Selection committee breakdown

IRVING, Texas -- Starting in 2014, the 13 individuals who make up the College Football Playoff selection committee will be the most powerful people in college football. They will determine which four teams play in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

They will decide whether a one-loss SEC team is better than an undefeated Big Ten team. The committee, and only the committee, will decide which teams can play for a national title.

No more BCS computer rankings to worry about or Colley Matrix on the fritz. No more coaches' polls filled out by everyone but the actual head coach. Nope, this will be different. And boy, will it be different.

On Wednesday at the College Football Playoff headquarters, the selection committee's 13 individuals were officially named: Barry Alvarez, Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Tom Jernstedt, Jeff Long, Oliver Luck, Archie Manning, Tom Osborne, Dan Radakovich, Condoleezza Rice, Mike Tranghese, Steve Wieberg and Ty Willingham.

It's the most significant group of 13 since the American colonies were formed a few hundred years ago (except all the colonies actually attended the inaugural news conference).

Not all of the committee members attended Tuesday's historic announcement near Dallas. In fact, only Long, the committee chairman, was on hand with executive director Bill Hancock and his staff. Everyone else on the committee was spread throughout the country, participating in a series of conference calls.

The names on the list are not a surprise. ESPN and The Associated Press have broken the news over the past two weeks. What might be surprising, though, is the number of individuals with football coaching and playing backgrounds.

Despite concerns from former Auburn coach Pat Dye, some of these guys have "had their hand in the dirt." And some might be older than dirt.

Ten of the 13 played collegiately (Alvarez, Gould, Haden, Jernstedt, Long, Luck, Manning, Osborne, Radakovich and Willingham), including seven quarterbacks. Alvarez, a linebacker; Gould, a defensive back; and Radakovich, a tight end and punter, were the nonquarterbacks.

Four went on to the NFL (quarterbacks Haden, Luck and Manning and Osborne, a wide receiver).

The group includes three former Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches. Alvarez, Osborne and Willingham combined have 56 years of head-coaching experience. Their combined record was 449-211-8 (68 percent), and they had three perfect seasons, three national championships (all by Osborne) and one winless season (Willingham). Gould and Long, along with the three head coaches, were assistant coaches at the college level.

There are six current and former athletic directors (Alvarez, Haden, Long, Luck, Osborne and Radakovich), a former conference commissioner (Tranghese), a current employee of the Kansas City (Mo.) Library (Wieberg) and even three former golf coaches (Gould, Rice and Willingham) on the committee.

And then there's Rice, the former secretary of state and national security adviser. Four times she was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People and twice named the Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes magazine.

But can she recite Phil Steele's magazine? Or as ESPN analyst David Pollack asked: "How much football does she know?" That's a valid question.

When Rice was provost at Stanford, she hired Willingham, so make your own decision. But she probably will be the smartest person in the room.

"She is a fan but also is a provost, has been involved in the hiring and evaluation of coaches and has made decisions at the highest level of government and has an education that is impressive," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

It is a very impressive group. It oozes incredible ethics, credibility and integrity. But is it qualified to pick the best four teams in the country?

Delany emphatically says yes.

"I'm pleased but, more than that, impressed and would predict controversy but would predict that this group has earned and will earn respect of people around the country for doing a challenging job in the best way humanly possible," Delany said. "They've all been around the block.

"They're not people who have written about decision-making. They're people who make decisions. There's a real big difference between quarterbacking and armchair quarterbacking, and they're all quarterbacks in their own right.

"They have all made difficult calls in their careers. It's not to say every call is a touchdown pass, but every call is based on your experience, based on the various factors that come into play. Together, they give us a fabulous opportunity to produce outcomes that are not only rational, have credibility but will find support."

There's also the preconceived notion that each individual has certain biases. The breakdown of undergraduate degrees is as follows: Alvarez (Nebraska), Gould (Air Force), Haden (USC), Jernstedt (Oregon), Long (Ohio Wesleyan), Luck (West Virginia), Manning (Ole Miss), Osborne (Hastings College, Neb.), Radakovich (Indiana, Pa., University), Rice (Denver), Tranghese (St. Michael's College, Vt.), Wieberg (Missouri) and Willingham (Michigan State).

That's two each from current Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 schools and one each from a Big 12 and Mountain West school. The remaining five graduated from non-FBS schools.

"There's a lot of, 'This is an SEC person, this is a Big 12 person,'" Delany said. "We think the group, as assembled, with reputation, skill set, education, experience in a variety of areas associated with football, higher education, government, is as good as we can do.

"It's fascinating to see the reaction and the focus."

Some critics are concerned committee members will have a bias for their former or current employers. If so, that's a pretty long list. There are 29 FBS schools the committee members have attended or worked for at one time.

Here's the list of each FBS school with ties to a committee member, so ladies and gentlemen, start your controversies: Air Force, Arkansas, Central Michigan, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, NC State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rice, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

"We weren't looking for 12 quarterbacks, we weren't looking for 12 head coaches, we weren't looking for 12 athletic directors," Delany said. "We weren't even looking at a finite number. We let the people determine the number. ... Most people who are looking for a credible committee would agree this is that."

They will agree it's a credible committee -- right up until the moment when the committee names the top four teams and their school doesn't make the cut.

ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report.