Playoff panel volunteering for chaos

October 16, 2013 

Let the conspiracy theories and paranoia begin.

Rather, let them grow and pick up steam.

We have the names -- oh, those poor masochistic people -- of the 13-person college football playoff selection committee, and you can hear the clicking of keyboards pouring into message boards.

For one, there are the requisite anti-Georgia members of the panel, like the current athletics director at Clemson who used to be at Georgia Tech. And there’s former Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez, who has lost to Georgia twice.

Archie Manning played for Mississippi, an SEC foe for the Bulldogs.

And two Notre Dame connections, Condoleezza Rice and Ty Willingham?

Plus, what referees do these people know? Pity college referee Penn Wagers to be seen at lunch with any of them.

Good grief, at least they didn’t pick Mark May, since no loss in his career hurts as much as his team’s loss to Georgia.

The panel has, as per one story, “a Rhodes Scholar, two Academic All-Americans, three Phi Beta Kappa graduates and a retired journalist who won numerous awards as a reporter. Collectively the group has 26 degrees of higher learning, including eight master’s degrees, two law degrees and two doctoral degrees.”

That’ll go over well with the average fan when the pairings are made next year.

Since the panel announcement came in the middle of the week in the middle of the season, fans are a little distracted with, ya know, games and current conspiracy theories and paranoia.

Just wait until a year from now when the TV talking heads start with the “if the season ended today,” and they have no idea what the panel is thinking, and all the insanity is taken up a notch. So enjoy the surprises and cover your ears while bloody murder is screamed.

Many things some of us have harped on still don’t change, mainly: comparing FBS football to, well, anything else in the argument is apples and calculators and orange and tires; being left out of the NCAA basketball tournament is a wee bit different than just missing this playoff.

Those items, among many others, are ignored now in the BCS-hating fog and will crop up later. Shoot, most fans still don’t grasp what Division I is nor how the whole bowl system has worked throughout the years.

Gary Stokan, head of the Chick-fil-A bowl and general Peach State sports mover and shaker, offered plenty of quality insight Monday night during his visit to the Macon Touchdown Club.

There has been so much grousing about the current system and the bowls -- some justified, most not -- that it was nice to hear that some common sense has found a place in the new process, not that common sense will change perceptions.

As was going to be the case anyway, the previously known as BCS bowls list had to be expanded, and it is, with six bowls getting semifinals. The championship goes to a location, not a bowl. And as was going to have to be the case anyway, there is a playoff rotation.

An improvement, on paper, is that upper-tier bowl game matchups are likely to make more sense, except for the fact that some bowl slots will still be crowded, and we’ll be relying -- as we have been -- on people to make the decisions.

Then there will be grousing from people about the people who made those decisions, no matter how logical and fair. Common sense is having the semifinals on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 and the championship at least a week later on a Monday.

But are fans ready for regionalizing the final four? Geography and semifinal location will be strongly considered by this panel of people.

Are they looking at matchups and location, or who is really No. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4? And exactly why did they put that team up against No. 1? Wait, didn’t y’all just beat them?

Oh yeah. The clarity will be overwhelming.

It may not start for a while, but there will be plenty of madness coming.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or

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