Oliver Luck Ready to Embark Upon Inaugural College Football Playoff
Matt Hauswirth, MORGANTOWN -
Oliver Luck wears plenty of hats, both professionally and personally.
First and foremost, he’s the Athletic Director at West Virginia University. He’s also a businessman, having served as the President and General Manager of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo between 2005 and 2010. Not to mention, he’s the father of four children, including Andrew Luck, who is widely regarded as the most talented of the NFL’s newest crop of quarterbacks.
As of the 2014 college football season, he can add a new title to his resume. Luck was named as one of the 13 committee members for the inaugural College Football Playoff, which will take effect during the upcoming season.
”I’m excited about it,” Luck said during a recent stop along the WVU Coaches Caravan. “It’s an honor to be on the committee. I’m one of 13 voters on this committee. I think the BCS did a pretty good job. It was better than the previous setup, which basically was media people voting for the national champion.”
College football fans across the country have voiced their concern over the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), especially during recent years. A playoff was the other option, which fans nationwide will be more than happy to tell you: It’s the best option.
Luck feels the same way.
“The BCS matched one versus two. Now during this next phase, we’re matching one, two, three and four with two semifinals and of course, the final game. That’s an improvement,” he said. “It may not be the perfect system, but it’s an improvement.”
The truth is that although it’s an improvement, it certainly has not been perfected. A playoff consisting of four teams causes another issue with fans of the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth teams who may be left out.
Luck added that it’s impossible to please everybody across the country. However the only thing he, along with the other 12 committee members, can control is the ability to choose America’s top four college football teams on a yearly basis.
The key word is ‘choose’ the best four teams. The human element is now in full effect by introducing committee members for a playoff. It’s something that was lacking during the BCS era, where computers would decide the fate of which two teams would meet for a national championship.
“I think the committee will do fine,” he responded. “I really do. There are great people in it. They know football. They’re very honorable people with a lot of integrity. I think we’ll do the right thing when it comes to matching up the two semifinal games, then of course the other responsibilities we have to the top 25.”
The fact that only 13 people will have a say on which four teams meet in the College Football Playoff may puzzle some of the sport’s biggest fans. But if you ask Luck, he’s more than happy to be a part of the committee. Actually, he’s thrilled.
“I’m excited about it. It’s a new era, with the fact that I – a quarterback who played football here at the [West Virginia] university – the fact that I have the chance to be a part of that is pretty cool,” Luck added. “It’s very neat.”
It’s a new beginning for college football, offering a wider variety of challengers to the Alabama’s, LSU’s and Florida State’s of the world, to name a few.
But regardless of the impact on the field – there’s an even bigger impact to be made inside the wallet. As you and I both know, the NCAA may emphasize the term ‘student-athletes’. But in reality, it’s about money, too.
“I do think we’ll get it right. I do think the semifinal games will be enormously popular. I think the television ratings will be off the charts. I think the television ratings for the championship game will be off the charts. They’ll approach an NFL level, and that’s good for the sport,” Luck said.
The College Football Playoff will essentially be a Final Four, with the regular season serving as the first/second round, Sweet 16 and Elite 8 all rolled into one – if you would like to use college basketball as a reference.
Bowl games will also remain intact, with the four BCS bowls serving as semifinal locations on a rotating basis. For example, this year the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl will hold semifinal games, while Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas will host the national championship. However next year, the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl will be the semifinal locations, with the title game being held in Glendale, Arizona.
When it comes down to it, Oliver Luck’s representation among the 13-member committee does nothing more than give West Virginia University a positive name. But for Luck, it’s another step forward into the national spotlight, assisting with the next toughest decision in college football.