2014 College football playoff system and panel beginning to take shape

BCS executive director Bill Hancock with the coaches trophy during a press conference at the Marriott Convention Center Hotel. Come 2014, he will play an integral role in choosing the four teams to compete for the national title. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

The BCS rankings system and how the college football national champion is chosen comes under intense annual scrutiny. Generally, those rankings have failed to hold up to such observation.

Luckily, 2015 will provide both fans and programs the very first playoff system to choose a national champ. The panel that is going to choose the four teams that will compete for The Coaches’ Trophy must be selected, however, before the teams themselves can be chosen.

While finding 14-20 people willing to decide on the four teams in question will not be an issue, finding 14-20 who are both qualified and totally unbiased is going to be no easy task. Program and BCS commissioners met on Thursday to discuss the formation of the panel, as well as several other items on the playoff tournament docket.

“If you don’t get that right (how and who), it’s hard to get the rest of it right,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “There are a lot of business elements, but generally speaking, you’ve got to get the competition aspects of it right for it to be ‘right.’ That’s the biggest thing.”

BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the selection committee would consist of the aforementioned 14-20 members. Of those members, at least one individual representing each of the 10 FBS conferences will be at the table. Such representation should hlep increase both the perception and reality of the legitimacy and fairness of the panel’s choices.

Again, it is not going to be difficult to find the bodies for the panel. However, not only must they be hyper-knowledgeable and widely respected, but they must also be willing to absorb the anger from a program’s fan base should a fifth-ranked team feel slighted after missing the four-team tourney.

“Witness protection program: That’s been said,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said, laughing.

“There are a lot of great people out there that love the game, that will be able willing and qualified. We want people that know the game and understand the game, that have wisdom, integrity and respect. We’re confident those people are out there.”

Of course they are out there, but again, it is not going to be comprised of 14-20 warm bodies plucked off the street.

“We want experienced football purists, experts,” Hancock said.

The committee is going to be put together and run in a very similar fashion to the NCAA Basketball Tournament committee.

However, because there are only four teams going in (and only one coming out), the selections are going to be far more scrutinized than whether or not the 71st-best basketball program should have gotten in over the 70th. Especially by men and woemn who are proud to call themselves not fans, but fanatics.

These 14-20 people are obviously going to be excited to be a huge part of college football lore, but with such power comes the responsibility to actually get it right. Or else the title game, to be played on Jan. 12, 2015, will feel hollow.

And if that proves to be the case, then what was the point of switching to a playoff system in the first place?

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