MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — The College Football Playoff overlords publicly unveiled their selection committee on Wednesday, and as has been surmised for several weeks, West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck made the roster.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long, new chairman of the college football playoff committee, spoke to the media from Dallas headquarters Wednesday.

This is the crew that bids bye-bye to the BCS but certainly not farewell to the bluster that bombards college football’s champion-makers each fall. There’s always a team left feeling snubbed, SEC haters jeering out of envy, and mid-majors convinced their underdog program warrants a shot. While a semifinal playoff system lends more legitimacy to the process, it won’t muffle the outcry from the never-satisfied crowd who wants an eight- or 16-team bracket.

Whereas the NCAA men’s basketball committee has 10 members tasked with choosing the best 68 teams, football’s panel requires 13 members to pick only the top four. (Why 13? “Because it was the right number,” said CFP chief Bill Hancock.) The committee’s makeup reveals a venn diagram of intriguing plot lines for conspiracy-minded fans to scrutinize: five power-conference ADs, four ex-coaches, 10 former players, six ex-quarterbacks, two lawyers, three people with Notre Dame ties and one longtime USA Today beat writer (presumably to take meeting notes).

And, somewhat infamously, a woman who once knew the whereabouts of the White House hide-a-key.

At 53, Luck is the youngest committee member, and owns the shortest tenure as an AD, though his professional life includes stints on sports commissions and NFL Europe. You might wonder, when debating the merits of national semifinal participants, how persuasive Luck will be amid a room that includes the imperious Barry Alvarez, not to mention a woman who once drove U.S. foreign policy, Condoleezza Rice. But that’s OK, because functional committees require a mix of symbiotic personalities. Not everybody can have a domineering personality or waterboarding experience.

Along its path of setting up No. 1-vs.-4 and No. 2-vs.-3 matchups, the committee plans to debut its poll around Week 6 and update its “standings” every two weeks thereafter. This is an obvious nod to the current unveiling of the BCS rankings—oh, how college football clings to the sentimental traditions that have been tweaked repeatedly over the past 15 years.

If we’re to believe Wednesday’s comments, members won’t just be eyeballing won-loss records and glancing at strength-of-schedule metrics—they’ll also be watching more game cut-ups than your alma mater’s defensive coordinator. They’ll be hashing out their thoughts, data and scouting reports during face-to-face meetings throughout the second half of next season, and they’ll be doing this “side job” pro bono (once again proving college athletics ain’t about the money).

From the more than 100 committee nominees, here’s a rundown of the humble servants who’ll shape the postseason in 2014:

Jeff Long: The Arkansas athletics director hired Bret Bielema away from the Wisconsin program overseen by fellow panelist Alvarez, who promptly said no one in Madison was sad to see Bielema go. That might make for awkward meetings, but then, Long dealt with the hijinks of Bobby Petrino during his road-rash, philandering phase, so the man has a tolerance for awkward.

Barry Alvarez: Because of unavoidable criticism, many dignitaries thought serving on this committee would be like pairing a migraine with an aneurysm. But with an autobiography titled “Don’t Flinch,” Alvarez wasn’t the type to run scared.

Tom Osborne: He will make sound, unilateral and unchallenged decisions on the final four by silently nodding toward teams on the dry-erase board.

Archie Manning: Second-most beloved quarterback in Ole Miss history would have had better stats if forward passes were legal when he played.

Oliver Luck: “I would prefer not to comment on that,” Luck replied Wednesday when asked whether he had been approached about the Texas AD post. Whether it’s the playoff implications of WVU or Texas or any Big 12 team being discussed next season, Luck must recuse himself. (This has been a weak point in the past.)

Pat Haden: Jerked Lane Kiffin off a bus to fire him. That’s all the résumé I need to see,

Condoleezza Rice: Asked about college football’s need for a playoff, she recalled the infamous Notre Dame-Michigan State tie of 1966. Asked about Iraq acquiring WMDs around 2001, she said “Oh, that was ages ago.”

Mike Tranghese: After decades of trying to get Catholic universities and state schools to play nice in the Big East, he’ll gleefully volunteer to answer angry phone calls from fans of left-behind team No. 5.

Tyrone Willingham: Smart guy, but a three-year panel appointment matches his entire failed tenure at Notre Dame. At least if his playoff ballot is right 23 percent of the time, that will be an improvement over his winning percentage at Washington.

Tom Jernstedt: He’s a former NCAA executive vice president, which means Jay Bilas likely blames him for the exploitation of student-athletes, potato chip bags being half-full and rogue ocean waves.

Dan Radakovich: Clemson’s AD has been a whiz at fundraising and facility upgrades, but his inability to follow NCAA investigatory protocol left Georgia Tech’s football program facing weightier sanctions.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Gould: He has more than 3,000 hours flying supersonic planes, though at age 60 he prefers to drive in the left lane with his blinker flashing.

Steve Wieberg: A top-level USA Today sportswriter for more than three decades who’s now working in public affairs at the Kansas City Public Library. (From newspapers to book rentals, this guy is taking an occupational sojourn through dying industries.)

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Rick

    The position is for 3 years so when he goes home to Texas next year, he can take that position and Holgersen with him.

  • steve

    A simple congratulations to Oliver Luck for being selected to this committee is all that was really needed. Guess I will have to go somewhere else to get better insight into the committee members.

  • AlternFan

    He was put on the committee based on his next move. Texas helped with the selection of ollie because he does not qualify to be on the committee, along with rice and a few other. Its all politics once again in college football.

