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College Football Playoff: The background and biases of the men and woman who will decide

MEET THE COMMITTEE — A look at the 13 members of the College Football Playoff committee, their backgrounds and their qualifications.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 27, 2014

photo - The new College Football Playoff committee. ILLUSTRATION BY ROB BACKUS, The Oklahoman
The new College Football Playoff committee. ILLUSTRATION BY ROB BACKUS, The Oklahoman

* Qualifications: Worked in football and athletics all over the country.

* Regional bias: If Long isn’t beholding to the SEC, he better get that way quick. In case you haven’t noticed, provincialism is a requirement to work in the South.


* Age: 54

* Current job: West Virginia athletic director

* Hometown: Cleveland

* Alma mater: West Virginia, Texas

* Former jobs: CEO of Houston Sports Authority, which oversees that city's major-league venues; commissioner of NFL Europe; general manager of World League of American football teams; practicing attorney in Germany.

* Qualifications: A premier athlete, now an administrator and a really smart guy. Hard to ask for more.

* Regional bias: A Big 12 man, you would think, but his son quarterbacked Stanford, so Luck is more diversified than most.


* Age: 65

* Current job: Motivational speaker and public relations and consulting for a variety of companies in New Orleans and nationally.

* Hometown: Drew, Miss.

* Alma mater: Ole Miss

* Former jobs: NFL quarterback with the Saints, Oilers and Vikings.

* Qualifications: A football icon for going on 50 years and a man of unquestioned character.

* Regional bias: The embodiment of the ideal Southern gentleman. No Yankee blood here.


* Age: 77

* Current job: Retired

* Hometown: Hastings, Neb.

* Alma mater: Hastings College, Nebraska

* Former jobs: Nebraska athletic director, U.S. congressman, Nebraska assistant and head coach, NFL receiver with the Redskins and 49ers.

* Qualifications: As great a coach as God ever made, plus a U.S. Congressman, for what that’s worth.

* Regional bias: Nobody’s ever been more Nebraskan, but the real bias is, Dr. Tom is not too partial to the University of Texas.


* Age: 56

* Current job: Clemson athletic director

* Hometown: Monaca, Pa.

* Alma mater: Indiana (Pa.), Miami (Fla.)

* Former jobs: Georgia Tech AD, LSU associate AD, American University AD, South Carolina associate AD, Long Beach State associate AD, Miami administration.

* Qualifications: Administrator at many schools, large and small.

* Regional bias: An ACC man, of course, but a man who worked at South Carolina and eventually was hired by Clemson must have some scruples.


* Age: 59

* Current job: Stanford professor of political science

* Hometown: Denver

* Alma mater: University of Denver, Notre Dame

* Former jobs: U.S. Secretary of State, Stanford provost, Soviet expert on the U.S. National Security Council, Stanford professor.

* Qualifications: Deciding between UCLA and Ohio State would seem to be no big deal after you’ve helped bring down the Iron Curtain.


* Age: 69

* Current job: Retired

* Hometown: Springfield, Mass.

* Alma mater: St. Michael's College

* Former jobs: Big East commissioner, Big East administration, Providence administration, American International College administration.

* Qualifications: For more than 30 years, on the inside of major decisions on the athletic landscape.

* Regional bias: Absolutely an Eastern man, but since this is football, who cares?


* Age: 59

* Current job: Writer, editor, Kansas City public library

* Hometown: Martinsburg, Mo.

* Alma mater: Missouri

* Former jobs: USA Today sportswriter, Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader sportswriter, Mexico (Mo.) Ledger sportswriter.

* Qualifications: A national college football writer for USA Today, which means he’s been thinking about these kinds of decisions far longer than anyone else on the committee.

* Regional bias: A Missourian and a Big 12 insider, which in this day and age spreads the loyalties.


* Age: 59

* Current job: Retired

* Hometown: Jacksonville, N.C.

* Alma mater: Michigan State

* Former jobs: Washington U. head coach, Notre Dame head coach, Stanford head coach, Minnesota Vikings assistant, Stanford assistant, Rice assistant, North Carolina State assistant, Michigan State assistant, Central Michigan assistant.

* Qualifications: Coached under a huge microscope — Notre Dame’s first black coach. Should be able to handle the pressure of the committee.

* Regional bias: Grew up on Tobacco Road, worked in the Midwest and the Pacific. Hard to see too much allegiance.

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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