SBD/October 21, 2013/Colleges

Arkansas AD Jeff Long Pleased With Members Of CFP Selection Committee

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Long says reacts to football playoff selection committee were "overwhelmingly positive"
Arkansas AD Jeff Long last week was named Chair of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee, and he said the reaction to the names on the committee has been "overwhelmingly positive." Long said, "It's an incredible group of people with incredible intelligence and backgrounds, so I think it's been very well received." He said he would ensure that committee members will have access to coaches' tapes of relevant games. Long: "I don't think we can watch television copies of games and get through them all. We couldn't watch three hours." He added the committee will "make sure full focus is on the BCS" this year, so the committee will not review games from this season ("Arkansas-Alabama," ESPN, 10/19). Clemson AD Dan Radakovich, who is one of the 13 people on the committee, addressed concerns of whether the committee will watch all games and not just highlights to evaluate the teams. He said, “That’s going to be a great challenge for everyone in the committee. It is a time commitment. It’s something that all of us have signed up for. We’re going to have to do that and at the end of the day, we’re going to look at those teams that are the most deserving to come in and be those Final Four teams" (“College GameDay,” ESPN, 10/19).

RICE ANSWERS THE CRITICS: Some critics have questioned former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being on the panel because she did not play football. Rice responded by saying, "There are so many people in and around this sport … who never played football. So the question is, do you care about the game? Do you know the game? Have you spent the time knowing the game? Are you able to assess the evidence that's put in front of you and are you able to come to a reasonable judgment under a lot of pressure?" She added, "I've had a lot of experience doing that and I certainly feel that I've spent enough time around college football to know the issues." Rice said of the committee, "You want people with different perspectives." She noted the selection committee will produce a "better answer" to determining a national champion than the current BCS format. Rice: "I'd really like to contribute to a process that even if people don't agree fully with the outcome, they can say, 'Alright, a group of reasonable people of integrity tried to make good judgments, they worked hard at it and I can at least understand why they came out where they did.' College sports is special" ("Fox College Saturday," FS1, 10/19). In N.Y., Greg Bishop wrote Rice "spent Saturday much the way she spends most Saturdays." She was awake at 6:00am PT, her TV "tuned to ESPN’s 'College GameDay.'" That was "followed by game surfing" between Minnesota-Northwestern, South Carolina-Tennessee, Navy-Toledo and UCLA-Stanford. That was "followed by more television time at night," and she even "planned to catch ESPN’s 'College Football Final' before bed" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21).

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN? CFP Exec Dir Bill Hancock appeared on FS1's "Fox Sports Live" Sunday night and FoxSports.com’s Greg Couch asked him, “Why did we need this change to go from the BCS to the college football playoff?” Hancock said, “Fans were saying they wanted more football and they wanted a bracket. So my bosses said, ‘Hey, we can do that with a four-team event.’” Hancock said fans will be "satisfied with a selection committee." Hancock: "Of course, team No. 5 is not going to be happy because they don’t get to play in the playoff, but teams one, two, three and four will be happy.” The first edition of the final BCS standings were released last night, and Hancock said, “The first standings are always a new barometer for the next part of the season. Folks really get into it. They love that Sunday night’s standings announcements, but the thing about the first standings is, it is only the first standings. There are still seven more to go and a lot more football to be played” (“Fox Sports Live,” FS1, 10/20).

POTENTIAL POTHOLES: In N.Y., Roger Rubin wrote the "potential problem here is not going to be the committee," but the "playoff system itself." The four-team model "is a huge improvement over the BCS, but it’s still not enough," as the field "should have been at least eight teams." The CFP selection committee "already is certain to be treated like a piñata" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/20). In South Carolina, Ron Morris writes the CFP "will introduce more human element to the selection process." No matter "how objective those other 12 members claim to be," it is human nature for the sitting ADs on the panel to "carry a bias into the selection process." By adding "more of the human element to the selection process, the NCAA probably added more controversy" (Columbia STATE, 10/21).
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