Former Penn State center John Urschel, Colorado athletic director Rick George and Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman have been named to the 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee, the CFP announced on Wednesday.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, who is entering his second season with the committee, will be the new chair of the group, replacing outgoing member and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens. Typically, the chair serves that role for two seasons, and Barta has two years left with the committee, but the chair is appointed annually.
The new committee members will begin three-year terms this spring and will replace Mullens, former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Robert Morris University president Chris Howard, whose terms expire in February.
"Tom, Rick and John each bring an exciting breadth of experiences and expertise to the committee," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a prepared statement. "All three will continue the CFP tradition of committee members with high integrity and passion for the sport of college football."
Avid college football fans will get to know Barta well, as he will be the face of the group when the weekly rankings are announced each Tuesday night on ESPN. Barta earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication and broadcast journalism from North Dakota State in 1987. He was an option quarterback for Bison football squads that won NCAA Division II championships in 1983, 1985 and 1986.
"I had a terrific experience my first year on the committee," Barta said in the statement. "I have so much respect for the other committee members, and for Bill Hancock and the CFP staff. I'm honored to be asked to serve as committee chair and look forward to working with this group again in 2020."
There should be some familiarity with the new group, as Barta was also athletic director at Wyoming from 2003 to '06.
New committee member Burman, a graduate of Wyoming with an MBA from Robert Morris, has served as athletic director at his alma mater since October 2006. He previously served as an associate athletic director at UW from 1995 to 2000, first as executive director of the Cowboy Joe Club, then as associate AD for external affairs. He left Wyoming in 2000 to become athletic director at Portland State University, where he served until March 2006. He then returned to Wyoming as associate vice president for institutional advancement with the UW Foundation before being named athletic director seven months later.
George graduated in 1982 from Illinois, where he was a four-year letter winner at cornerback. He has served as Colorado's athletic director since August 2013. He came to Colorado after nearly three years with the Texas Rangers, first as chief operating officer and then as president of business operations. Prior to joining the Rangers, George served as executive vice president and chief of operations for the PGA Tour for two and a half years. He also served as president of the Champions Tour. From 1998 to 2003, George served as president and CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, which raised money for children's charities via golf-related events.
George also worked at Illinois, where he was football recruiting coordinator from 1983 to '87; at Colorado, where he was football recruiting coordinator and then assistant athletic director for football operations (1987-90); and at Vanderbilt, where he was associate athletic director for external operations, with oversight of the football program, for eight years.
Urschel is a former All-America offensive lineman -- a two-time All-Big Ten performer -- and 4.0 student at Penn State. Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round in 2014, he retired after three seasons with the Ravens and enrolled at MIT to pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics (expected completion in 2020), which he began work on in January 2016 while still playing in the NFL.
Urschel earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 2012 (in less than three years) and a master's in mathematics a year later (again with a 4.0). During the spring 2013 semester, Urschel taught a section of trigonometry and analytic geometry to Penn State undergraduate students three days a week in addition to his own academic and football responsibilities. He won the Sullivan Award, given to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the country, in 2013. A two-time Academic All-American, he also won the 2013 Campbell Trophy, which recognizes college football's top scholar-athlete.
While this year's incoming group is accomplished, it's also relatively small and unknown to the average fan. There will be a lot of turnover in 2021, though, as almost half of the committee members will need to be replaced.
The 2020 season's playoff semifinals will take place on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl. The CFP national championship will be Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.