John Klein: 'Common sense' likely for college playoff formula
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Friday, July 20, 2012
7/20/12 at 5:53 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: 'Common sense' likely for college playoff formula
A complicated formula to select the nation's top two college football teams may be replaced by "common sense."
If that sounds a little too simple, too easy, then you'll understand why a new "common sense" approach may be the new formula in selecting the nation's top four teams for a college football playoff.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock said recently on "Oklahoma Forum," an OETA weekly news show, that debate on how to select teams for the four-team playoff was one of the most hotly debated issues of the new plan.
In the end, Hancock said, it was decided that something a guy from Hobart, like him, can totally understand.
"Common sense," Hancock said in a phone interview with the Tulsa World this week. "I know that sounds pretty simple. But, that is why it is such a good thing.
"We're not talking about complicating things. We're talking about things like who did you beat? Where did you beat them? How did you do head-to-head? Who was injured or not injured when you played and who is healthy now? All of these issues that make common sense when trying to determine who are the best four teams are what we're going to consider."
Hancock has been in all of the debates as the BCS commissioners and later the BCS presidential oversight committee chose a four-team playoff to be picked by a selection committee to replace the current BCS system - a game pitting No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the BCS formula rankings.
The rankings will apparently be a thing of the past when the four-team playoff begins in 2014.
Once the most important issue was decided - the number of teams to include in a playoff - the debate shifted to how to select those teams.
If you think there is pressure on the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee to pick 68 teams, think about the pressure on a committee to select just four.
In addition, the interest in college football swamps college basketball.
If you think the outrage over leaving out a team battling to be No. 68, think about the fight over No. 4.
But the new football playoff committee is going to be modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee.
Hancock, who ran the NCAA Tournament before he became the head of the BCS, said the BCS commissioners are modeling the football committee after the basketball committee "because it has been doing a good job."
No question the basketball committee does create some controversy every year when the field is set for March Madness.
The football committee will face a similar scrutiny, probably worse.
The basketball committee has evolved over the years. It uses a wide variety of tools to make the selections.
Much is made of the "nitty gritty," a lengthy list of facts and figures about every team under consideration for the NCAA Tournament.
The football committee is likely to be similar.
Hancock said he expects the football committee to have a long list of information available to make the best possible decisions.
Polls, both the media and coaches, more than likely will be considered. Computer rankings, such as Oklahoman Richard Billingsley's, also likely will be available.
In addition, there are the simple things, "the common sense things" that Hancock believes will be very important.
Those will include some very basic facts such as record, strength of schedule, home-and-away records and factors such as injuries.
"The human element" also will be used in making the four-team decision. For instance, the fact that Oklahoma State's one loss a year ago was on the day the Cowboys found out about a tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of four people with the women's basketball team would be considered.
That doesn't mean it will be the determining factor. It just means that factors that don't get put into a computer will be a part of the committee's consideration.
"I think we need to be very clear that this is a work in progress," said Hancock. "This is a work in progress, and we're at the very start of it.
"There is a lot of work to be done between now and 2014. There are a lot of factors that are still open for debate in how we select teams."
In fact, how the committee will be selected remains undecided.
Hancock said he believes the selection committee will eventually have "somewhere between 13 to 16 members with every conference represented and perhaps room for two or three at-large members."
But, the exact makeup and number on the committee remains totally open for debate.
"We've got a lot of work to do before 2014," Hancock said.