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College Football Playoff Committee Meets

In today’s, November 12, 2013; USA Today Sports page, they published an article written by USA Today sports writer; George Schroeder. The article titled “Playoff Committee Forms Its First Huddle” (Schroeder, 2013), opening comment in bold print by the author “Members focus on defining role for 2014 launch” (Schroeder, 2013). This was the first time the committee were to meet with all its members in the same place, same time to discuss several topics. Interesting missing from the committee due to other obligations were Mr. Arching Manning and Sen. Tom Osbourne. The committee meets or schedules to meet for the first time and they ALL cannot be present. First decision already and there is a fumble and a turnover. This is a responsibility in which you were selected, not elected and you all cannot make the first meeting. I can only see how future committee meetings will go from this point forward. You’re responsibility is to make a $50+ million dollar decision and you ALL can’t agree on meeting for the first time to make this committee show some credibility to the commitment to the importance of being part of the selected group.

Another interesting point, to prove that the bias will still be associated with this committee, Mr. Bill Hancock, Commissioner of the BCS, is already making his presence felt along with his influence to the members of the committee, by being part of this process and photo opportunity. He was not selected to be part of this committee when the committee was announced a few weeks ago, then what is his motivation and purpose for being there? We all know what it is. From my perspective, if this committee is to receive credibility then people like Mr. Bill Hancock, Mr. Mike Slive and any other influential people who can use their higher centers of influence to dial up a committee member and make direct suggestions on who they would like to see in the 4-team playoff, should remain silent and distant. See, Mr. Bill Hancock already has a direct line, like the Bat Phone with Commissioner Gordon and Batman, to the committee chairperson; Mr. Jeff Long. Mr. Jeff Long is the Athletic Director for the University of Arkansas. See the direct relationship, bias, influence and higher centers of influence already at work and we have not even started the first selection process. There are more moral and ethical issues associated with this playoff committee than you can count on one hand.

As I have said before in a previous posting/publishing, the committee is being asked to make a $50+ million dollar decision knowing they must select 3.1% of the field of NCAA/FBS football programs. Not only is the financial implication important, but their are members who are part of this committee who have never been part of an NCAA Men’s or Women’s selection committee but have not been following college football like a real administrator does or a sports fan, but were selected based upon name sake to provide the committee with name credibility, but possesses limited experience in selection committee process for team participation in one of the most visible playoff formats, outside of the March Madness for Men’s and Women’s College Basketball. The article continues on with Condoleezza Rice being quoted saying “I think it’s impossible, having been appointed to the committee, not viewing football games differently” (Schroeder, 2013). Mrs. Rice was also was quoted as saying “I try to watch more games- which in my case is almost impossible, since I already watch a lot of football” (Schroeder, 2013). With all due respect to Mrs. Rice, how many football games have you watched as a fan and how many have you watched to analyze not just the game but the season over many seasons? Watching football games as a fan is significantly much different when you need to make a multi-million dollar decision debating that cyclical triad or being persuaded by those committee members who have more football experience than you. You then become like one of the rats who follow the Pied Piper. Your thoughts and opinions become null and void at that point in time.

This is not like throwing darts at a dart board and hoping you hit a bulls eye. You and the selected committee are making a $50+ Million Dollar decision that impacts not just 4 programs, but those programs who can also say “we should be part of that 4-team playoff”, “why were we left out”. Those teams left out will want answers, many 1-loss programs, possibly 2-loss programs and more specifically the Non-BCS/Non-AQ/NCAA/FBS member programs. This committee has made a decision to be part of this committee without examining the ethical and moral implications that this responsibility comes with. I hope that this committee can provide real answers and not have to take “back pedaling” or “deflection” classes when dealing with tough questions when being questions about the first field of 4. With college football being the most visible sport at the start of the school year, returning back to school, always in the media’s forefront and scrutiny, 35+ million fans attend games on a yearly basis and MANY millions more watch and follow college football; then this committee is under a large microscope to get it right the first time. Hard to do when you must select 3.1% of the field, $50+ Million Dollars in the balance and many higher centers of influence possessing direct lines of communication to this group of committee members.

The committee will be examining what factors to use as measurable criteria to determine their selection process. Schroeder wrote in his article that  “this committee will be expected to consider factors including conference championships, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, common opponents and the effects of injuries” (Schroeder, 2013). Interesting factors to examine if you have never really examined, analyzed, assessed or cognitively understand the significance that not just those dependent variables play, but other dependent variables that impact the independent variable. In English, every variable within the college football season must be examined pertaining to the selection process on the college football 4-team playoff. Let me point out some interesting facts about the factors that are listed and published in this article. Conference championships, not ALL FBS conferences possess them. Conference championships only significantly help, the Big 10, Pac 12, ACC, and the SEC. Yes, the MAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West conferences possess conference championships, but theirs possess limited importance and significance to making this 4-team field. The Non-BCS/Non-AQ conferences are already behind the 8-ball as it is, why create a measurable criteria that eliminates a specific group? Strength of schedule, that is such an open ended number of variables, where do I start. You cannot truly significantly determine whose schedule is stronger than the others. The variables are like concentric circles over lapping with more bad variables than good.

The one valid and key question I possess within this variable of the strength of schedule is, how do you as a committee view FBS programs who schedule FCS programs, the viability of those FCS programs who do not compete for the FBS championship, but play for embarrassment and the financial payday it comes with by playing those FBS programs? Before you start providing me with examples of Appalachian State and North Dakota State, published research in which I performed in my book states that FBS teams win 89.6% of those games versus FCS programs as of the 2012 FBS season (Siggelow, 2013). Also, FBS programs significantly outscore the FCS programs by 4+ possessions or 28.1 points (Siggelow,2013). That’s only looking at the final results from scheduling games versus FCS programs and not how many FBS programs or conference schedule and how they schedule FCS programs. Common opponents and head to head competition is a good measurable criteria but still has many factors associated with it. The factor of injuries is not a viable factor when determining a teams capability. Injuries are part of the sport or game and they occur and happen. Unless the committee has a magical crystal ball, like the sports analysts do when predicting game outcomes on the weekend, then using injuries as a factor is not a factor to examine. You cannot predict how a team will play with or without key players. Each game and play are distinctively different.

This committee has a tough task in front of them, knowing this is a $50+ million dollar decision and many of them have no business being part of this committee, that’s just my opinion. I have more experience, knowledge and education to be part of this committee, strongly based upon research, examination and analyzing 25,000+ data points from 1996 to the present when selecting my fictional field of 16 for my college football playoffs. As the years progress, we know where this college football playoff is headed. It’s headed towards a more traditional playoff format of 16. It’s only a matter of time.

I only speak of the truth as Sgt. Joe Friday said “Only the facts ma’am.. only the facts”.

Follow me on twitter: @cfbpoexpert

Schroeder, George. Playoff Committee Forms Its First Huddle: Members focus on defining role for 2014 launch. USA Today Sports. November 12, 2013. Page 3C.

Siggelow, Matthew. (2013). College Football In BCS Era, The Untold Truth: An Analysis of Factors that Supports the 16-Team Playoff Model. Lulu.com, self published Matthew Siggelow.


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