    • GoEers

      Do you have any facts to back up your comments?

  • tony

    condy rice? what, are you joking? look at the others and then her? she has absolutely nothing other than being a fan and a politician. good thing they didn't extend the spot to someone like Elizabeth Hassleback , Kim Kardashian Bob Newhart or Whoopi. this is where it goes completely off the rails. ridiculous political crap. they cant ever seem to rid themselves of it, can they?

    • Magic Mike

      Isn't she a president of some college with a football team?

    • William

      Look at the way NCAA football is set up by AD's and coach's now! Play cup cake non- conf. games just so you can get 6 wins and say your a good team and go to a bowl.
      Maybe she will make thing for the fans and not all about the MONEY!
      Look what LUCK did for WVU football -
      It' now at a all time low.

    • Alum

      Irony is she has probably forgotten more about football than you will ever know. Do you homework before criticizing, the lady know the game very well.

  • Mike

    Another negitive comment by William. No surprise there. I would hate to see how this guy lives his life. With all of his comments he sounds like one of the guys from Grumpy Old Men.

    Nice column Allan. Some times we all need a laugh

    • Big Larry

      William for President!

  • Matt

    Lol funny stuff Allan

  • ffejbboc

    This is just condescending and snarky. I guess MetroNews doesn't distinguish between columns/opinion pieces and real news articles these days.

    • NickSaban

      I agree. Pot shots at Condaleaza Rice. Pot shots at older people. Pot shots at US servicemen. Whoever wrote this should be ashamed of themselves. They must moonlight as a writer for Conan O'Brien. Conan has never been funny and neither is this article.

      • Cigarman

        All the while using Nick Saban moniker

  • Me

    No comment means yes. Damn shame theres no loyalty in sports instead of being about the money. What ruining sports

    • AlternFan

      It's not about the money all the time. Some people can only handle so much of someone, something, or somethings. You can only be loyal for so long before you eventually get stabbed in the back. You always have to look out for #1

  • Alex

    I would hope that Luck would not leave WVU, he still has a lot of things to accomplish in the mountain state, I would like for him to stay and complete his mission before he left... but sometimes people get certain feelings about things happening around them and well they say the time has come to move on.. When Luck made the statement about the Texas AD job he said he didn't want to comment on that, that was a sign to me that he wanted to consider the Texas job, but if he leaves WVU will survive... Who knows their maybe I position for somebody like Jeff Hostetler time will tell..

  • CaptainQ

    I wonder if this is part of Luck's master plan to get the Mountaineers into the BCS Championship game. If Luck could somehow bribe the others on the committee, WVU might finally have a chance to play for the National Title!

    Hey, isn't that the way election day "doller and a swaller" politics works in West Virginia? Why not give it a try?

    • Big Larry

      Luck wouldn't do Jack Squatt for WVU. He will screw us if he gets the chance...just like he sent his kid to Stanford to play football.

      • GoEers

        yeah...the only thing he ever did for WVU was make them an extra 30-35 million by getting them into the Big 12 and selling off their thrid tier rights to the highest bidder

        You're stupidity is starting to become act like the little brother Marshall fan that you really are

        • Big Larry

          Oh Please...

    • Cigarman

      Mounties would still have to win more than 6 games so not likely.

  • Michael

    Very funny! Well done.

  • Bobby M

    HAHA! ha! I loved THIS artcle! It reminded me of Saturday Night LIVE!

  • William

    Luck soon to take a seat with the Texas Longhorns.
    Get him out of Morgantown ASAP

    • Big Larry

      If any of you know how to pray and get a prayer through...please start praying that Luck will accept AD position and take Holgorsen & Huggins with him...

      Then we can all sing...."Oh Happy Day...Oh Happy Day"...They've finally taken...all the losers away...Oh Happy Day!"

    • Chet Ubetcha

      I have two problems with your statement: 1. Luck said the same thing when it was a lock he was going to be the Stanford AD, so there is no clear evidence that he is leaving. 2. If he does leave why would having the AD at the most powerful school in the country as an ally be a bad thing? We need to hang on to Luck as long as we can, otherwise somebody will try to being back RR

      • Magic Mike

        Wouldn't that school be Alabama?

      • wvrefugee

        Typically people use the word "bring" instead of "being" in your context. And yes, bring Rich Rod back to replace the "experiment!"

        • Chet Ubetcha

          Fair enough, but I have fat fingers and a small screened phone. @Larry: Texas is without question the biggest name in college athletics, if you doubt it check their bottom line. They have the athletic budget to make academics weep. Relevance is their issue, and precisely why they would be looking for a new AD

        • BILLIAM

          My sources say its Saban. Jimbo will be the DC. Bobby Bowden is coming out of retirement to handle special teams and QB and his boys will be co-OC. Frank Cignetti is going to coach linebackers and his boys will take the D-line and DBs. Its yet to be determined who will handle which with that. It only makes sense to bring in another West Virginian John McKay as AD at that point.

      • Larry

        Is Texas really the most powerful school? Right now they seem to be an afterthought.

  • Alum

    If this is an attempt at some comedic relief, it doesn't work.

    • Larry

      Maybe you just don't get it.

      • Alum

        Oh, maybe I do and don't think it's funny.

        • Larry

          I suppose that's possible.

  • Joe

    Very, very funny comment about Jay Bilas! Lol!

    Good column, Allan.