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Meet the New College Football Playoff Selection Committee
By: John Daniel, Brian Hill
For those tired of their favorite teams being denied a shot at a national championship game, the end is near. Beginning next season, the top four teams in the country will be selected by a committee of thirteen members to participate in a four-team playoff to determine the eventual national champion. The committee will also be given the duty of selecting the teams that will participate in three non-contract New Years Day bowl games. These include the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Jeff Long will be the head of the committee, and the rest of the committee members are listed and described below.
Jeff Long: Jeff Long started his career as a graduate assistant coach at Miami University in Ohio. Miami is known as the “Cradle of Coaches” due to the fact that many famous coaches in college football have started their careers there. After short coaching stops at three other schools, Long joined the staff of Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Schembechler was also a coach that had his career start at Miami University. Long eventually began to work his way up the athletic administration ranks with stops at Eastern Kentucky University, Virginia Tech University, and the University of Oklahoma before becoming the athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. Finally, Long became the athletic director at the University of Arkansas in 2007, a position he still holds today. His experience in both coaching and administration as well as his familiarity with a variety of conferences make him a good choice to chair the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
Barry Alvarez: Barry Alvarez played college football at the University of Nebraska in the late 1960’s, and later became a high school football coach in Nebraska and Iowa. After his high school coaching career, Alvarez became an assistant coach at both the University of Iowa and the University of Notre Dame. In 1990, Alvarez was named the head coach of the University of Wisconsin, a team that had gone six years without a winning season. After compiling only five wins in his first two seasons, Alvarez led Wisconsin to a Rose Bowl victory in his third season of coaching. Throughout his sixteen years of coaching, he led Wisconsin to 112 wins, three Big Ten titles, and three Rose Bowl Victories. After retiring in 2006, he became the University of Wisconsin’s athletic director, a position he still holds today.
Michael Gould: This is perhaps one of the most interesting, perplexing choices for the College Football Playoff Committee. Michael Gould graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1976 after playing defensive back on the football team. After his graduation, Gould spent one year as a graduate assistant football coach at the Air Force Academy before becoming a pilot instructor in 1977. From 1977 until 2010, his only real involvement with football of any kind came in the 1980’s when he spent four years as a prep school football coach. Aside from this, his career was primarily involved with the Air Force until he was named the chairman of the Mountain West Conference board of directors in 2010. He was also the superintendent of the Air Force Academy from 2009-July 2013. Overall, Gould does not hold nearly as much experience in football as many other candidates, but he does bring representation from a minor conference to the committee.
Pat Haden: Pat Haden is one of the most experienced members of the College Football Playoff Committee. He played college football at the University of Southern California as a quarterback, and led his teams to three Rose Bowls and two national championships. Due to his size, however, he slipped to the seventh round of the NFL draft. He made the roster of the Los Angeles Rams in 1976 and ended up playing as the starter late in the season. The Rams upset the Cowboys and made it to the NFC Championship, where they lost to the Vikings. The next year, Haden played the full season, leading the Rams back to the NFC championship where they fell to the Cowboys. After this, Haden started for a few more seasons but was plagued by injuries that held him out for the rest of his career. After football, he joined CBS as a broadcaster, and later accepted the position as athletic director at USC.
Tom Jernstedt: Tom Jernstedt is yet another questionable selection for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. He played quarterback from 1964-1966 at the University of Oregon, but the accumulation of multiple injuries ended up bringing his playing career to an end. He worked for the athletic department at his alma mater from 1969-1972 before being hired in 1972 by the NCAA as a director of events, where he oversaw the NCAA Tournament. His work for the NCAA brought the NCAA Tournament to the national prominence that it has today. In 2003, he was appointed to the position of executive vice president of the NCAA. He was eventually let go in 2011 when Mark Emmert became the president of the NCAA. His experience in college athletics is valuable, but his career has primarily been basketball-oriented.
