedford of Cal, Jim Tressel of Ohio State , Rick Neuheisel of UCLA, Gene Chizik of Auburn, Bill Curry of Georgia State and Jon Embree of Colorado.
In this group, you get older guys, younger guys, East Coast guys and West Coast guys. There are coaches who are offensive guys and others who made their bones on defense, Mix them up in a barrel and what you have are seasoned football minds making evaluations.
With Akey, you have a potent voice for the small schools. A guy who's worked from a deficit in preparing for a game against the big boys. In the case of a non-BCS versus a BCS school jockeying for place in the postseason, Akey's opinion is one that holds weight.
Curry, someone who has been in football for a long time, has been on both sides of the equation. He's been at Alabama and, more recently, at Georgia State. At Bama, he was operating as the hammer, while at Georgia State, the coach was often the nail.
In Neuheisel, Tressel, Tedford, Chizik and Embree, you have a group of coaches that has been around the game for quite awhile and has different styles and areas of expertise. But they all know football and will be able to watch film, understand different aspects of the game and work to come to a consensus as to which teams are the nation's best.
The "why" is the biggest part. That is something the coaches bring to the table better than any group of administrators. These coaches will be tasked with finding the deficiencies in teams that seem invincible. Separating a team whose record is inflated due to competition from a truly elite team that just happens to be in a bad conference. Separating complete teams from the one-dimensional teams. Distinguishing between very good, but extremely static teams and those that are very good and possess the dynamism to win a title.
Coaches will be instrumental throughout the season as they rank, re-rank and evaluate teams on a week-to-week basis. Upon season's end, they will select their Top 12 teams, including a detailed look at the Top Four and why No. 5 and No. 6 are not in the four-team playoff.
The administrators then do the work to fill the bowls, making sure that obligations are filled and contests are attractive to the site. They will also discuss the former coaches' Top Four versus the numbers. Disputes will come, but in the end the entire committee has to decide on the four teams in the playoff. Having a group split between these two ranks will help keep both sides honest.
Honestly, outside of getting representation from different regions, big and small players in the mix, as well as getting strong football knowledge, the who is nowhere near as important as the how. Transparency, accountability and a solid method are a must. No matter how great the names are on the selection committee, if the process is ineffective, the sport loses.
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