Bravo to Jeff Long, University of Arkansas athletic director and outgoing chairman of the College Football Playoffs Committee. You performed a masterful job of diplomacy, shepherding a bevy of powerful self-interests while bearing the slings and arrows of furious fan bases across the nation. Your rest, good sir, is well deserved.
But with new leadership comes an opportunity for new ideas; a fresh perspective. Perhaps instead of choosing yet another white-haired patriarch from another well-heeled athletic program, why not elevate those for which elevation is most valued?
Name a G5 representative to the post.
Yes. Yes! A G5 representative as your new Chairman would lend to the Committee a fair-and-balanced approach even Fox News would envy. He or she would have no powerful P5 masters to placate! No billion-dollar brands to stroke! Furthermore, a G5 Chairman might actually lend a nuanced and informed opinion on, say, the state of the Sun Belt or the subtle differences between Western Michigan and Central Michigan.
A lessor columnist would leave this innovative opinion right here, but I offer more than just brilliance and justice. I provide solutions! Behold, five candidates to replace your outgoing chairman, Jeff Long:
1. George O'Leary, Former Head Coach/Athletic Director, UCF
When people beat you at your own game, it’s better to ply them with riches and friendship than to fight them on the gridiron. Mr. O’Leary introduced Baylor to G5 speed and power in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, then dropped a wisdom bomb with this quote: "The thing that's disturbing is that college football has been fighting for years to create a level playing field and now they're trying to go the other way and create an even wider gap between the haves and have-nots," O'Leary says. "I think some of these (P5) schools have forgotten where they came from." Corral this stallion in the Committee!
2. Craig Thompson, Commissioner, Mountain West
The guiding hand behind the conference since its founding in 1999, the former Sun Belt commissioner has led the Mountain West to 62 Bowl games in its first 15 years of existence, winning 35. Power Five conferences like the PAC 12 and the Big 12 have made it a habit of poaching programs from the Mountain West. Mr. Thompson will likely fit right in during your big discussions. And besides, y'all love Boise State.
3. Larry Lacewell, Retired Coach, Arkansas State
Two former P5 head coaches currently sit on the committee. Why not hand a chair to former A-State head coach and Dallas Cowboy head of scouting, Larry Lacewell? Currently, Mr. Lacewell is hanging out in Jonesboro, AR, which means he probably has nothing better to do than to watch a ton of football games and remind you that there are more teams out there than the ones featured on their own national TV networks.
4. Sean Frazier, Athletic Director, Northern Illinois
Frazier was linked to recent job openings in Syracuse and Pittsburg, and he rejected both. That's the kind of moxie the Committee is sorely lacking. In addition, Frazier has guided Northern Illinois' rise from MAC Daddy to National Power, routinely threatening to spoil the P5 Power Poll Party year after year. And as a former Alabama player and coaching assistant at Wisconsin, Frazier is practically one of you.
5. Me, Columnist and Genius, Underdog Dynasty
How hard can it be? I may not have Condeleezza Rice's international credentials or Barry Alvarez's depth of experience, but I've seen North Texas play football. I can also say "strength of schedule" and "quality losses" as convincingly as anyone. I'd move the headquarters to something more appropriate, though, like in a dormant volcano or on the moon.
Also consider: UAB HC Bill Clark (you owe this guy some job security) and Boise State AD Bob Kustra. In fact, if you want to slip one of these guys in the five position, go ahead. I forgot The Walking Dead is on during football season, and I don't want to miss any episodes arguing Marshall's place in the Top 25.