There’s been some grumbling, and outright criticism, of the choice of Condoleezza Rice as one of the 13 members of the College Football Playoff Committee. Starting next year, the committee will pick the top four teams to play for the national championship.

Some question how Rice, who has never played or coached football, can make informed decisions about the best football teams. Others wonder whether Rice’s appointment rings of political correctness.

A few of the critics are more direct.

ESPN college football analyst David Pollack said, “I want people on this committee that can watch tape, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you the different teams on tape, not on paper.”

Former Auburn Coach Pat Dye was even more blunt during an interview with radio station WJOX-FM in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice’s hometown.   “All she knows about football is what somebody told her, or what she read in a book or what she saw on television,” Dye said.  “To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”

That’s an interesting turn of phrase by Dye, who landed Auburn on NCAA probation for six major violations, including paying players and lack of institutional control.   But I digress.

One might be able to make an argument against Rice if the good ol’ boy network that has run college football had a stellar record; it does not.  Consider the following:

–The primary reason a special committee is being put in place is that even after 130 years, the sport still has not figured out a credible way to decide a national champion.

–Most college football teams lose money on what should be their most valuable product, a post season appearance in a bowl game.

–Helter-skelter conference shuffling and reshuffling has destroyed regional rivalries and created horrendous travel schedules, especially for non-revenue sports.

–Penn State, once one of the most respected college football programs in the country, was revealed as a dysfunctional oligarchy that protected a pedophile.

–A Sports Illustrated investigation produced an unflattering report on Oklahoma State football, including cash payments to players, academic cheating, drug problems and sexual favors for recruits.

–The New York Times described college football as a professional sport that happens to be in an academic setting.

This is what the “hands in the dirt” crowd has presided over.

Frankly, college football could use more people like Condoleezza Rice.  She has myriad life and professional experiences, including tenures as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. She understands critical thinking and decision making.

This new panel’s job is not to run the Oklahoma drill, but rather to use the best available information to reach consensus, which Rice is imminently qualified to do.



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  • Hop'sHip


    Did you ask Coach Nehlen what he thought of the Rice selection?

  • Hillboy

    “To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.” Pat Dye

    That sounds like he is saying that not only do you have to have played football to be on the committee, you have to have played as a down lineman. That's like saying, "we don't want no guldurn smart people on this committee."

  • WVU 74

    Ms Rice has attained membership in Augusta National Golf Club, by invitation. Augusta was the epitome of the "Old Boy Network" at its finest. Pat Dye was probably never a consideration.

  • Shadow

    Condi will be a bright star in a group of folks who's only knowledge runs in the football circuit which when you see their prognosis doesn't give you a lot of confidence in their ability.

  • takemetoemstar

    hop - good writing here. i totally agree. it brings to mind the 'ole adage here... one does not have to have Cancer to be compassionate or comprehend what is going on.
    Ms. Rice has a fantastic background and a lifetime of experience. hell, she served the U.S. in one of the most troubled times since WWII. the perspective and oversight she will bring will be great. agian, i think {we} shuffle CEO's in and out of private businesses all the time because they have "experience." i am sure more than one, over the years, headed up an existing business that did not have the specific knowldge of the specific product they were now "in charge of."

  • WVU86

    Condi Rice admits to being a life-long Cleveland Browns fan. Are we sure she knows football?

    • Alum

      You have to love the game and your team to stick with that group long term. :)

      • vashti


  • Hop'sHip

    She'll be there to prevent any smoking guns from becoming a mushroom cloud.

    • Wirerowe

      Hops how do the affordable health care exchanges differ from traditional insurances. Somebody still has to underwrite risks. Who does that.

      • Hop'sHip

        I think they bundle the policies into collateralized debt obligations and then sell them on Wall Street. I can put you in touch with a broker if you're interested. If you act now, he'll throw in a year's supply of Glenn Beck survival seeds.

        • Wirerowe

          No just trying to understand. Thanks. That helps.

          • Hop'sHip

            Sorry Wire. Didn't expect anyone to be posing a serious question on a Friday. I thought that insurance companies participating in the exchanges are the usual suspects. The purpose of the exchanges is to provide a one-step market place for comparitive shopping. Think Kayak. I would go out and check it out myself, but I think the website is down till the end of the year. Hope you weren't planning on buying someone a policy for Christmas.

  • Wirerowe

    I think it is a great addition. For the same reasons of diversity and independence I think that the WVSSAC board should have citizens members that have not been part of the system. This stuff is not rocket science and outside eyes and minds would bring value

  • thornton

    Condi, pro or football con, is pretty much a waste of time to address. As far as knowledge needed or working experience or whatever, look no farter than our current president.....most anyone can be a seat filler at any big game.

