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College Football Playoff off to strong start with committee

COMMENTARY — Selecting the Football Four is a job not just for old coaches, but for critical thinkers like Condoleezza Rice.
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: October 15, 2013

I like brains, honor and experience. And this committee has it.

It's got football guys, too. Old coaches, like Tom Osborne and Barry Alvarez and Tyrone Willingham. Iconic players, like Pat Haden and Archie Manning and Oliver Luck. Sharp administrators like Jeff Long and Mike Tranghese and Michael Gould, who is nothing more than a retired general who once ran the Air Force Academy.

Bill Hancock, hired to run college football's new playoff format, promised us a solid committee and delivered in spades.

Even gave us geographic balance. Sitting athletic directors from each of the five major conferences. And while you can argue the presence of people like Osborne and Manning tip the scales to the Big Ten and the SEC, is anyone ready to step forward and declare that Archie and Dr. Tom aren't two of the most stand-up guys the sport has ever produced?

It's a great mix. If Alvarez or Willingham start talking too much shop, Rice and Wieberg can remind them, maybe Oregon is faster than Stanford, but Stanford beat the Ducks straight up.

This is the best way to select the field, if a field must be selected. The best way is to win your way into the tournament. Put in the conference champs and let's play ball.

But that's for later. For now, with a four-team bracket, five major conferences and assorted others knocking on the door, a smallish committee is the way to go. Go bigger, and you've got the absurdity of the Harris Poll. Go tradition, and you've got the mess of every poll and the bewilderment of the computers. The bigger the electorate, the more squishy the decision. Just look at presidential primaries.

The committee is the best plan, and we've been given a good committee. The Football Four is off to a great start.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
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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