We all say we want it "proven on the field" but it seems to me that at every step of the way, someone is trying to justify overriding on-field results - eyeball tests, margin of victory, nasty losses, struggles at home vs inferior opponents. That is exactly what the mock selection committee is doing. If you support selection criteria that considers these other factors, you are minimizing the only thing that matters in playoffs and conference standings: the win.
Have you read SI's Mock Selection Committee?
It illustrates the difficulty and the conflicts of interest facing any future committee members. Here's a couple of quotes from folks on the mock committee. If you've already read the article, skip to My Thoughts below.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith: You have to deal with what's in front of you, you have to deal with the facts. You can't let your emotions get in the way of the decision-making process because one team left your conference and went to another. It takes a strength of fortitude to do that.
Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin: It hits you in the face when you start looking at the last couple of spots and how many teams can make legitimate claims for consideration for the last two spots. It's going to be a daunting task when the real committee gets together.
and the conclusion...
"The consensus among SI's mock committee members was that the exercise gave them a better understanding of what will be at stake for the real committee. The difference between teams four and five is a sliver on paper and a canyon in meaning. There's not expected to be a significant financial gap in the monetary payout for teams No. 4 and No. 5, as team No. 5 will still go to a lucrative high-profile bowl. But there's no way to quantify how many millions making the playoff could mean to a school in terms of exposure, recruiting and the university's overall profile."
West Virginia AD, Oliver Luck: Even if you say you're not going to look at it, you're going to look at it. You have to grasp onto something. I don't know any way around not doing that.Wazzu AD Bill Moos, regarding KState's 52-24 loss to Baylor: Even though they [have] one loss, it's a nasty loss. That's why I left them out. The other ones we're talking about are overtime losses and tough opponents.
"'You're probably going to have to set exacting standards on what you're looking for," he said."
UNLV AD Jim Livengood: The eye-opening part of this whole thing is how much pressure is going to come to bear on those people, and the scrutiny on the backs of those people.
I want to reiterate that when we have playoffs or conference tournaments, there is no consideration for margin of victory or injury reports or the eyeball test or who looks good on paper. All that matters is the W. In playoffs, it doesn't matter if the win was ugly or dominant. And for that reason alone, we should not be considering that Oregon beat Arizona 49-0 while Stanford needed overtime to beat the same team. All the standings know is that they are both a W.
Now what I want to point out is that we already have a well-known computer ranking algorithm that considers only a team's record and the strength of its opponents. And the strenght of opponents is measured only by their own record. The algorithm I am referring to is the Colley Matrix. It is the only BCS computer ranking system who's algorithm is completely transparent. Go see for yourself. In a nutshell, it makes the assumption that all teams start out equal strength. Then it applies the team's record against the strengths of its opponents to recalculate that team's own strength. The process iterates until it converges to an ordered rank of team strengths.
In effect, this process is an extrapolation of "standings" applied across the country as if every team were in the same conference. If you apply the algorithm only to teams in a single conference, the results would match conference standings exactly. We can use this algorithm to determine who belongs in the four-team playoff. The beauty of it is in its simplicity. Just like a playoff win, it doesn't care if a team won ugly or if it dominated.
So what I want to say is there is no need for a selection committee with the naturally human concerns of the distribution of the gold. No need to worry about affiliations or realignments or the impact to recruiting and finances. We have a well-known algorithm that beautifully emulates over-all standings. It has no bias. It is not subject to kick-backs or realignments or death threats or who got snubbed last year. It is beautifully simple in the way that it emulates standings.
Now, I can take this thought a step further and advocate the use of the Colley Matrix for selecting conference championship matchups. In the case of a complete round-robin (eg, the Big XII), it is not necessary. But in the case of a conference with divisions in which entire conference record counts towards the standings and some teams play the best of the other division while others play the worst, Colley is more fair than standings. It considers the strengths of the cross-divisional games. I would even go so far as to say there is no need for divisional alignments - a new concept in college football anyway. Conferences would simply create the schedule without worry of maintaining traditional rivalries while playing everyone in the division. At the end of the season, use the top two conference teams as determined by the Colley Matrix to set the conference championship game participants. This year, Colley would have put Oregon vs. Stanford in the PAC 12 Championship instead of Stanford vs. UCLA. And we would have seen Florida St. vs. Clemson in the ACC. And the 1-loss SEC that would have been snubbed -- Georgia, because Colley would have matched Florida vs. Alabama. This is a much better way of delineating the hierarchy within conferences.