Inside The Committee: Polls and Bowls Time

Members of CFP selection committee go on the record about their voting process.

Everyone with an interest in college football should have a particular interest in the College Football Playoff (CFP) that goes into effect at the end of this season with the four teams that will play for the national championship. Bill Hancock, who ran the previous national championship formula, the Bowl Championship Series, was charged with organizing the CFP and he came up with a committee of 13 to make the decision.

The committee will begin work in earnest at the end of October, releasing its own poll. Although it is the four-team playoff that will attract the most interest, the committee is also charged with determining other bowl participants.

’BAMA Magazine had the opportunity to speak with three of the committee members – Oliver Luck, director of athletics at West Virginia; Michael Tranghese, retired commissioner of the Big East Conference; and Dan Radakovich, athletics director at Clemson. The interviews were conducted separately in September and not all were asked the same questions.

Why did you choose to be on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee?

OLIVER LUCK: I think my answer is probably the same answer you would get from any of the five or four sitting athletic directors which is I think we were all sort of asked by our commissioner to be the one from Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, etcetera. I was certainly honored because it’s the first time this committee is coming together. When my Commissioner, Bob Bolsby, asked me if I’d be willing to do it, I said absolutely, I would be glad to do it. It’s good for college football. What’s good for college football is good for all the schools because college football is what drives our entire industry. It’s the engine that pulls this train down the tracks so I quickly said absolutely. I would love to do it.

MIKE TRANGHESE: People that I know and respect had asked me. When Bill Hancock called me and shared with me the people who were going to be involved, the thought of saying no to me was probably preposterous. It’s an impressive array of people that they have put together. I viewed it as a privilege and an honor. If they feel I can do a good job, there is no reason not to do it. It’s a really good mix of people. Everybody has a notion that you’ve got to have all the same types in the committee. I disagree adamantly with that because when I was on the basketball committee we never had all of the same types. Everybody brings something different to the table. Hopefully that’s what makes the process a good one.

DAN RADAKOVICH: I think first of all it’s a great honor to be asked understanding the magnitude of the task that’s there and the fact that it is the first college football playoff committee and assignment that is out there. I was very happy and as I said honored when Bill Hancock made the call. It didn’t take me real long to say yes because I understood how important this was for college athletics. It was something that I knew I would have the capability and time to do and wanted to be a part of it that’s for sure.

What is your personal approach to evaluating the teams?

LUCK: The committee members have a good bit of latitude or leeway if you will in terms of how they digest information. I think we are all probably doing it a little bit differently. To a certain degree it is difficult to say because we are just now in my mind getting into the meat of the season. Most of the non-conference games are out. There have been some great matchups so far but there’s also been some one-sided matchups. It is very difficult at this point to say who might be at the top or middle or whatever so in my case I will talk to a lot of people, watch a lot of film and I’ll watch our games live. I’m sure you’re aware we have all the tapes with our iPads. We’ll have more tape than we know what to do with. It’s also valuable to watch live games because it is a little bit different watching a game live not knowing what the next play is going to be versus knowing the outcome. You look at the games a little bit differently. I’ll be trying to watch as many live games as possible and reading a lot. There is valuable information that I think exists whether it’s a national news organization like ESPN or Sports Illustrated or CBS Sports or whatever or down to local newspapers. Sometimes some of the best information comes from local beat writers, the Birmingham papers in Alabama’s case, The Tuscaloosa News or the Morgantown Dominion Post. Obviously those beat writers are almost embedded inside. In my case, it will be a combination of a lot of things. I think that’s probably the case for most of the people.

TRANGHESE: For me the most important thing is watching games. Watching teams and being able to see people play and then when it’s over you look at who people played, who they beat and where games are played. The important thing is having seen people play because if history has shown us anything they’ll be a lot of people who may look alike on paper. You’ve got to get through all that. There is strength of schedule, where you played but obviously it is who’ve you beaten and then it’s what you call the eye test and looking at people.

