Updated Oct 16, 2013 - 3:55 pm
College football just can't get it right
What's wrong with college football executives?
Why do they always get it wrong?
The word college is synonymous with higher learning. And the people in positions of power at universities are supremely educated. They possess extreme intelligence. And yet, time and again they prove they couldn't tell Coke from Pepto-Bismol in a blind taste test.
If there is a wrong decision to be made, college football executives will make it.
Imagine Amanda Bynes getting accidentally locked inside a Walgreen's for the night. She could make the best of it by rolling out an air mattress, reading magazines all night beneath the glow of a newly opened desk lamp, chowing on Bugels and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups until she fell blissfully asleep to the recently unwrapped music of Sade on her just-out-of-the-box CD player. But no, within thirty seconds, I guarantee she'd be bathing in a tub of vodka taken from the liquor section, and bobbing for Vicodin she stole from the drug store.
And that's what college football executives would do as well. You can't trust them to watch your house while you're away, babysit your children, vote for the better American Idol contestant, and you sure as hell can't trust them to make a good decision for college football.
College Football Playoff Executive Bill Hancock stood at the podium and before television cameras Tuesday afternoon just as proud as Cliff Huxtable the day Theo got accepted into Hillman.
Hancock's pride stemmed from the announcement of his brand new college playoff executive committee. His cheeks were flush with joy as he personally rattled off the names of college football legends like Archie Manning and Tom Osborne. He could hardly contain his zeal when he announced a three-star general and a former U.S. Secretary of State were part of the committee. And he felt the need to repeat that member Pat Haden is a Rhodes Scholar. Let me repeat that, he felt the need to repeat that member Pat Haden is a Rhodes Scholar.
What Hancock failed to mention is that although he put together one impressive group for people to hear speak at a college sports luncheon or to meet at a golf tournament/charity fundraiser for collegiate athletics, he did an awful job of picking a selection committee.
The job of picking four teams to play in next year's inaugural college football mini-tournament should be left to a group of intelligent people who follow college football professionally, as their hobbies and as their life's passion.
I'd surely love to have coffee with Condoleeza Rice, maybe even go on a cattle drive with her, which as we know is the only way to truly get know someone once you're over 40. I think it would be neato to hear Oliver Luck's stories on just when he knew his son, Andrew, was going to be a special player.
But Condoleeza Rice isn't watching forty hours of college football per week, neither is Osborne or Ty Willingham. Luck is busy tending to West Virginia athletics, and Pat Haden is focused on hiring a head coach at USC. These aren't college football die-hards hell-bent on getting the four selections right. They are intelligent people with great resumes who will use actual college football fanatics' analyses and data to collectively arrive at an agreeable decision.
Leave the job of picking the four teams to play in next year's mini-tournament to unbiased, intelligent, I-eat-drink-and-breathe-college-football professionals like Kirk Herbstreit, Mark Schlabach, Dennis Dodd, Pat Forde, Jesse Palmer, Mark May, etc.
Why even introduce an element of administrative or conference bias? Why have casual college football fans make selections that are inevitably going to be met with widespread criticism? Hell, why have a committee at all?
You've let a computer pick your top two teams for decades. Why can't the computer pick the top four teams?
No matter which four are included, the new system is going to receive the same high level of criticism the last system deservedly endured for decades.
Let's face it, until a REAL college football tournament is established (and by real, I mean eight or more teams), you can't devise a system that won't be met with outcry. Until college football stops with half measures to correct a 100-year-old problem of failing to decide their champion on the field, you are making the postseason a target for ridicule and rancor rather than for the clarification a championship game is supposed to provide.
This is the ONLY format for college football's postseason tournament:
Create four super conferences of 16 teams. Pac-16, Big 10, ACC, SEC.
Those four conference champions earn automatic berths into an eight-team NCAA tournament.
Create two conferences out of the 34 teams from the American Athletic, USA and Mountain West conferences. Those two conference champs also earn automatic berths, or you could have them compete in a play-in game for one of the eight spots.
Your selection committee of college football experts/professionals now has the task of picking the two (or three) at-large teams that earn wild card berths. An undefeated MAC or Sun Belt team gets first consideration. Otherwise, the committee picks the best two teams that didn't win their conference.
The final task then is to seed the eight teams and assign them to the bowl games that will be used to host the first and second rounds of our now perfect three-round NCAA college football tournament. (Or the top four teams could host the first round).
Under this system, every team in the country has a chance at winning the national title. And no school in the country can complain about not getting one of the two at-large bids, because they had a shot at winning their conference title and an automatic berth. And finally, even though there will be schools that feel they were jobbed, leaving out the ninth-best team in college football is a far lesser sin than leaving out the third.
See. It's not that hard.
But as long as college football executives are making the decision, we're sure to get Pepto-Bismol.
Chuck Powell, KTAR.com & ArizonaSports.com contributor