When the College Football Playoff committee found they had to replace Archie Manning due to his health issues there were numerous directions in which they could have gone. This is of course a group which includes folks as far reaching as retired three-star General Mike Gould, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and (for some reason) Tyrone Willingham. Using the broad terms which the committee chooses to use to target members thousands of candidates were available, making it interesting that a former Vandy head coach ended up with the gig.
And no, it’s not James Franklin who only has that level of power in his dreams.
The committee instead went after Bobby Johnson, the former Vandy and Furman head coach who has spent most of the last four years of his retirement just watching the games from home much like you and I do every Saturday of the fall. In many ways this makes him much more suited for the job than those on the Committee who have serious ties to certain schools or conferences as he has the time and the desire, not to mention the knowledge, to look at two teams over the course of a season and make the statement as to who is better.
Johnson worked wonders at Vanderbilt in many ways. He brought the school to a winning record in 2008 (7-6) which was the ‘Dores first winning season since 1982. He also was able to somehow coach Vandy to a Music City Bowl win over Boston College, the Commodores first bowl victory since 1955.
This may all seem a little run of the mill following what Franklin was able to do, but this was at a time where the funding and prominence given to football at Vanderbilt was at a far lower level that it is now. You can argue that without Johnson resurrecting the program and dragging it kicking and screaming to the level which he was able, then Franklin would never have been able to take the job and inject his own brand of momentum.
Johnson is certainly more than qualified for this position and it will be interesting to see what influence he has on the committee. The group of 12 did a solid job in 2014, but if the playoff ever does expand to eight or more teams then the number of schools who will expect to be playing in the postseason’s premier event will grow exponentially. It is at that point, the point where teams seven through 12 are all very similar, that the committee will be fortunate to count Johnson as one of its members.
Commentary: Bobby Johnson on CFP Committee
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