The College Football Playoff announced Friday former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will not serve on the selection committee due to a health concern that will render him unable to travel for the group's entirely unnecessary weekly, two-day meetings. The CFP will trudge forward with 12 members for this season.
"This is a difficult decision because I have enjoyed my preparations and I have the greatest respect for the other committee members and the playoff itself," Carr said in a statement. "I regret that health issues will prevent me from executing the responsibilities expected of a committee member."
Worth noting: this is the second time in the CFP's now three-year history it has been forced to carry on a man down due to one member not being able to withstand the weekly travel demands. Archie Manning stepped down in 2014 and did not return; he was replaced by Bobby Johnson in 2015.
Finding 13 people willing to travel two days a week for seven straight weeks -- and not be paid for their time -- severely cuts down on the selection committee's available pool. But there is one group of people that checks both boxes that the CFP seems oddly blind toward: coaches fresh out of the game.
I'm thinking of coaches like Frank Beamer, Larry Coker, Kyle Flood, Dennis Franchione and Dan McCarney, head coaches with an intimate familiarity of college football as it will be played in 2016 no one else in the room can offer. Gary Pinkel and Jerry Kill would be naturals but, considering each stepped down due to health concerns on their own, both seem unlikely to join. Steve Spurrier would be the dream candidate candidate here, but good luck getting him to agree to bite his tongue for an entire year. Art Briles would be the most knowledgable person in the room, but his boiling-magma-from-the-sun political temperature would negate his candidacy for a group as unflinchingly unobjectionable as the CFP. The list of candidates wouldn't have to be restricted to head coaches, either. There are scores of coordinators and position coaches not currently on teams that could break down the what's and why's of both the X's and O's and the Jimmy's and Joe's to the rest of the group on a level no one else in the room could.
The vast majority of sidelined coaches are guys that want to get back in the game as fast as possible, leaving them desperate to stay as current with the game by any means necessary, so finding one head coach willing to join the committee shouldn't be difficult. In fact, there is incentive on both sides.
If Flood, for instance, were to join the selection committee for this season, it would: A) keep him in close proximity to the spotlight, thereby helping him stay top-of-mind as he pitches himself to search firms and ADs in an effort to get back in the game for the 2017 season and B) require him to study as many games as he possibly could, thus keeping him current on the game's constant schematic developments.
And a fresh-out-of-the-game coach's appeal to the CFP would be obvious. The selection committee is packed with former coaches, but not one that has paced a sideline since 2010. Barry Alvarez stopped coaching in 2005, Herb Deromedi in 2006, Jeff Bower in 2007, Tyrone Willingham in 2008, and Johnson in 2010. The game has mutated from what it was in 2010, and might as well be a different species entirely from its 2005 form.
The CFP likes stability and asks its committee members to serve 2- or 3-year terms, the latest of which were announced in January. But on a group that (ideally) contains 13 seats, the CFP should consider leaving one to permanently rotate among coaches fresh out of the game. Isn't differing perspectives the name of the game here, after all?
In the end, the CFP can move forward with 12 members just fine. In two years so far, exactly one of the eight tickets awarded to the two Playoffs has been in dispute; a committee of blind monkeys could have selected Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma in 2015. But if you're going to have a 13-chair round table to choose the four best teams in a given season, shouldn't you leave one of those seats for someone who can speak the language as its spoken today?