WAYS TO MAKE COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S FINAL FOUR PERFECT
NO. 2, NO SELECTION COMMITTEE DRAMA
There's no way around the fact that there will be controversy with the selection process of the college football final four.
But if the process is fair and relatively transparent, it will at least minimize the attention paid to who didn't get included, and keep it on the four teams that did.
The NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee gets some grief every year, but those errors are usually relatively minor. Debates about if the final at-large team in the tournament should have been replaced by a different 13-loss team or whether some team deserved a No. 7 seed when it got a No. 9 seed instead usually passes quickly because they're not all that important.
But with only four teams included, not enough spots to include all the champions from the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC (not to mention the rest of the conference champs around the country) any errors will fundamentally change the outcome of the entire season.
The first thing the committee needs to be is transparent. Part of the reason people have an issue with the BCS is it's utterly confusing. It's a system that, in 2013, has a component that can rank Notre Dame over Alabama after the BCS title game is over. Some parts that make up the BCS equation make college basketball's RPI look cutting edge.
The main reason the committee's methodology will be important is because we'll need believable reasons why a team was selected for the fourth spot when a comparable team was left out. And there will be conspiracy theories.
A report from ESPN.com said the committee could consist of 14-20 people. All of the FBS conferences will be represented. That seems nice on the surface. But, as we've said in this space before, it certainly appears there was a reason they settled on four teams. That's enough spots to placate most of the power conferences most years, and not have to share the final four (and the money) with anyone else.
What happens when the Big Ten has a down year and produces a mediocre top option, and a Mountain West or AAC team runs the table? Will the committee ignore the power structure of the sport and give the deserving team a shot? That will be the test case for the committee. Is it interested in determining the rightful champion or keeping its most powerful conferences happy? Will the criteria change based on which team might get let in or out?
These are all questions that will be answered over time. The BCS criteria seemed like a moving target for many years, with little rhyme or reason to it. True, that created debate that kept the sport in the news, but sometimes it's nice to simply have a season with a logical conclusion. The selection committee will be entrusted with giving us a playoff field that makes the most possible sense.
Hopefully, the debates about the selections will be minimal.
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