RADAKOVICH: There will be an awful lot of watching games. We have been given some great technology from the committee through the DragonFly System and the iPad downloads that we can obtain. I can DVR games at home to be able to watch during the week and the weekends especially because the athletic directors are busy on the weekends with their home schools. Yesterday, Monday and Tuesday of this week I will be able to sit back after work and watch some games, take some notes and begin to formulate some information and look at some of the analytics that are being provided to us by the SportsSource people. I can begin to cull down the number of teams that we would look forward to creating the first Top 25 Poll at the end of October.

Is there some data that is the most accurate determinant defining the strength of a team?

LUCK: What’s interesting is the SportsSource Analytics people have been able to go back I think the last 14 years and take all the categories, I don’t know how many, maybe 75 or so in all those statistics and rate those based on the prevalence of categories amongst the top ten or top fifteen finishers. What that tells me is that somebody can go back and look at the past 14 years whether it’s the top five or top ten and see which categories are prevalent. Which categories are the red thread that connects those top teams – whatever it is offense, defense or special teams categories. Those categories are present almost in every one of the top 10, top 12 or top team finishers. That to me is a DNA of a top team. I’m not going to say a top 4 team or a top 8 team or a top 20 team but those categories will be the double-helix in the DNA of teams because they’ve consistently been present. Then you have to go one level further to make sure you’re not confusing the cause and effect. Lawyers are pretty good at trying to determine causal relationships. There are some categories that are not co-related to successful teams. There could be categories that every team in the last 20 years in the top ten has in common but that could be as a result of being in the top ten as opposed to a reason they were in the top ten. You have to be careful. We will be watching a lot of football and you see things that can’t be quantified very often.

TRANGHESE: Different for all of us. There is one very important stat that I learned a long time ago – who wins and who loses. Bill Parcells is a very close friend of mine. I talked to Coach Parcells about the year they beat Buffalo. Everybody said Buffalo was better because they went up and down the field and scored a lot of points. As Coach Parcells told me, ‘We were terrific defensively.’ We saw how the game played out. I don’t know that I will be affected in a significant way by statistics. I think I will be affected by wins, losses and where games are played. I think where games are played is a very, very, very big thing. It was when I was on the basketball committee although we’re talking about a different sport. I think anytime you go on the road and you beat somebody good on the road - that to me is special because there are not that many of them nowadays.

RADAKOVICH: There’s an awful lot of data within that group. I’m not sure that I’ve culled it down yet to one specific item. I don’t think there is one item. I think it’s a combination of various factors that are utilized. Historically you can go back and see which factors are used to define the metrics and statistics associated with really good teams through the years. I’m still working through that exact formulation and want to make sure we combine that with the really most important thing which is watching the games and understanding how teams are performing. Metrics by themselves are not the answer. You have to have both.

How do we get out of the rut of the preseason polls and their influence?

LUCK: You don’t pay any attention to them. It’s pretty simple. They are never going to go away because people love college football. I don’t begrudge any organization for doing it. I think in our case we are not giving any credence at all to those polls.

TRANGHESE: I think the preseason polls have served college football very well. They have been a great marketing and promotional tool. Therefore, I would never suggest that we get rid of them but I can only speak for myself. If you ask me today what the rankings are in the AP Poll, I couldn’t tell you. It’s meaningless to me. Polls have always been meaningless to me long before this. I don’t need the polls to tell me who the undefeated teams are right now and whose played who or whose played well. They have some really good people on this committee and they are not going to be influenced by what I consider a marketing element. I know they are all watching games and analyzing it. We are going to get in a room and debate and share our thoughts together. We have some great football people in the room. You’re talking about people like Archie Manning, Oliver Luck and Dan Radakovich. These people have incredible football backgrounds. We are going to get the pure football analysis which is very important. Then we will put everything together, talk and we’ll get it right. That’s what are job is.

RADAKOVICH: I think the polls currently as they are structured are really great for college football. They are great for the fan bases. They keep interest in the sport and involved at this point in time. They give a benchmarking from the perspective of those that are doing the poll. One of the reasons we are not doing a poll until the end of October is to allow for some teams that maybe we thought were going to be good and maybe have stumbled or teams that were off the radar screen who are performing incredibly well to be able to be placed in a good position in that inaugural poll that will come out at the end of October.

What is the impact of losing early and losing later in the season?

