In the months ahead, there will be plenty of ideas about how the powers that be should put together a selection committee to decide the future playoff and what the criteria should be in choosing those four teams.
How could each be configured to benefit the Big East? Here are some possibilities.
I think the Big East benefits most of all if there is one representative with ties to each conference and then a few noted independent college football observers. That way, you do not have a room slanted so much to one region or one conference, AND the bias some of us fear could creep into the selections is kept to a minimum. What matters above all -- whether they are athletic directors, ex-coaches or retired conference officials -- is that they pay attention week in and week out to the entire college football landscape. To me, that means watching games for all the teams in contention. I truly believe having a firm grasp on the way a team plays should be critical for those on this panel, along with the other ancillary details. The ideal panel would have 12-15 members, that way there are a variety of voices in the room to arrive at a sound and logical decision.
These are guidelines for judging teams that would benefit the Big East, in order of importance:
1. Conference champion. I don't care what league you play in, winning your conference championship means something. It is a validation of efforts throughout the course of the regular season. Every decision-maker has spoken repeatedly about wanting to keep the regular season meaningful. So keep it that way by giving heavy weight to conference champions. If there is a close debate about the No. 4 team, the tiebreaker should go to the conference champion, if applicable.
2. Going undefeated. Winning all your games should also count for something. In the case of the Big East, the only way the league has a shot at a playoff is if a team goes undefeated. If it does, then it obviously is the conference champion and should get a big boost in categories 1 and 2.
3. Quality wins/Strength of schedule. This includes both in conference and out of conference. More weight should be given to teams that have multiple wins against Top 25 opponents. More weight should be given to teams with good nonconference wins. Teams that play cupcakes in nonconference should be viewed as not having done as much as possible to strengthen their case, the way they are in men's basketball. As part of this criteria, the committee should also take a harder look at opponents' opponents, to get a true picture of quality wins.