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Get to know the College Football Playoff Committee

Many names you recognize are gone.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As we stand on the precipice of the fourth College Football Playoff rankings, there is much debate on how it will all unfold. By my observations, the committee has done pretty well their first three delves into the abyss. But this is a different committee with new yet unfamiliar faces.

Gone are such familiar names as Tom Osborne, Pat Haden, Oliver Luck, Barry Alvarez, Archie Manning, Lloyd Carr, and Condoleezza Rice. In their places are guys like Kirby Hocutt, Jeff Kryzowiak, Steve Wieberg, and Herb Deromedi (I made one of those names up. Can you guess which one?). There are a few names on the current committee that should sound familiar but most will make you go “who?” There is an alarming lack of representatives with SEC ties.

Below are the men who will be choosing the New Year’s Eve Six.

2017 College Football Playoff Selection Committee Members:

KIRBY HOCUTT is the current Texas Tech athletic director and also serves as the committee chair. The 46 year old played linebacker at K-State in the early 90s. From 1999 to 2005, Hocutt was associate athletics director at Oklahoma. He served as AD at Ohio and Miami (FL) before landing in Lubbock in 2011. He replaced West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck on the Committee in 2015.
SEC Roots: Zip.

FRANK BEAMER (age 71) is the legendary former head coach at Virginia Tech. He led the Hokies to a bowl game in 23 consecutive seasons until his retirement after the 2015 season.
SEC Roots: Mostly ACC related, he was born in Mount Airy, NC and played at VaTech. He coaches Murray State (Ky) and Citadel (SC) but has no SEC roots.

JEFF BOWER (age 64) should be somewhat familiar to Bama fans as the former head coach at Southern Mississippi. He was QB at USM and coached them from 1990–2007.
SEC Roots: Originally from Roswell, GA outside Atlanta, Bower started his playing career at the University of Georgia before transferring to Southern Miss. Beyond that, nothing.

HERB DEROMEDI was the long-time head coach (1978–1993) and AD (1994–2006) at Central Michigan. At age 78, he is the oldest of the bunch. In 16 seasons, Deromedi was 110–55–10 at CMU with three MAC titles. Although he only went to one bowl game (and lost), only his last two seasons (both 5-6) were below .500. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
SEC Roots: This life-long Michigan citizen got his first and only assistantship under then CMU head coach Roy Kramer from 1967–1977. Kramer left CMU to become AD at Vanderbilt and later SEC Commissioner (1990–2002) where he famously created the SEC Championship Game. But I wouldn’t call that a “root”.

CHRIS HOWARD, is president of Robert Morris University. He was starting running back and First Team Academic All-American at the Air Force Academy. He was a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University from 1991 to 1994, earning a Master of Philosophy and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Politics. In 2003, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School. So, this guy is wicked smaht. Howard was awarded the Bronze Star for duty in Afghanistan. After some time in the private sector, he served as Vice President of the University of Oklahoma and became President of Hampden-Sydney at age 40. Howard is currently a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve. He is in his first year on the Committee.
SEC Roots: None that I can tell but he sounds like a stud.

TOM JERNSTEDT, former NCAA executive vice president from 1972 until 2010 who dealt mainly with basketball. He played quarterback at Oregon back in the 1960s (I am guessing he is around 72).
SEC Roots: Goose egg.

BOBBY JOHNSON Born in Columbia, South Carolina, he played at Clemson before becoming a long-time Furman assistant (1976-92) and served as the Paladins head coach from 1994 to 2001. He got the head coaching job at Vanderbilt in 2002 and lasted until 2009 accumulating one winning season (7-6), one bowl appearance, and a 29–66 record.
SEC Roots: Eight seasons of getting stomped by SEC teams.

JEFF LONG The Arkansas vice chancellor and athletic director is the former chair of this committee and has served on all four committees. He is from Ohio and played quarterback at Ohio Wesleyan 1978-81. He had a few coaching jobs before moving into administration.
SEC Roots: Being Arky AD since 2008.

ROB MULLENS This 47-year-old earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from West Virginia. He held a position as deputy director of athletics at Kentucky for eight years before landing the Oregon athletic director job in 2010.
SEC Roots: Eight years at UK.

DAN RADAKOVICH, Born, raised and schooled in Pennsylvania, he is currently athletic director at Clemson. He was AD at Georgia Tech for seven years prior to taking the Clemson job in 2012. Radakovich (age 59) was senior associate AD at LSU during four of Nick Saban’s five seasons in Baton Rouge, though he came on board after Saban was hired.
SEC Roots: South Carolina associate AD 1994–2000, LSU senior associate AD 2001–2006.

GENE SMITH, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was a member of Notre Dame football teams in the 1970s. He was AD at Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, and Arizona State before taking over Ohio State in 2005. He was wrapped up in that whole Jim Tressel Tattoogate and the attempted coverup but somehow kept his job.
SEC Roots: NIL.

STEVE WIEBERG graduated from Missouri with a degree in journalism in 1980 and was a college football and basketball reporter at USA Today for 30 years.
SEC Roots: Nada.

TYRONE WILLINGHAM (age 63) played at Michigan State in the 70s. He had many assistant jobs before being named head coach of Stanford in 1995 where he had four winning campaigns in seven seasons. Despite this mediocrity, Notre Dame took a flyer on him and he flamed out after three seasons. Willingham coached Washington for four humiliating years ending in a 0-12 season in 2008. I have never seen someone fall upstairs more than this guy - except maybe Lane Kiffin.
Southern Roots: Absolutely none.

The following are the point persons for each conference for the 2017 season:

  • American – Chris Howard and Tyrone Willingham
  • Atlantic Coast – Tyrone Willingham and Steve Wieberg
  • Big Ten – Rob Mullens and Tom Jernstedt
  • Big 12 – Dan Radakovich and Frank Beamer
  • Conference USA – Herb Deromedi and Chris Howard
  • Mid-American – Jeff Bower and Frank Beamer
  • Mountain West – Steve Wieberg and Rob Mullens
  • Pac-12 – Jeff Long and Jeff Bower
  • Southeastern – Bobby Johnson and Herb Deromedi
  • Sun Belt – Tom Jernstedt and Gene Smith
  • Independents – Gene Smith and Bobby Johnson

For a full explanation of the protocols in place for the committee, click here.


So, what do you think?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Who are these guys? Do they have agendas? I want a refund.
    (127 votes)
  • 33%
    Let’s wait and see.
    (104 votes)
  • 23%
    I have faith they’ll get it right.
    (72 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (See my witty remarks in comments).
    (5 votes)
308 votes total Vote Now