Source: USA TODAY
COLORADO SPRINGS Colo. – On his way into the board room Tuesday, Bob Bowlsby had a warning for two reporters stationed in the lobby.
“This might be a long afternoon,” the Big 12 commissioner said.
It was. And when it comes to choosing a selection committee for the four-team College Football Playoff, there are more long afternoons ahead. That much was apparent when Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners and Notre Dame Jack Swarbrick emerged more than three hours later. They’d spent virtually the entire session – again – focusing the makeup of the selection committee. This time, they batted around names of more than 100 potential candidates.
“We’re gonna be very deliberate about it and thorough,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the Bowl Championship Series. “And we really got a good start on it today.”
At that point, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive interjected: “We’ve heard that before.”
But whether from Hancock or the Big Ten’s Jim Delany or Slive, the message Tuesday remained the same. When it comes to the last and most important pieces of the four-team playoff, which begins with the 2014 season, there’s no apparent urgency. The commissioners are determined to take their time.
“I think we’re all comfortable with the time frame,” Slive said. “I think we made enough progress today to keep us on course.”
The next task is to whittle the nominations, which were submitted by conferences last month, to a final number of 12-18 committee members. No one’s saying who’s under consideration, though Hancock said, “Everybody you can think of who could be on this committee has been nominated. It’s a very good list.”
“What we’ve said from the beginning is, we’re gonna get great football people,” Delany said. “I don’t think that’s changed much, if at all. A lot of experience (on the list), a lot of credibility. If we can get that, we think we can fill it out. if we don’t get that, then I think it’s uphill.
“Fortunately, there are a lot of great people out there.”
Asked who would gauge candidates’ interest – and at least as important, who would vet them – Slive and Delany literally pointed to Hancock, standing nearby. “We give him the names, he’ll do the contacting,” Delany said. Hancock said he expects to begin calling prospective candidates “over the summer.”
The commissioners left Tuesday without determining when they’ll meet again. They had been expected to convene in September in Chicago, piggybacking on a meeting of the Collegiate Commissioners Association, but when that group (which is also meeting this week in Colorado Springs) canceled its September meeting, the BCS commissioners canceled, too. Hancock said there would likely be conference calls.
Other notes from Tuesday’s meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel:
– Although the commissioners have essentially decided on criteria for committee members, and for the criteria the committee will follow in selecting teams, they don’t plan any kind of mock selection process during or even after the 2013 season.
“We have a BCS champion to decide (in 2013),” Hancock said. “Any kind of parallel universe runs the risk of detracting from that champion and none of us want to do that.”
Given their timetable, there wouldn’t be a committee in place for a dry run, anyway.
– Slive was asked about recent calls from college powerbrokers such as Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson – one of the commissioners involved in designing the playoff – to expand to eight teams. Dodds called the four-team playoff a “baby step.” But Slive said he doesn’t see it happening.
“There may be people who feel like the four-team playoff is the beginning of something,” Slive said. “For those of us who put the playoff together, it was what it is. It’s not designed to be something different.”
George Schroeder, a national college football reporter for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter@GeorgeSchroeder.