LUCK: I think it will be the same as it is in basketball. I think I disagree with your premise a little bit. Any sport where there is a committee; the further back in time the losses occur the more difficult it is to analyze that in the present circumstances. I think it is human nature issue more than anything else. I don’t think it matters if it’s basketball or football. I think in football it is a shorter time span and don’t have as big a sample size as basketball. Every game becomes more critical but inevitably teams change more from week one to fourteen than they do between week thirteen to fourteen. I don’t know if there will be a hard and fast rule. It’s just one of the many characteristics each member looks at the season.

TRANGHESE: I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it. Basketball put an emphasis on how you played at the end of the year. In watching football, you hopefully see a team that has improved. If you have two teams that are exactly identical, that could be a breaking point but to say you’re going to pick one team over another because they played better at the end of the year – one of the things with the basketball committee if I can tell you is often times teams that were playing better at the end of the year were teams that were playing a bunch of home games. You have to analyze everything. We’ve got plenty of time to do it. The good thing is we’ve got 13 different opinions. We should be able to flush it out and ultimately make the right decision.

RADAKOVICH: Not sure because we haven’t run one of these yet. I think if you take the tact that it is the entire body of work, losing early or losing late, shouldn’t make any difference at all. It’s part of the entire body of work but I think it also would have some measures as it relates to playing well and having some good momentum at the end of the year. If a team in improving at the end of the season, then they are most likely improving during their conference schedule. I think it’s important that they have a good body of work during the entire season. Also, that they have been tested early in the season. Certainly you want to have a team that is playing well at the end of the season. I think you put all those factors together and there should be four teams at the end of the year and maybe even more that have fit that recipe – challenging themselves early in the year, being successful, then also playing well at the end of the year.

Will the eye test be applied and possibly trump the guidelines and protocols?

LUCK: My basketball buddies told me at the end of the day when all else failed, it is the eye test. The question is if A played B on a neutral court, who do you think would win. That is often the case if A plays B on a neutral field, who do you think would have the advantage. Some teams match up better against other teams. TRANGHESE – In basketball you are getting to the end when you’re talking about team 64 or 65. This is a totally different thing. You are talking about picking teams to play for our national championship. You can’t do it alone on the eye test. To me it’s one of the factors. I’ve heard some people say that the eye test shouldn’t be used. If the eye test shouldn’t be used they shouldn’t have humans on the committee. Of course the eye test has got to be used. If the eye test was not part of the process then we wouldn’t have to watch any games. But in the end I think who you played, where did you play them and who have you beaten are important. Strength of schedule is an important element that has been made clear to us. The charge we have been given is to pick the four best teams. If we are to pick the four best teams, strength of schedule has to be one of those elements.

RADAKOVICH: I think the eye test is going to be very important. That’s why we have the committee. There are certain protocols from the strength of schedule to conference championships to winning games. I think as much as having those metrics out there and those guidelines, that’s part of the reason we are all watching a lot of games right now, all 13 members of the committee so that we do have a basis of information in having watched the teams to say how did they win. Was it a tipped pass at the end of the game where they were dominated throughout the game. Did they dominate throughout the game and won in the last second. There are a lot of different factors that are out there. We just need to make sure we are considering all of those factors. The only way to do that is I believe is to be able to lay eyes on a team and watch the game. The technology that we’ve gotten really helps us if you have a team that may have been a little off the radar at the beginning of the year but has come on very strong and they are playing well in their conference, have won a lot of games, have some great momentum moving forward, even if you didn’t watch that game in week two, you have the ability to go back and watch that.

Perhaps the most intriguing suggestion has been that the committee would consider injuries to key players. How will Injuries be affecting your choice of teams?

LUCK: It is clearly something we will look at. There is no easy way to quantify it. If a guy breaks his leg and he is out, then you have to figure how important was he to the team. How important was the starting left guard to the team? Did the backup get any playing time. Every situation is going to be so different. The challenge is we have to be somewhat sensitive to the medical privacy laws and student privacy laws. This is not the NFL where you have a questionable list, doubtful list or the categories they use in the NFL. We have to be very careful and make our best judgment. Guys can play great on Saturday after not having practiced all week. We will gather whatever information is available to us and factor that in with all the other issues. Coaching staffs have to be very cognizant with the privacy laws. That is where local journalists might say I saw the kid limping across the practice field or I saw the kid going to class and he is on crutches. That is the kind of stuff in today’s social media world that will get out pretty quickly. We’ll have to take that as one factor.