Oliver Luck: Oliver Luck, the father of NFL quarterback Andrew Luck, played college football at West Virginia University, where he was a starting quarterback for four seasons. In his senior year, he defeated the Florida Gators in the Peach Bowl. After college, the Houston Oilers selected him in the second round of the NFL Draft. He spent five seasons playing in the NFL. After his playing career, Luck practiced law and ran for Congress, but was defeated. He ended up serving as the general manager for a few minor sports teams and served as the president and CEO of NFL Europe before becoming the president of the Houston Dynamo of the MLS in 2005. In 2008, he was appointed to the West Virginia University Board of Governors before becoming the athletic director in 2010. He still holds this position today.
Archie Manning: Archie Manning, father of brothers Eli and Peyton, was a professional NFL Quarterback during the 1970’s and is a former starting quarterback for the University of Mississippi. He is one of three members on the committee who have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is the most respected player of the game on the committee. Manning has been a sports analyst for the New Orleans Saints and is also a commentator for CBS Sports College Football broadcasts.
Tom Osborne: Tom Osborne is a legendary Head Coach of University of Nebraska who lead the team for 25 years who eventually became the Athletics Director at the university. He recently resigned from being the AD following the team’s loss in the Capital One Bowl. Prior to accepting the position a top the Athletics Department, Osborne was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2000 and served 6 years as Republican. He also ran for the governor position in Nebraska and lost in a tight race. The Nebraska teams coached by Osborne never finished with fewer than nine wins and finished within the AP poll top five teams in eight of his seasons as head coach.
Dan Radakovich: Dan Radakovich became the Athletic Director at Clemson University within the last year and is one of the most respected people in the entire industry. He has played a major role in athletic departments across the nation and is regarded as an elite financial manager for the universities he has worked for. Radakovich has been in charge of numerous facility renovations and has improved sales at numerous schools. He was chosen by NCAA President Mark Emmert as one of ten Athletic Directors who will serve on an advisory committee that will recommend changes to the NCAA about changes in its rules and policy.
Condoleezza Rice: Condoleezza Rice is a Former United States Secretary of State who served during the George W. Bush administration and is credited for spreading democracy across the globe. She has never held a major position in the football world, but Rice considers herself a student of the game and commits every Saturday to studying College Football. The decision to place Rice on the committee has been criticized because she has no experience in the atmosphere of college football. Rice is the only female member on the committee. Currently Rice is a political science professor at Stanford University.
Mike Tranghese: Mike Tranghese is the former commissioner of the Big East conference and held that position for 19 years. He was the second in command when the conference was established in 1979 and has had spent until 2009 working for the conference. He was not heading the conference during the Big East’s collapse when the seven non-FBS universities left the conference. When those schools did succeed from the conference, he was one of the leading names to take the commissioner role of the new league they created.
Steve Wieberg: Steve Wieberg is a long time reporter and writer for USA Today for 30 years before stepping down to take a more leisurely occupation. He is nationally regarded as one of the best in the industry and was inducted into the US Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame. He is the only journalist on the committee and because he retired when he did he was allowed to be a full member on the board. He has stated that the selection process of the committee will be very similar to how the college basketball bracket is selected, and will consider major things like strength of schedule and head-to-head wins.
Tyrone Willingham: Tyrone Willingham is a former college player and coach. All within the past decade he has held the head coaching position at Stanford University, Notre Dame University, and University of Washington. He was inexperienced when hired by Stanford and is mostly remembered for his time spent there because of his four bowl game appearances. He has defended his fellow committee member Condoleezza Rice from criticism about her selection. Willingham is currently a volunteer women’s golf coach at Stanford.
With the change from the BCS ranking system to the new four-team playoff system comes a brand new era to college football. The top four college football teams selected by the new College Football Playoff selection committee will be awarded the opportunity to play for a spot in the National Championship. The decisions of the committee will most likely be criticized, and it remains to be seen if this system will be a sufficient, permanent change to postseason college football.