Just as soon as you think you have a handle on the College Football Playoff Committee, they go and change up membership - and perhaps the criteria.
The panel has had a full turnover since the first year of members which included voters such as Tom Osborne, Tyrone Willingham, Barry Alvarez, and Condoleezza Rice. Also gone are the last two chairmen Kirby Hocutt and Jeff Long. There are many new faces on the committee with very little continuity. Will this year’s version maintain the success and integrity of past committees?
There are a few names in this year’s group that you may know. It’s more likely your dad or granddad know them better since it seems the NCAA trawled an Old Coaches Home for membership. There are almost no connections to Alabama and only an inkling of links to Alabama AD Greg Byrne.
- Bobby Johnson - Former Vanderbilt head coach; former Clemson player.
- Jeff Bower - Former Southern Miss head coach.
- Herb Deromedi - Former Central Michigan head coach.
- Gene Smith - Ohio State athletic director. WOOHOO!
The quoted sections below are copied from collegefootballplayoff.com. The asterisk (*) represents new members. The Comments are RBR editorial.
Rob Mullens, Chair
Director of Athletics, University of Oregon
Member of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Advisory Board.
Guided Oregon to its best finish ever in the Directors’ Cup, a national assessment of an athletic department’s overall achievements.
Comments: WVU graduate. As AD of Oregon, Mullens is recused from discussions regarding the Ducks. Yet, there is nothing stopping him from talking up Utah who Oregon will face in the PAC-12 Championship Game and probably beat. Mullens has a good reputation for being an upstanding guy, but influencing the committee towards his school must be tempting.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Greg Byrne and Mullens served together at Kentucky on AD Mitch Barnhart’s staff in the early 2000s.
Director of Athletics, University of Florida
Experience at six different FBS institutions.
Named Under Armour’s Athletics Director of the Year in 2016.
Comments: Here is the “SEC represenative”. He is recused from talking Florida but they are now out of the running.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Stricklin was also at UK with Byrne and Mullens, serving from 2003-2008. A Mississippi State graduate, he has worked at MSU, Auburn, Kentucky and now Florida.
Former Head Coach, Virginia Tech
Forty-nine years of college football experience as a coach and student-athlete.
Winningest active coach in FBS history at the time of his retirement.
Comments: You know this guy. The former Va Tech player and longtime Hokies coach is highly respected in the coaching community. Beamer is recused from Oklahoma because his son Shane is on the Sooners’ coaching staff.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Not much other than being on the losing end. He was 1-2 vs. Alabama. He lost to Nick Saban in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in 2009 and 2013, but won the 1998 Music City Bowl against ... ugh ... Mike DuBose.
Professor, Arizona State University
Former newspaper reporter/columnist for The Arizona Republic.
First female journalist to be named to the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
Comments: This selection last year seemed to come out of nowhere. The Arizona contingent of the RBR community vouched for her, so we will take them at their word(s).
Alabama/SEC Connections: As a columnist for The Arizona Republic from 1994-2017, it’s a good bet she knows Greg Byrne very well from his days as AD at Arizona.
R. C. Slocum*
Former Head Coach Texas A&M University
Over 30 years of college football experience as a coach and student-athlete.
Winningest head coach in Texas A&M history.
Comments: Slocum grew up in Louisiana and played for McNeese State in Lake Charles, LA. Alabama/SEC Connections: While it is true he was a longtime assistant and then head coach (1989-2002) of the Aggies, that was long before they joined the SEC.
Director of Athletics, University of Oklahoma
Served three terms as the chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors.
Named National Athletics Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal in 2009.
Comments: The former Maryland Terps walk-on got his graduate degree at OU. He has been Oklahoma’s AD since 1998. He is obviously recused from talks about the Sooners.
Alabama/SEC Connections: He was AD at Missouri 1993–1998, but again, long before the SEC swallowed them up. No connections to the south.
Director of Athletics Arkansas State University
Current chairman of the Sun Belt Conference Athletic Director’s Committee and was appointed as the Sun Belt’s representative on the inaugural CFP Athletics Directors Advisory Group.
Former football student-athlete at Arkansas State.
Comments: Mohajir was starting safety for ASU back in the early 1990s. He has worked at FAU, Missouri-KC, and Kansas before taking the Arkansas State AD job in 2012.
Alabama/SEC Connections: None, but there is a good chance he was on hand to witness the Crimson Tide decimate his Red Wolves 57-7 last season.
Former Head Coach of Three FBS Institutions
Awarded the American Football Coaches Association’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Award in 2015.
Former football student-athlete and All-Southwest Conference defensive back.
Comments: Hatfield served five years as head coach at Air Force and six at Arkansas before succeeding Danny Ford at Clemson. However, the fans and the administration treated him like dirt. He finished his career in a 12 year stint at Rice, retiring in 2005.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Hatfield is a former player and head coach at Arkansas (1984–1989) back when they were in the Southwest Conference. Before getting his first head coaching job, he was an assistant at Tennessee and Florida.
President, Robert Morris University
Harvard M.B.A. and Rhodes Scholar who earned his doctorate from Oxford.
College football student-athlete and First-Team Academic All-American.
Comments: Originally from Plano, Texas, he played football at Air Force. In addition to his impressive academic resume, Howard earned a Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan, and also served with the elite Joint Special Operations Command and as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia.
Alabama/SEC Connections: No connections to the south.
Former Chief of Staff United States Army
Culminated his nearly 40-year military career as the 38th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 2011-15.
Former football student-athlete at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Comments: This retired four-star general grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey before attending West Point. He later received a Master of Science degree in nuclear effects engineering from NC State and a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategy from the Naval War College. He is a war veteran and received several medals. After retiring in 2015, he worked for JP Morgan Chase and a Florida charter airline. In 2017, Odierno was named Chairman and Alternate Governor of the Florida Panthers.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Nothing unless he was once stationed nearby...
Former All-American, University of Southern California
Member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Played professional football for 14 seasons.
Comments: This dude was a badass safety for Southern Cal and many years in the NFL. I met him once. Very soft-spoken with huge hands. He is an on-air personality on the PAC-12 Network which seems like a huge conflict of interest. He is not recused from talking about Oregon or Utah.
Alabama/SEC Connections: None.
Director of Athletics, University of Iowa
Currently serves on the NCAA Division I Council and is involved in the NCAA Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering.
Named Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2015-16.
Comments: Barta served as AD at Wyoming before succeeding BIG 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby as Iowa AD in 2006. He was a member of the North Dakota State football team as an undergrad.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Zip.
Director of Athletics, Georgia Institute of Technology
Experience serving as the athletics director for three FBS programs.
Former football student-athlete at Georgia Tech.
Comments: Former Georgia Tech player under ... ugh ... Bill Curry, hired as AD at GT in 2017. Was previously AD at UCF and Oregon State.
Alabama/SEC Connections: Nada.