The timing is almost too perfect to be a coincidence. The same week that the first BCS rankings for the 2013 season are scheduled to be released, the selection committee was announced for the College Football Playoff, which will replace the much maligned BCS selection process beginning next fall.
The official announcement came on Wednesday, with the names of the 13 men and women who will make up the committee that will select the four teams that will compete in a playoff at the end of the 2014 season to determine the NCAA Division I national champion in football.
Several of the committee members have ties to the Big 12 Conference in their backgrounds. Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was named chairman of the selection committee. Long replaced legendary football coach and administrator Frank Broyles, who retired as Arkansas’ AD in 2007 after a 50-year association with the university. From January 2001 to May 2003, Long was senior associate athletic director at Oklahoma under athletic director Joe Castiglione. From OU, Long went to Pittsburgh as athletic director, and from there moved on to the same post at Arkansas.
The Big 12 representative on the committee is West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. Luck received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia, but also has a law degree from the University of Texas. Another committee member with Big 12 ties in his past is former Nebraska head coach and athletic director Tom Osborne, who had a number of epic Big Eight battles on the gridiron against legendary Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer.
Osborne is joined on the committee by fellow former college coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Tyrone Willingham (Stanford, Notre Dame and Wachington). The committee also consists of former U.S. Secretary of State and professor at Stanford Condolezza Rice as well as former NFL quarterbacks Pat Haden, currently athletic director at USC, and Archie Manning.
The selection of Rice as the only woman on the committee might surprise some. She was a natural, though,. as far as executive director Bill Hancock is concerned. “She know this game, (and) she is a student of the game,” Hancock told ESPN.com Hancock currently serves as executive director of the Bowl Championship Series. Oh, and by the way, he is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.
Other committee members include former Lieutenant General Mike Gould, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, and former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.
Former USA Today sportswriter and University of Missouri graduate Steve Wieberg rounds out the College Football Playoff selection committee. Known to be a consummate reporter and a stickler for details, Wieberg covered the college sports beat for USA Today, where he worked for nearly 30 years. Oklahoma AD Castiglione once said about Wieberg: “He might be writing a really difficult piece or doing a tough investigation, but he does it the right way.”
The selection committee will meet four times during the college football season and will issue rankings every other week beginning in mid-October, according to Hancock. Committe members will not be paid, he said, and will serve for about three years. The terms of the original committee members will be staggered so all 13 will not transition out at the same time.