LOS ANGELES – Next year, college football will begin holding a playoff featuring the top four teams in the country, selected by committee. Reports indicate the committee will include coaches, a sportswriter, a retired lieutenant general and former secretary of state turned Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice. A girl.
Now Im going to stick my foot in my mouth, probably, ESPN commentator Dave Pollack said when asked about Rices probable appointment. I want people on this committee – guys – that can watch tape ... that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams, on tape – not on paper. ESPN host Chris Fowler asked Pollack whether that meant women should not serve. He responded: Ill say it, yeah. Yeah.
All she knows about football is what somebody told her, former Auburn football coach Pat Dye weighed in. Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, youve got to play with your hand in the dirt. ... I love Condoleezza Rice and shes probably a good statesman and all of that, but how in the hell does she know what its like out there when you cant get your breath and its 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?
Guys. Guys. Let us remove our feet from our mouths and take a good, long look at whats actually transpiring on the turf. Two teams of rivals are competing to outsmart, outmaneuver and overpower the other, invade their territory, and gain access to a preciously guarded zone. The committee will be responsible for reviewing each squads battle history, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, predicting the outcomes of potential conflicts, and ranking them according to their relative power on a national scale. Its pretend war. Who could possibly be up for such a task? Maybe a person who has served as national security advisor and secretary of state?
Rice isnt just fit to serve on the committee. She is ridiculously, laughably qualified for the job. Yes, Rices understanding of playing college football is confined to visual information, printed words and stuff somebody told her – this is generally how knowledge is communicated among humans. In Rices case, shes been learning about the game since her high school football coach father welcomed her home from the maternity ward with a pigskin in her crib. Since leaving public office, shes eyed the NFL commissioner job and frequently discusses strategy with Stanford coach David Shaw. She can watch tape.
You know whos not necessarily fit for the committee? Some guy who can feel deep in his atrophied muscles that it sure is a scorcher out there – reminds him of his bowl debut in 72, back when you had to run plays uphill both ways in the mud and you liked it. The gig requires someone who understands the game but is also capable of taking his or her head out of it long enough to see the bigger picture. The guys counting Condi out probably wouldnt make the cut.