TRANGHESE: I don’t know. I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m really interested in when we get together to talk about it. There are different types of injuries. The quarterback gets hurts is the obvious one. Do we sit there and factor in when the starting center of starting linebacker gets hurt. Football is a game with a lot of injuries. When is a team healthy. This will be a hard part for me. Injuries are part of the game. In basketball, when you have an injury and someone misses a game, that is a unique set of circumstances. In football is anybody’s team healthy at any time during the season. One team may be healthier than another but it’s the nature of the game. I think it’s a tough thing and honestly at this point I don’t know the answer. It’s something that I think I want to hear what other people think and talk our way through it. Hopefully we don’t even have to deal with it. I remember when the BCS started and my good friend Roy Kramer said to me, “Everything you think won’t happen will happen.” I said that in our meetings. Every conceivable situation will occur and that’s the beauty of college football.

TRANGHESE: Suspension consideration – A suspension was not treated the same as an injury with respect to the basketball committee. I don’t know the answer with the football committee because we have not discussed the subject. Those are the kinds of issues we are going to have to talk about. I have a very strong opinion about it that I will express but I want to hear what everyone else says because we haven’t talked about it and ultimately we may not have to talk about it. If someone loses a player and the team wins, there is no need to talk about it.

RADAKOVICH: I think there will be that discussion. Again, I’m not sure how that will be attacked because we haven’t actually been in the room yet to be able to talk through it. I’m sure it will be a factor. Suspensions – One of the interesting things and you and I both know this because we’ve watched an awful lot of college football that the committee is going to make their selection in early December. Every bowl season across the crawl there are academic casualties that occur after the end of the first semester. We obviously will have no way of knowing or understanding what those will be. We are going to do the best with the information we have based on the time we have to do it.

One could say that the most controversial question revolves around strength of schedule in part because the power five conferences all have different models -- eight or nine league games, conference championship game or not, non-conference games against non-power five teams. Is this likely to be a sticky question for the committee?

LUCK: I am a believer that we will look at strength of schedule and it is what it is. Obviously as an AD I understand you schedule games way out, four to five or sometimes 10 years in advance. The way I am going to approach it is the schedule is what it is. We can’t know the reasons behind every athletic director’s decision to schedule x, y and z four or five years ago. If there are eight or nine conference games, we will just take the schedule as is. That is the only way we can afford to look at it.

TRANGHESE: We can argue both sides of the fence. Some people would say if you’re in a conference and have a championship game it is a much harder road to travel. Other conferences that are playing everybody in the league would say we really have a true champion because everybody is playing everybody. Everybody is going to have to look at it and come to their own conclusion. It is certainly something we will talk about. I’ve heard this notion that everybody needs to do the same thing which I find that to be preposterous. We are not in the business of telling conferences what to do. That’s up to the presidents and the commissioners. I’ve read all the comments saying other leagues should be like us. Other leagues say no, this is what we want to do. It’s our job just to analyze it and make certain that the four best teams are playing at the end of the year. Our job is not to dictate terms or tell anybody how to schedule. Obviously, I think the presidents and the commissioners before the process started told everyone the strength of schedule would be an element. People say how much of an element. I think we are going to find out. I can’t quantify it but it’s an element. The most important element is still wins and losses.

RADAKOVICH: It could be. Strength of schedule by definition has to be some type of mathematical formula. There is no way to get around that so I think that’s part of the reason for people to watch as many games as they can. The strength of schedule metric will be what it will be and there will be literally an infinite number of ways that you can measure strength of schedule. So as a committee member you’ve got to be able to find one that you feel is good and then supplement that. It can’t be your only parameter. It will be out there to be discussed. The reason it will be discussed is because there is no magic formula associated with it. They are different just as we had in the former BCS era; there were five or six different computer models that were utilized. All of those had some type of strength of schedule associated with them and none of them agreed. They were all different. The people who play eight games have the opportunity to go out and play another out of conference team/opponent that hopefully will have a good year and add to their resume. The folks that play nine, it’s really incumbent upon the league that they play in to have nine good opponents.

