Bob Stoops should not worry about bias on soon-to-be-formed football committee

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, wants Stoops to rest easy. Bias can be eradicated from the process.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: August 19, 2013
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photo - Head coach Bob Stoops addresses the media during media access day for the University of Oklahoma Sooner (OU) football team in the Adrian Peterson meeting room inside Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Head coach Bob Stoops addresses the media during media access day for the University of Oklahoma Sooner (OU) football team in the Adrian Peterson meeting room inside Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The last college football season with the BCS – that's right, BCS – arrives, and don't expect sorrowful farewells.

Most fans and critics and coaches are ready to tell the two-team playoff system to scram.

Bob Stoops isn't necessarily one of them. He's a little skeptical on the format for selecting the four-team tournament starting in 2014.

Stoops' problem: He says inherent bias will afflict the soon-to-be-formed football committee.

“Human nature, you can't get away from,” Stoops said.

But Oklahoma's own Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, wants Stoops to rest easy.

Bias can be eradicated from the process. Because Hancock has seen it done.

Hancock spent 13 years as director of the NCAA Tournament, during which he sat in on the March Madness bracketing. And Hancock says the football committee will achieve what the basketball committee achieved.

“I understand people who think there may be biases,” Hancock said. “But believe me, we did away with it in basketball.

“Here's what you do. You create a culture whereby members check their hats at the door.”

Stoops has his reasons for skepticism. Some are even valid.

Stoops distrusts people in general. Maybe it's a Youngstown thing. That can be both healthy and unhealthy, depending on the situation.

But Stoops also knows the stakes. The pressure on the football committee will dwarf the burden on the hoops committee. Someone cracked that the difference between the scrutiny of the football committee and the basketball committee will be the same as the difference between the basketball committee and the field hockey committee.

That's why Stoops over the years has favored the computer rankings of the BCS and strength-of-schedule factors, more than the human polls.

“Does everybody have bias or not?” Stoops asked. “Does everybody have to answer to somebody … the paycheck you're getting from whoever?

“I'm just wondering. There's bias everywhere. And I find it hard to get away from. Everybody answers to somebody.”

Hancock says there are practical remedies to natural bias:

* The size of the committee, which is expected to be between 12 and 18 members. “So one person's vote is not going to sway the vote,” Hancock said. I tend to think 15 is too many for a committee of any kind, but it does lessen the impact of any particular member.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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