Published April 25, 2013
PASADENA, Calif. – Now that the guys putting together the College Football Playoff have determined where the games will be played, there's only one major item left on the agenda — and it just might be the most important piece.
Who is going to pick the teams that play for the national championship and how will they go about it?
"It's huge," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday. "Major change going from the BCS standing to a selection committee."
Scott and the other BCS conference commissioners ended Day 2 of their meetings at the home of the Rose Bowl by announcing that Cowboys Stadium will host the first championship game in the new postseason system, and that the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A bowls will be part of the six-game semifinal rotation.
Arlington, Texas, edged Tampa, Fla., in the bidding to be the site of the first championship game in the playoff system that will replace the Bowl Championship Series.
"We couldn't be more excited about bringing college football's biggest game to Cowboys Stadium," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "Rest assured, we all pledge to do everything we can to make sure this game exceeds everyone's highest expectations."
The Rose, Orange (Miami) and Sugar (New Orleans) bowls were already part of the semifinal rotation.
The Rose and Sugar will host the first semifinals Jan. 1, 2015. The next season, the Cotton (Arlington) and Orange bowls will host the semifinals on New Year's Eve. The semis will be played at the Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.) and Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) after the 2016 season.
In the years the bowls do not host a national semifinal they will stage a major, BCS-type game played on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. That means two days of huge college football triple-headers.
What teams will play in those games will be up to the still to be determined selection committee.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the selection committee has been much discussed over the last two days and will be a topic again on Thursday before the commissioners head home. But nothing has been decided.
"We had a quality conversation (Wednesday), we'll have a quality conversation (Thursday)," Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said. "But we're a long way ... you have to think about composition, numbers, people, criteria, process. There's a lot to it."
The idea is for the committee to have 15 or 20 members, and for it to look something like the committee that selects the field for the NCAA basketball tournament. That selection committee is comprised of athletic directors and conference commissioners and picks 68 teams.
Because the scrutiny on this panel will be far greater, the commissioners are considering having both current and former administrators on the committee. Any appearance of bias will be difficult to overcome with the stakes so high.
"Transparency is something that's very important to us," Slive said.
The commissioners are also considering what metrics and guidelines the committee will be given to differentiate between the top teams, and whether the panel will produce rankings periodically throughout the season.
"To be decided," Scott said to most questions about the selection committee.
"We have time on our side," Slive said.
Hancock said he hoped a panel could be in place by this fall, so they'd be well prepared to go work when the 2014 season starts.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP