Next year, many college football fans will get what they've long clamored for: the college football playoff.
Four teams enter, one team exits as champion. Of course, though, the status quo will likely remain the same. The debate between which two teams go to the national title game is only expanded to the minimum four. Fans that like the annual BCS debate will largely see the same type of arguments even in the football playoff system.
But now the people to blame when your team misses out are very clear.
The official members of the college football playoff selection committee were announced Wednesday, and the Big Ten is well represented. Former longtime Wisconsin head coach and current Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez and former Nebraska head coach and athletics director Tom Osborne were both named to the committee.
“I’ve been committed to college football all my life,” Alvarez told UWBadgers.com's Mike Lucas, “and I feel like I have an obligation to give back.”
Joining Alvarez and Osborne will be 11 other decision-makers who — though many were already — become among the most powerful people in college football, as they'll be determining which teams have a chance at playing for the national championship.
Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long will serve as the chairman of the committee next season. Among the other names are USC athletics director Pat Haden, West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck, former Mississippi quarterback Archie Manning, former Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
As Alvarez told UWBadgers.com, he knows the decisions will be tough.
“I’ve been a decision-maker,” he said. “You make tough decisions every day as a head football coach; you make tough decisions every day in this job as an athletic director. There are going to be some tough decisions made on this selection committee.
“I’m not going into this blind. You’ve got to have thick enough skin where you can handle the criticism because that’s coming right along with it. There are going to be cases where you’re going to have to make a decision between a one-loss team and a no-loss team. Who’s the better team?
“When you put all the criteria together, somebody has got to look at the film and say, ‘Wow, this team is off the charts’ or ‘This team is much better than that team.’ I think I bring that to the table. I bring a knowledge of the game and an understanding of watching a team and being able to evaluate it.”
The announcement included the news that the committee will meet several times throughout the 2014 regular season and prepare "interim rankings" leading up to its selection of the four teams. Plus, term limits will be placed on committee members, though those have yet to be officially established.