By Kirti Chakote
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Bill Hancock announced the newly created 13-member college football playoff committee.
To the shock of many staunch college football enthusiasts, amongst those chosen was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The selection, however, does not surprise many of those who know her closely. Rice is a huge football fan, especially of the school she currently teaches at, the home of the Stanford Cardinals.
Her father John Wesley Rice played and coached college football, and he instilled in her a love for the sport. Together, they religiously followed the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Cleveland Browns.
She often speaks of her first in-person Alabama football contest in 1966, when Ken Stabler was the quarterback.
Along with showing her the passion, her father also demonstrated his frustration to Ms. Rice on the way former college football champions were selected.
In 1966, Notre Dame and Michigan both finished undefeated and were selected to share the national title.
It was frustrating to him to see that there were two national champions, and that these two teams didn’t compete against each other to win the national title.
However, this process was changed to the current Bowl Championship Series in 1998, where one game is the national title game and the participants are chosen based on computer rankings and polls.
Another change to the college football title system is forthcoming for the 2014-2015 season.
The Bowl Championship series will be replaced by the college football playoff. There will be six Bowl games, and two of them will serve as the semi-final playoff games.
The winners of these games will then go to a predetermined site to compete for the national title, similar to the Super Bowl and Final Four processes.
The first championship game will be played on Jan. 1, 2015 in the AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The teams to be chosen in this new title system will be decided by the 13-member college football committee.
The members combined have over 230 years of college football experience. It also has three national football hall of famers, a Rhodes scholar and three members of Phi Beta Kappa (the distinguished national college honor society).
The former Auburn coach Pat Dye criticized Rice’s selection, saying that she could not understand the sport without having played it “with her hand in the dirt.”
However, Rice cares little about the controversy over her selection. She is quite familiar with criticism, given all of her years in politics.
With her diplomatic background, Rice is eager to take on the position, because it will require the collaborative process that she is quite accustomed too.
When current Stanford football coach David Shaw was asked about the disagreement over Rice’s selection, he scoffed at it, saying, “There were questions about Andrew Luck’s arm strength, too. I feel the same way about her.”