What is the value you place on margin of victory with respect to common opponents and will teams be encouraged to run up the score?

LUCK: I don’t see an incentive in the present system to run up the score. There will be one-sided games but I don’t think teams are incentivized to leave their starters in for the full four quarters and score 75 points to run up the score. Some teams like Baylor just score a lot of points. When they are in sync they score a lot of points. Auburn can score a lot of points. Teams like Alabama or Stanford, maybe not. I think personally, maybe I’m naïve that there is a professional respect amongst coaches. I think you have to look at the game and see how it started and played out. Every game goes through momentum shifts. If A plays B, were the starters in the entire game. If it’s a passing team and all of a sudden there is a gully washer that came down if they were playing on a grass pit and it becomes a mud pit, there are all sorts of factors that you have to consider when you make a decision. What value if any is on that margin victory with common opponents. What’s the difference between 28 and 24 points. I don’t know. So much of the answer to any question is, it depends.

TRANGHESE: We haven’t talked about it. I think it’s going to effect people differently. I don’t think running up the score is going to have an effect on anybody. You have to watch how a game is played. You can have a game that’s really well played and goes into the fourth quarter and all of a sudden it explodes versus a game where team A is out of it very quickly. You can’t just look at a score. That’s why you have to watch the games. I don’t think anybody is going to make a decision based on the margin of victory because I’ll go back to my old Coach Parcells story is that different teams play differently. Some people are very offensive minded and some people may focus on the defensive side of the ball and play differently. You’ve got to absorb all that.

RADAKOVICH: I don’t think so. There are a lot of other variables associated with that. Did you pull your starters early, did you leave them in, and did the other team do that. There are a lot of different factors associated with the final score of the game. It’s more important if you look at common opponents from a win-loss perspective as opposed to a margin of victory perspective.

How do you distinguish between the best team and the most deserving?

LUCK: What I’ve said about the phrase the most deserving is that it’s pejorative. Best is as succinct and understandable as I think anyone can make it. The saddest example I use is the real life tragedy which occurred prior to the Oklahoma State game against Iowa State in 2011. (The game was played the day after the OSU women’s basketball coach and assistant died from an airplane crash in Arkansas). That was a devastating moment for the Oklahoma State family. Maybe Oklahoma State was the most deserving due to the circumstances.

TRANGHESE: I think that is the line. I may think that team A is the best team but I may think that team B is the most deserving team. In my mind you’ve hit the $64,000 question. That to me is what I have thought about a great deal. I think it is a subject the 13 of us are going to have to really talk about because you could have a team that runs the table who I think is the most talented and the best team and then you may have another team who I don’t think is quite a as good but maybe they’ve run the table and played a significantly harder schedule. We have to make that decision. I think that’s why they are putting the 13 of us in a room. I’ve always been outspoken about individuals should make these choices even when I was part of the BCS. I was an anti-computer guy. Nothing against the people running the computers because they are brilliant and a lot of what they do is very good but I just don’t want a computer telling me we should select team A instead of team B. I just don’t believe in it.

RADAKOVICH: I guess we’ll find out in December. That’s another really good question. I would hope that after watching as many games as we can watch and getting the other pieces of information that will be available there won’t be much difference between those deserving and best.

What is something you want the people to know about his committee and selection process?

LUCK: They are good people. I knew a few of them previous to this. Others I didn’t know. They all have the utmost respect for the institution of college football and they realize how important this is. I think they are very fair minded people. All of them have been in a position to have to make difficult decisions, decisions that run against the grain. I have the utmost confidence in this group. I really do. The most important thing for folks to understand is this process is based on the basketball, volleyball, soccer committees. It is the nature of intercollegiate athletics. Is it different than those other processes, sure but fundamentally it is just like saying the British Parliamentary rule of government is slightly different than our bicameral system but they are both democracies. This system is modeled on the committee system that has already been in place. It has really proven its worth over the years. People still argue about the basketball seedings but a lot of thought was put into this and ultimately the core of it, the foundation of it is based on the basketball, hockey, soccer, etc. system which I think is good. It’s not that much of a departure. We will have more data than we know what to do with. These decisions will certainly be close in some years. They’ll just be splitting hairs. We have a recusal policy that takes care of those big issues.

