Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
In my opinion, the College Football Playoff Chair is one of the worst gigs in college sports.
Under the best of circumstances, you're signing up for repeated trips to Grapevine, Texas. You have to get on television and defend, or at least explain, ranking decisions that you very well might not have agreed with, and pretend there is some semblance of a clearly defined, unified criteria that gets followed week to week. Nobody really sounds particularly smart during these TV hits, and you invite a lot of criticism.
The 2020 football season was not the best of circumstances. The endless run of game cancelations, postponements and roster adjustments due to COVID made any sort of definitive ranking of college football team quality almost impossible. Few programs played with anything resembling a full roster from week to week. Almost no data from intersectional play was available. It was a mess.
You didn't need a PhD to figure out that Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State were pretty dang good football teams last year. But the idea that anybody could get in front of a TV camera and tell America that yes, we're confident about our selection for the 13th best team, felt completely nuts to me.
But Gary Barta, Iowa's athletic director, took that assignment anyway. And boy howdy was his justification unpopular.
Specifically, with BYU fans.
Way back in December, I filed an Open Record Request for emails and text messages sent and received concerning "BYU" or "Cincinnati" from October 1 through December 1 of last fall. I sent this request to three members of the College Football Committee. Paola Boivin, a professor at Arizona State, Tom Burman, the AD at Wyoming, and Gary Barta of Iowa.
Arizona State told me that they had no responsive records for Dr.Boivin. Wyoming sent me over 600 pages of PDFs, all of which had nothing to do with college football.
And Iowa sent me over two dozen emails from angry BYU fans.