NORMAN — Barry Switzer said he thinks former coaches should have a place on any selection committee to choose a college football playoff field.
During an interview Monday with The Oklahoman, Switzer was asked if he would consider serving on a selection committee if called upon.
“It'd be an honor and a privilege,” Switzer said. “I would think they'd need some coaches. You're going to have administrators, athletic directors. But I'd think you'd need the voices of some coaches in there.”
Conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick agreed on a plan for a four-team college football playoff last week in Chicago, and university presidents are set to discuss and possibly approve the plan Tuesday in Washington.
One of the key decisions to be made is how the four playoff teams will be selected. A selection committee seems inevitable, and Switzer said any group of decision-makers should be comprised of experts.
Former coaches Bobby Bowden (Florida State), R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M), John Cooper (Ohio State) LaVell Edwards (BYU) and Vince Dooley (Georgia) have all expressed interest in serving on a selection committee.
“Let's take the ‘experts' in the medical profession,” Switzer said. “Who were they? They were people that have medical degrees and practiced for years. They were renowned in what they did. People listened to their opinion because they knew what they were talking about.
“Did these people on the committee even play the game? Did they ever coach the game?”
He added that the longer a person has been out of coaching, the better it would be.
“I think coaches that have been gone for a long time probably would be better,” Switzer said. “I've been gone 23 years, and I don't even know most of the head coaches that are coaching today for major college teams. I'm not biased. I don't have any bias in that.
“There'd be a lot of work involved, but it's what we've done all our lives — evaluating football. It's what coaches have done. They spend 16 hours a day for 40 years looking at teams, evaluating the best.
“When you've coached the best, at all positions, you've got a measuring stick. ... Those things are valuable when you're picking the best teams. Sometimes record does not always determine the best team.”
He points to the LSU-Alabama situation last year. Switzer said he thought Alabama was the better team even though it lost to LSU in the regular season.
“I know that just because you lost that one game doesn't mean you're not better than that team,” Switzer said. “Alabama was better than LSU and they proved it. ... Another example of that is 1978; we were the best team in the country and should have been national champions. But we lost that day at Lincoln.”
Switzer's 1978 team was ranked No. 1 when it went to Nebraska and lost, 17-14 with six lost fumbles.
“Six possessions we gave to Nebraska, and we only lost 17-14,” Switzer said. “If they'd done that for us, we'd have hung half-a-hundred on them.”
OU got a shot at redemption that year, beating the Huskers 31-24 in the Orange Bowl just weeks after the loss in Lincoln.
Switzer said the selection committee's job — narrowing the field down to four — will be tremendously difficult, which is what makes football expertise all the more important.
“When you're picking 64 basketball teams, no one really cares about the 65th or 66th,” Switzer said, “but they're damn sure going to care about the fifth and sixth pick in football. There's a difference, a helluva difference.”
Switzer, 74, was Oklahoma's head coach from 1973 to 1988, compiling a record of 157-29-4 and winning three national championships. His winning percentage stands among the greatest in college football history.