TRANGHESE: I think 13 of us are taken this pretty seriously, I can tell you that. I have no reservations about the integrity of the committee. I’ve read a lot of nonsense about how can an AD from this school be objective. That person is not going to be involved with that team. That is just the way the process is. One person if he is prejudice, what is he going to do. He is not going to influence other people. That is why you have 13 people voting. I can only tell you that my five years on the basketball committee that I never, ever sensed anybody crossing the line. They knew they had a responsibility. They took it seriously and did it.

RADAKOVICH: We are engaged and we’re active in our pursuit in finding the best four teams at the end of the year. It’s not just the people are going to gather in Dallas for those weeks to create the polls and not have discussions with the end game in mind. Very certainly as we look at those polls at the beginning part of our charge – the polls in October and November – they most certainly will change with activity on the field prior to the final poll in December. Being engaged, having those discussions I think is really what is going to be a hallmark of this committee.

What similarities are valid comparisons to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and this selection process?

LUCK: I’ll probably defer on that because I’ve not served on the basketball committee. I know we have a few people that have served on the basketball committee, Tom Jernstedt and Mike Tranghese. Their advice was invaluable when we were putting this together. They were quick to point out this was different. They only have one meeting and watch a lot of basketball.

TRANGHESE: Everyone says I am a big basketball man but I find that hilarious. I understand that because that is what the Big East started out as but I’ve been a big football fan since I was a little boy. Southern Cal was my team. I tell everybody I was responsible for creating football in the Big East. I think the similarities are there is a process and you have to engage yourself in it. You have to be prepared so if you’re not prepared you’re going to be embarrassed. I know those other 12 people are going to be prepared and you don’t want anybody to be more prepared than you. You have to get in there. Above all there is integrity and you’ve got to do what you think is right. You can’t let anybody or outside influences affect you. You just go about your business. The challenge of basketball is very different because when you’re selecting team 64 and 65, if you make a mistake, candidly that team was not going to win the national championship. But in football what we’re talking about is if we get down to team four and five we’re talking about a team being left out not having a chance to win a national championship. Then in addition to the top four, we have to pick the teams that are going to participate in the bowl games so that is a big decision. That may ultimately be the toughest decision. Which team from this conference is going to play in that game. We’ve gone through some exercises and I can tell you that one of the exercises we went through and Bill Hancock would say the same thing that maybe one of the big debates we had was over which team from a particular conference would was going to get into a particular bowl game in which that conference had a slot. It was really, really difficult. And to me you’ve got to get that right because you’re talking about a team having a chance to go participate in a great bowl game versus a team who is now going to be relegated to a lesser so called bowl game. And that to me is pretty important.

RADAKOVICH: I think that from a process perspective having people on the committee really as a point person for various conferences so that they can come in and give some information because they have been really watching teams in conference X or conference Y, I think that’s important and that’s a good parallel. I think probably the voting procedure not having been on the basketball committee in looking to rank the teams is similar to the procedures that were utilized in seeding the teams in the NCAA Tournament. At the end of the day, the basketball tournament is putting somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 at-large teams and 32 conference champions. Here we are going to be looking at four teams and where it may be highly unlikely team no. 68 inside the NCAA Basketball Tournament may have an opportunity to win a championship, there can be some great debate as to whether team no. 5 can who would be excluded from the playoff, if they would have a legitimate chance of playing and winning the national championship, which I think they might.

Why should sitting athletic directors be on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee?

LUCK: I think the thought process really is analogous to the basketball committee and the other committees that determine the post season opportunities for schools whether it be volleyball, basketball, you name it, soccer. There are sitting athletic directors and sitting conference commissioners on those committees and the thought was that has worked well over the years. The whole model for the playoff football committee is based on the basketball model if you will and the other Olympic sports. I think it was a pretty easy decision for the commissioners of the conferences to decide to have a sitting athletic director from each of the power five conferences.

