The deeper we go into the 2014 College Football season, the more we’re worried that the new playoff format will be somehow messed up. Why? Because there are no clear guidelines to how the picks will be made. Polls will be taken into account? How much do numbers and strength of schedule make a difference? Does conference perceived strength come into play?
According to people ESPN asked, no. They interviewed four committee members last week: Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and former NCAA executive vice president Tom Jernstedt. All of them seemed to be like-minded on the matter that conference strength isn’t going to be part of the equation, but why should any of us believe them?
The SEC doesn’t just have the titles from 2006-2012 going for them. They have ESPN going for them. That’s one hell of a media push. Voters, believe it or not, are swayed by what they hear. Just look at how integral the preseason top 25 is when it comes to setting the stage for the rest of the season, instead of looking at how each team individually performs. It’s a losing battle for some schools right off the bat.
The ideal playoff would be a 16-team playoff with 11 conference champions and the highest ranked five teams joining in on the fun. But that’s too good to be true. The funny thing? The BCS system would have worked better than a committee in choosing the best four teams in the nation for a playoff run. Too bad they would only have it as the determining factor for just two teams, where more mistakes can be made.
Some of the members have top 25’s of their own. Some of the committee members have statisticians helping them out, although numbers at this stage don’t mean a whole lot. Each person has a different opinion on what numbers actually matters. Maybe the less informed members of the panel will think that winning against FCS teams by 40 and 50 points is more impressive than beating a power five conference team by just three points.
There’s no way this group can get it all right. More than just four teams will have a solid case for making it into the top 4. Politicking and campaigning through the media might have an even bigger influence now. Some members of this committee seem to be a bit more knowledgeable than the others when it comes to what’s actually important in choosing the right team. Lets just how this doesn’t turn into one messy situation which leaves no one happy.