    Good luck to's just football, by the way.

    • Bean

      Was that a typo?

  • zero tolerance

    The BCS and ESPN are what is wrong with college football. Pure commercialism and exploitation of the sport itself. Ollie's "It's All About The Money Boys" mentality is a nice commodity for the institution as well.

    The College Football bubble is very vulnerable as mentioned by TD as all you have to do is look at NA$CAR to see a shining example of what happens to a sport hell bent on revenue alone and is willing to change the rules for the benefit and sole purpose of increased revenue.

    There is nothing wrong with the progressive change of a sport as it evolves, but dramatic changes to time honored traditions such as the National Championship process will create less interest over time.

    As for Condi, she just may be a stabilizing factor in a system driven by pure greed vs the aforementioned traditions of the sport.

  • Brent

    Let's see. The objective is to analyze mountains of conflicting data points in attempt to satisfy multiple constituents with divergent views and I have to choose between the former Secretary of State and Pate Dye or David Pollock. Wonder what Warren Buffett might do with millions of dollars on the line.

    • Bigfish

      Let's see. Mountains of conflicting data. George Bush and Dick Cheney. Maybe Iraq attacked us on 9/11. condi couldn't 't figure this out and she is supposed to be an expert. I don't want her involved in something as important as football playoffs. Nope not ready for prime time,

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, I believe Condi Rice is a great addition to the College Football Playoff Committee. The 'new' BCS playoff system will be yet another huge revenue stream for the NCAA. This is why I believe they'll be a good chance that these playoffs will be expanded to eight teams a few years down the road. As you point out, Hoppy, a lot of the historic traditions of college football (like rival games) are vanishing quickly, so they'll be less fear about shaking up the college 'bowl' system. Bottom line is, there's already TOO many bowl games so a further expanded playoffs won't hurt too much.

    Of course, next year Condi's name will be slammed by those colleges who didn't make the four team playoffs. Chances are, she'll have the shoulder much of the blame if an undefeated non-BCS team is left out in favor of a two loss SEC powerhouse team. That's just the way it is in the sports press. However, I have faith that all members of this new committee will do their job effectively and without personal bias. I hope everyone will give the committee a chance before dissing it as being a sham.

  • Roy Riggleman

    Hopefully this ultimately leads to an analyst job on College Football Gameday

  • TD

    She'll probably do fine. I just see the college football bubble, and the NFL bubble for that matter, ready to bust. Talk about overkill, games on Wednesday through Monday. I've lost interest, but that's just me.

    I will be watching her closely to see if the teams from the red states are getting some kind of unfair advantage. If it comes down to Alabama or Syracuse, who would she give the nod to?

    • Hop'sHip

      I disagree TD. I couldn't find any football Tuesday evening so I ended up turning to Fox News and watching Hannity, and ever since then I feel like Obamacare is after me.

      • wvman75

        Now wipe your chin off, and go join TD for some msnbc watchin'.

    • Bean

      You are correct, TD. It is just you. I would love to see football televised like baseball or basketball. I know many who agree with me. You are entitled to an opinion like the rest of us. But remember, just because you think it, don't make it so.

    • Alum

      Always politicizing aren't you. Frankly this gets old and really exposes you as a bore.

      Now run along and get over yourself.

      • TD

        This page is political commentary, is that news to you? Plus it was said in jest. Geez!

  • Coalwiz

    I've been debating this point for days on message boards Hoppy. I agree with you.

    Everyone is free to have their opinion on whom should be on the playoff committee. I do find it astonishing that so many are questioning the inclusion of Condi Rice on the committee. She is brilliant, a world-class diplomat, adept at analyzing challenging situations and probably smarter than anyone else on the committee (and without a doubt smarter than anyone than posts on this board.....myself easily included.)

    I'm a huge fan of Oliver Luck, and I do believe he is an exceptionally intellectual individual who brings a breadth of knowledge and expertise from both the business side of college athletics and the pure football knowledge side as well. But most logical-thinking football experts would have an easier time making the case for the inclusion of Condi over Oliver rather than the opposite.

    There is an assumption by some that believe that since her resume doesn't start and stop with football that she isn't qualified. That line of reasoning is short-sighted. She has held loftier positions than coach and athletic director and that can't be used to punish her. In the real world you always choose the individual that commands respect from everyone in the room......and she accomplishes that easily.