TRANGHESE: I think that is up to the presidents and commissioners. That is not our job. They did not ask me my opinion. I haven’t even given it any thought. They had sitting athletic directors on the basketball committee for years. I think it has been part of the process. I think one of the presidents or one of the commissioners would have to answer that because they are responsible for the makeup of the committee.

RADAKOVICH: You look at the five people involved. We all have football backgrounds. Coach (Barry) Alvarez has been a college coach for a number of years. Pat Haden and Oliver Luck were both quarterbacks and very distinguished players. Jeff Long and myself both played college football and have been around very successful programs over the years. I think that we have the capabilities again given the technology that we have right now to be able to get enough information to be able to sit down and analyze and come forward in our committee setting to make a great decision. I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s worked fine with the basketball committee for a lot of years so I don’t think that it will be a negative as it relates to the football selection at all.

Would it be helpful to this new process if in the first year there was a non-controversial four team selection, such as four undefeated conference champions, or would it be better if there was some controversy and the committee had to flex their muscle?

TRANGHESE: I don’t know. I haven’t even thought about it. Either way, we just have to get the right four teams. No matter what happens, there are going to be unhappy people at the end. It’s the nature of the beast. It just is. There is going to be somebody who thinks they should have been in or somebody who thinks they should have been in the bowl game. That’s why they have asked us to come together and make a decision. It is what it is. I just always assumed we’ll have controversy. That may not be the case but I always assume that because it seems to happen in college football more often than not.

RADAKOVICH: I really don’t know. We have absolutely no control over that. The games are going to be what they’re going to be. We are going to have the slate in front of us and we’re going to have to make that decision. If there were four undefeated conference champions that’s probably a really good thing but there might be a team that has one loss that is a conference champion or not a conference champion that had that one loss against one of those conference champions in the last second and how did that happen and it was in the rain. There are hundreds and hundreds of factors there. We are going to look at all of those things at the end of the year and say who are the four best teams at the end of the year and put them out there for the college football playoff.

How much time will you devote to evaluating the teams?

LUCK: I think we all recognize the time factor. Same with the folks who serve on the basketball committee they are up at 3 AM watching the west coast games, Fresno State versus Gonzaga or whatever it may be. I think all of us went into this with open eyes in terms of how much time a commitment there is. We will watch a lot of games. Through the beauty of technology we are able to watch games in a condensed fashion which is very helpful. It allows us to watch X number of games over the course of a weekend or a Monday or Tuesday. We’ll watch live games as well. I’ll spend a lot of time talking to people and reading. There’s lots of material I would certainly like to digest. We are all busy. We’ve got full-time jobs but I think everybody is very committed to carving out the required time, the necessary time to be as informed as possible about all the teams that are in the mix.

RADAKOVICH: I don’t know that I have a clock on it. It’s a lot. There are times when I’m on an airplane and because of the technology we have I’m watching games on the airplane as I go to different functions. I’ll download games onto the iPad that they’ve given us and watch them there. I’ll do that at home on Sundays. It’s a big college football watching day. I don’t have any other hobbies right now. It’s working at Clemson and making sure that we can make Clemson the best that it can be and also preparing for my role on the college football playoff committee. It’s been good. I think all of us in this business suffer from a depravity of a work life balance. It’s just another task at hand that you take on with a lot of zest and the ability to try to do the best that you can and make sure you’re as prepared as you can be to be a good functioning member that contributes to a successful outcome associated with this process.

College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Jeff Long
Chairman and spokesperson, Director of Athletics, Arkansas

Barry Alvarez
Director of Athletics and former coach, Wisconsin

Lt. Gen. Michael Gould
Retired Superintendent, Air Force Academy

Pat Haden
Athletics Director, Southern Cal

Tom Jernstedt
Former Executive Vice President, NCAA

Oliver Luck
Athletics Director, West Virginia

Archie Manning (SINCE RESIGNED)
Former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback

Tom Osborne
Retired Athletics Director and coach, Nebraska

Dan Radakovich
Director of Athletics, Clemson

Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State, professor, Stanford

Mike Tranghese
Retired Commissioner, Big East Conference

Steve Wieberg
Retired sports reporter, USA Today

Tyrone Willingham
Former coach, Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington

Bonus video: Kermit Whitfield's 100-yard Kickoff Return


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