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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.