Joseph Goodman: Condoleezza Rice is absolutely right for NCAA football playoff committee
10/11/2013 12:00 AM
10/11/2013 12:44 AM
College football shouldn’t stop at naming Condoleezza Rice to its new playoff committee. She should be the new president of the NCAA.
That’s how delighted and enthusiastic any college football fan with a brain should be over the news that Rice will join what’s sure to be a collection of good ol’ boys in determining which four teams will compete in the first College Football Playoff next season. Rice represents the exact type of energy, forward thinking and independent analysis that college football needs as it transitions from the old way of determining its national champion into this new system that could succeed beautifully if done right.
Rice will make sure that’s what happens.
As for people without brains, like former Auburn coach Pat Dye, bless his heart, they just need to go away. Dye is upset that Rice is on the committee. Here’s what Dye, who I’m sure is more than a little bitter about not being asked to be on the committee, said about Rice this week on a radio station in Birmingham, Ala. Rice is from Birmingham, by the way, but God forbid that place celebrate her and this news.
“All she knows about football is what somebody told her, or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television,” Dye said. “To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”
To review … no, wait … it’s too soon for that. Before we go any further, first take two steps backward from your newspaper or computer screen, raise your dominant hand in front of your face and then repeatedly slap your palm into your forehead while wondering how in the heck Dye successfully recruited Bo Jackson. (If you’re reading this on a handheld, improvise.)
OK, to review, Dye apparently thinks Rice is a great listener and processes information well, but that’s bad. Thinking is bad. Also, books are apparently bad in Dye’s world, because they contain stuff like words and ideas.
As for his “hand in the dirt” logic, does Dye mean only offensive linemen can understand football? If that’s the case, then he also probably disagrees with the selection of Archie Manning to the playoff committee.
I’m assuming Dye means only people who have played college football should serve on the playoff committee, and if that’s the case then Dye likely also disagrees with the selection of longtime sportswriter Steve Wieberg.
“I love Condoleezza Rice, and she’s probably a good statesman and all of that, but how in the hell does she know what it’s like out there when you can’t get your breath and it’s 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?” Dye said.
Is Dye describing football now or the job Rice did for President George W. Bush in the Middle East? One thing is certain: College football wisely didn’t give Dye a call.
In all seriousness, it’s absurd to argue against Rice for a spot on the committee. But, of course, ESPN’s David Pollack was that guy. And there have been others, too.
“I want people on this committee that can watch tape, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams on tape, not on paper,” Pollack said on College GameDay.
So, Rice is smart enough to give advice about Vladimir Putin to presidents of the United States and is creative enough to play music with Yo-Yo Ma, but when it comes to figuring out whether two-loss Miami or one-loss Texas should be the fourth team in the College Football Playoff, she’s going to be completely lost because she supposedly can’t deconstruct plays on film. See? Mind-numbing ridiculousness.
The bottom line is Rice is more of a bulldog than Pollack ever dreamed of being, and college football is lucky she’s such a fan of the game.
Of course, that’s what happens when you’re born and raised in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., go to school at Notre Dame and then teach at Stanford.
“Why not?” Steve Spurrier asked this week. “She’s a Stanford graduate, [and she] plays a little golf.”
Well, on second thought, maybe she’s already in the good ol’ boys club.