Coaches discuss selection committee ideas

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- ACC coaches are in favor of having the coaches' poll be a part of the criteria used by the selection committee to determine the four teams in the College Football Playoff.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe, serving as league coaches' chair, told ESPN.com on Wednesday during the league's spring meetings that his group also is in favor of having every single coach have a vote in the poll and complete transparency in the voting. They also favor doing away with a preseason poll, and releasing their first poll at some point during the season -- much in the way the BCS standings are released.

League coaches also favor the model used by the NCAA basketball selection committee, with either current athletic directors or conference representatives serving on the committee, as opposed to retired coaches.

"For the most part, we wanted to see conference representation and institutional representation rotated to some degree but the biggest item for us is the criteria of selecting those four teams. We want our coaches’ poll to matter," Cutcliffe said. "In another sense, all the coaches have a vote on the committee, and we think that’s good for the game, for the coaches to be good stewards of who’s in that national championship picture.

"All of us having a vote, the vote becoming transparent and the vote being conscientiously done. We think we’re qualified. We’re not watching every game on the East Coast, on the West Coast, but no one else is, either. We see a lot of film of a lot of people. We know who’s good, and who’s best -- maybe moreso than anybody else is looking at the game."

The one key piece to the College Football Playoff puzzle that remains unresolved is how the selection committee will look, and how they will go about selecting the four teams to make the playoff. Conference commissioners left meetings last month without any clear consensus, though it appears unlikely the committee will feature a representative from all 10 FBS leagues.

Cutliffe said there was no consensus from the coaches on who should serve on the committee, only that they favored having various leagues represented.

The coaches' poll is currently used in the BCS formula, but those with a vote have come under some heavy criticism in the past for their final votes. Some have shown bias in favoring their own conference in their final rankings. Others have pointed out that some coaches do not even do their own voting.

The BCS standings are being eliminated this year.

"Part of our concern was when you start naming individual coaches, it’s so hard to not have bias by coaches that have coached in certain leagues so the way we looked at it is if we allowed all the coaches to vote in the coaches poll and the coaches poll was looked at as a major contributing factor to the selection process, then all college coaches would have some input into the selection process," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "We’re just throwing things out right now because I don’t think anybody has a firm grasp of things.

"Will you have some bias from each coach? Absolutely you will, but through the country if it got balanced out, you’d probably still have a pretty legitimate idea of at least who the coaches thought the top four teams were."

Coaches agree bias cannot be completely eliminated in this process. That is why they are hopeful football adopts the basketball committee model. Ten members serve on the NCAA Division I basketball committee, and the group is balanced geographically. Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski served as committee chair for the last two tournaments.

"There is a model because basketball’s had a committee for a long time," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "You’re going to have some of that. There’s nobody going to be out there that’s an expert on football that doesn’t have some affiliation somewhere in the past with a league or a team or anything so I don’t think you can do away with that."

Ingrained biases or perceptions do not concern at least one league coach.

"With the schedule that Clemson plays every year, if we take care of our business, all that stuff takes care of itself," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. "All I can tell you is Clemson worries about Clemson. We go and handle our business on the field, if we’re a one-loss team or no-loss team, Clemson with the brand we have, we’re right there."