College football committee receives its marching orders

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden is one of nine college football committee members affected by a recusal policy.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

What a crazy, busy and hectic fall it’s going to be for college football’s 13-person selection committee

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden had better hope he doesn’t have to fire (and hire) another coach during the season.

The committee just concluded meetings in Colorado to go over the ground rules for picking this year’s four-team playoff field. It will also seed the schools and place other teams into the major bowls.

UCLA fans will be heartened to know that Haden is one of nine committee members affected by the recusal policy.


Haden can answer factual questions should USC be involved in discussions but has to leave the room during any deliberations on the Trojans.

Haden is one of five active college athletic directors on the committee. UCLA is not represented.

The eight other members under recusal from discussing their affiliated teams are Tom Osborne (Nebraska), Mike Gould (Air Force), Dan Radakovich (Clemson), Archie Manning (Mississippi), Condoleezza Rice (Stanford), Oliver Luck (West Virginia), Jeff Long (Arkansas) and Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin).

Tyrone Willingham, however, is not on the recusal list despite having been a former coach at Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington.

The committee will hold regular teleconferences early in the season and then start meeting weekly, in Dallas, starting in late October. The committee will release its first of four top-25 rankings on Oct. 28 with the final poll on Dec. 7.

The committee has been commanded to choose the playoff teams by considering strength of schedule, conference championships, head-to-head matchups, injuries and other statistical information.

No specific “metric” will be used to assist the committee.

It should be an interesting process. To quote from the 1980 movie “Airplane!”: “Good luck. We’re all counting on you.”