As the College Football Playoff selection committee prepares to release its first rankings next week, why will the committee be better than the BCS? And can Mississippi State hang on to Dan Mullen? Andy Staples answers these questions and more in #DearAndy.

By Andy Staples
October 22, 2014

With the College Football Playoff selection committee meeting for the first time following this weekend’s games, everyone wants to know what the committee is going to do -- and why it even exists in the first place. Between that and some apparently imminent coaching changes, there were plenty of questions from which to choose.

Here are the questions answered in the video…

  • Why hasn’t Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley already fired Will Muschamp?
  • Why isn’t TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin getting more Heisman Trophy hype?
  • What is the etiquette for streaming college football games on one’s phone while at a wedding?
  • In the Lightning Round, I answer questions about Todd Gurley, Minnesota and the playoff structure.

Read on for more questions and answers…

From @tgrmontanaskier: Why have a committee select the playoff teams?  Why not use the BCS formula and take one through four?  It seems like a scam to take someone other than the four best teams.

Matt’s question assumes that the BCS formula always found the four best teams. It did not. Let’s go back to 2011. In that season, LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State finished at the top of the BCS rankings. That they were the top three wasn’t really in debate, though the order of No. 2 and No. 3 was the subject of great debate and helped push along the process of creating the playoff. In this system, all three would have been in the bracket. Using the BCS rankings, they would have been joined by 11-1 Stanford.

While the Cardinal had a great season in 2011, there was the slight matter of that 23-point loss to Oregon at home. And who finished No. 5 in the BCS standings? That’s right, Oregon. The Ducks finished 11-2. Their losses that season came against LSU -- which went undefeated in the regular season, beat the eventual Pac-12, Big East and national champs and basically put together the best regular-season resume of the BCS era -- and 10-2 USC -- which was banned from postseason play and treated its matchup with Oregon as a bowl game.

So what did the poll voters included Matt’s beloved BCS formula do? The coaches and Harris Interactive voters placed Stanford at No. 4 and Oregon at No. 5. Why did they do that? Because the worst poll voters -- and there are a lot of them -- tend to look at the loss column only. Oregon had more losses than Stanford. Therefore, Oregon should be ranked below Stanford. Why is this a mind-numbingly stupid way to rank teams? Had Oregon scheduled Tennessee Tech instead of LSU, the Ducks would have had the same number of losses as Stanford plus a dominant head-to-head win. Even the most dense Harris poll voter would have put Oregon ahead of Stanford in that case. But because Oregon scheduled LSU -- challenging itself and giving us a better game to watch -- the Ducks were punished by the poll voters.

The playoff will use a committee to ensure these decisions get discussed. Committee members don’t just hand in a ballot. They have to defend their choices against questioning by their fellow committee members. Had the above scenario come up in the committee room, at least a few intelligent people would have pointed out all of those facts, and common sense would have prompted the committee to put Oregon in the playoff.

In most years, the BCS formula, the AP poll and the committee’s rankings would look almost exactly the same. But sometimes, discussion is required to arrive at the correct decision. That discussion is the difference between a committee and the BCS formula, and it’s a pretty important distinction.

From @andrewside89: If you’re Mississippi State, what is your sales pitch to keep Dan Mullen from leaving for Florida or Michigan?

It would have to start with a pile of money close to what those other schools would pay, which could be a challenge given Mississippi State’s financial position relative to those two superpowers.

Then comes the easier part for Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin. Mullen has built a team capable of competing in the toughest division in college football. By the end of this regular season, he may have an SEC West or SEC title as well. Would he really want to try to rebuild another SEC program when he already has one rolling? Or, in the case of Michigan, would going up against Mark Dantonio, Urban Meyer and James Franklin on an annual basis be all that much easier than going up against Nick Saban, Les Miles and Hugh Freeze?

The prevailing wisdom is that it would be easier to keep a heavily resourced program rolling. In other words, the coach could avoid the inevitable dip that comes after a special group of players leaves at a program such as Mississippi State. At Florida or Michigan, the right coach could win big every year because of the schools’ recruiting advantages. That thinking may not be true anymore. The competition might be so fierce in the SEC East and the Big Ten East that every program is going to have to deal with the occasional down cycle.

While Stricklin may face a fight to keep his coach after this season, he’ll have some pretty compelling arguments of his own to offer. If he can combine them with stacks of cash, he’s got a great shot.

• INSIDE READ: Who could be next coaches at Florida, Michigan?

From @EersNation: What would Kevin White have to do the rest of the season to win the Heisman?

White needs to start throwing the football. While West Virginia’s star wide receiver leads the nation with 145.7 receiving yards per game, Heisman voters still favor quarterbacks and running backs over receivers. When they do vote for a receiver, he usually also returns kicks very well. That was the case for Michigan’s Desmond Howard, who won the Heisman -- get ready to feel very old -- 23 years ago. Since then, Heisman voters have selected 15 quarterbacks, five running backs and a cornerback. Twelve of the last 13 winners have been quarterbacks, which means White is probably out of luck unless he wants to throw it to himself.

• ELLIS: Kevin White cracks top 10 in Heisman Watch after Baylor upset

From @geoffmitchell: Could TCU make the playoff at 11-1? What are the best cheap dress shoes you could point us toward?

I know I just wrote that the Big 12 was in trouble relative to the playoff, but an 11-1 TCU would make a compelling case. It would obviously depend on which other teams remained in the hunt, but an 8-1 record in the Big 12 with a last-second loss at Baylor would be quite respectable. And the more Minnesota (currently 6-1) wins, the better that 30-7 win against the Gophers on Sept. 13 looks.

The first eight days of November will give the Horned Frogs a chance to make their case. They play at West Virginia on Nov. 1 and then return home to face Kansas State on Nov. 8.

As far as the shoes go, I’m glad you gave me a platform to continue the crusade against square-toed dress shoes. It’s not 2002 anymore. We’ve returned to footwear that looks like what shoes have looked for hundreds of years. So when shopping for your shoes, remember that they need some curve in the front.

As for price, you should not buy “cheap” dress shoes. You only get one set of feet. You need to treat those puppies properly. You should buy well-made dress shoes that were at one time pricey but, because of the capriciousness of the supply and demand curves, have dropped significantly in cost.

The best brick-and-mortar stores I’ve found for this are the outlet centers for Cole Haan and Johnston and Murphy. These aren’t the slick, gleaming stores in the regular mall. They’re the ones tucked into an outlet mall off an interstate about 20 miles outside every big city. They usually have fairly good prices, but at Cole Haan, head to the back to the clearance section. This is where the real deep discounts are. This is also where 17 pairs of size 14 turquoise wingtips reside, so dig past those and look for something black or brown. Every once in a while, you’ll strike gold.

You’ll find better options and less digging online. Quite a few of the better brands are heavily discounted on Amazon.

• RICKMAN: Ole Miss? Florida State? Who's new No. 1 in Power Rankings

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