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Andrew Logue: My nominee for new college football committee is…

[ 0 ] May 21, 2013 |

I hereby nominate Barry Alvarez to college football’s playoff selection committee.

Some of the details are still being worked out. The people in charge of putting together a four-team tournament following the 2014 season have yet to establish a clear criteria for the job.

In fact, there’s some debate about who would even want to apply.

As Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith explained last week, “Whoever it is, get that flak jacket ready.”


Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, right, is congratulated by Iowa coach Hayden Fry after Wisconsin upset 12th ranked Iowa 13-10 Saturday, Nov. 8, 1997, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin hadn’t beaten Iowa since 1976. Alvarez worked for Fry at Iowa as an assistant before coming to Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

That’s why Alvarez, the former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director, is an intriguing candidate.

His thick skin, wry wit and non-nonsense demeanor make him impervious to Twitter attacks.

Alvarez, who coached Mason City High School to a state football championship in 1978, before becoming an assistant at Iowa under Hayden Fry, would also bring a grass roots appeal.

“There are a lot of questions that have to be answered, before you start naming a committee,” Alvarez said. “Do you want former coaches? Do you want administrators? Do you want media, or former media?

“All those things have to be established before you say who’s going to be there.”

College football is entering a new era, and the scrutiny will be unprecedented.

“It’s going to take somebody who knows and loves the game of football,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said. “It’s going to take somebody who is OK with receiving a lot of external pressure, and yet is not willing to compromise whatever system is developed.”

Hand wringing is a part of March Madness, as basketball players and coaches wait to see if their school appears in a 64- or 68-team bracket.

Imagine the heartache of being the nation’s fifth-best football team.

“If you think about the intensity and the angst,” Barta said, “I’m a little concerned when you’re talking about only four spots?”

Mike Slive, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, told Alvarez what it was like serving on the selection committee for basketball.

“He figured the time he spent took a year of his life,” Alvarez said. “You’ve got to watch a lot of film and you’ve got to know what the hell you’re watching.

“Just watching film doesn’t do any good. I used to tell that to my players. You’ve got to know what you’re watching and what you’re looking at.”

Alvarez was among those who were leery of having a complicated, computer-based formula for determining the Bowl Championship Series.

“I had a problem with a computer, not knowing what went into the programming, what criteria they used,” he explained. “I can read the rankings and I can see who people voted for, and I understand that. But a computer ranking… Many times there was a lot of disparity between where some teams were ranked by the coaches or the media, as compared to where they were ranked by a computer.”

A human element is needed.

“I wouldn’t want to get up Sunday and see you didn’t get into the playoff – you lost by two-one hundredths of a point, because some computer didn’t have you rated high enough,” Alvarez said. “And you didn’t even know what the hell criteria they used.”

Alvarez said during last week’s Big Ten meetings he has not been approached by anyone about serving on the committee.

To some, though, he seems to be an obvious choice.

“He’d be the perfect fit,” Smith said. “I’m promoting Barry.”

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Category: Big Ten

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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