Lost in the hullabaloo of SEC Media Days was a major development in the quest to finalize 2014's playoff process. A source told Sporting News that current athletic directors would be part of the makeup of the playoff selection committee. From Sporting News' Matt Hayes:
It now appears as the though the selection committee will consist of one athletic director from each of the five power conferences, former coaches and players and possibly former media members.
The CFP still hasn’t worked out metrics the committee will use, or the total number of members. There likely will be an equal number of current athletic directors, former coaches and a third group of voters.
If an athletic director’s school is part of the playoff process, he or she will leave the room during voting for that team. The athletic director would stay in the room if a member from his or her conference is being debated.
The College Football Playoff administrative body makes an interesting move here, allowing people very close to the action to have a major say in the process.
And that is not exactly a good thing.
Athletic directors are merely one step removed from the head coaches who participate in the woefully executed USA Today Coaches' Poll. Not only do athletic directors spend their time worrying about just their school over the course of the season, but unlike coaches, football is not the strong suit of every athletic director out there.
Sure, Barry Alvarez has a keen eye for football thanks to his time coaching. However, given the business of college sports and need for CEO-type management of the athletic department, most athletic directors are tremendously removed from the X's and O's.
In other words, not only are athletic directors not watching all of the games, they are not exactly football experts when they do get to watch games. Football has a small sample size, varying styles and talent levels, and a limited margin for error in picking just four teams.
Athletic directors representing each conference, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy points out, is a "working concept." In theory, representation from the "big five" leagues makes some sense; however, if the conferences are looking to balance input, why not just go with the commissioners themselves?
Commissioners are further removed from the day-to-day grind of athletic directors and their respective schools. While conference commissioners are, by no means, football experts, they are exposed to more teams than their school-specific counterparts, and for this committee, more is better.
Being on the selection committee is big. Having former players, former coaches and possibly media members is certainly positive. Yet, the inclusion of athletic directors does appear to be the big step back in establishing a committee capable of producing four teams ready to compete for a title.
The closer to an individual school a committee member is, the more difficult the task of separating the wheat from the chaff becomes.
Remember, folks, this is not basketball. It isn't about the 30th-best team being separated from the 31st and so on. This is about separating three and four from five and six, and that is a tough task. If administrative types are to be on the committee, including bigger-picture commissioners would be a safer bet than athletic directors.