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Selection committee talks strength of schedule

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NEW YORK (AP) - The members of the College Football Playoff selection committee begin work next season. As for this season, they'll pass on picking teams.

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''None of us have done any work on that,'' Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. ''We all made an agreement not to answer those questions.''

Radakovich, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt discussed the selection committee and how it will operate Wednesday at the Intercollegiate Athletic Forum, which is sponsored by IMG and presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal.

They did not, however, delve into which teams they would have picked this season if next year's four-team playoff was in place instead of the Bowl Championship Series. No. 1 Florida State will play No. 2 Auburn on Jan. 6 at the Rose Bowl in the final BCS national championship game.

Strength of schedule was a much discussed topic as the BCS race played out over the last couple weeks of the regular season, with Auburn supporters insisting that even though the Tigers had lost a game they should play for the national title ahead of undefeated Ohio State.

Ultimately, the Buckeyes lost and cleared the way for Auburn.

How the committee would have sorted through the other playoff candidates this season - such as Michigan State, Baylor, Alabama and Stanford - is unclear, but there is no doubt that who you face is going to play a big role in how football's final four bracket is filled out.

''If you look back over the last 10-20 years, there's all kinds of rationale that go into scheduling,'' Jernstedt said. ''For wins. For revenue. ... Strength of schedule will become such an important factor that if you want to be under consideration, you need to have a more meaningful schedule than perhaps you've had in previous years.''

Osborne said some programs could be in a bind no matter what they do with their nonconference schedule.

''A lot of teams are going to be at the mercy of their strength of their conference,'' he said.

As an athletic director, one of Radakovich's prime duties is making Clemson's nonconference football schedule. He has to mix the right blend of teams with the Atlantic Coast Conference opponents to come up with a slate that draws fans to Memorial Stadium and gives the Tigers a chance to succeed.

He doesn't necessarily see the implementation of the College Football Playoff as catalyst for sweeping changes in how teams schedule.

''There are certain times when people are going to say, `This team that we have coming back is going to be really good. We have a chance to really make a run. Is this schedule set up for us to do that?''' Radakovich said. ''Now the year following that the same AD may say, `I've lost all of this stuff. How am I going to make sure that this team has a chance to be successful?' That's the difference between football and basketball.

''In basketball you can change your schedule like that. In football it's a lot more difficult. It could be something that's an outgrowth of this new system.''

Radakovich said different members of the selection committee will bring different viewpoints, but the first panel could lay the parameters for how future decisions on made.

''I think they'll be some tenets, some pillars of what people will utilize year in and year out,'' he said. ''Some of them have already been talked about: Wins and losses. Strength of schedule. Conference championships. But everyone is going to bring in that different view. It's not flipping over an entire committee all at once. There's staggered tenures.

''There will be a reservoir of information that can come back to any new member on the committee to kind of talk about what's happened in the past.''

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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