CFP committee should not reward humiliation

I heard Kirk Herbstreit’s comment Tuesday night that Penn State’s best chance to make the College Football Playoff is to “blow people out … by 40 or 50 points if they can.”

I’m disappointed that Herbie, one of the leading spokesmen for the college game, would take his position for a couple reasons:

1) He has considerable influence. If he would say winning by four touchdowns is enough — which it should be — coaches, players and their fan bases, might agree that it’s not OK, for example, to call timeout when Georgia State is attempting a last-second field goal down 56-0.

2) The College Football Playoff is run differently — and better — than the old days in the sense that the committee is much smaller.

There are 61 voters for the Associated Press poll, which once decided the national champion.

Many of the voters over the years had their own teams to cover and therefore only had time to catch highlights and look at scores.

Now the College Football Playoff committee is comprised of just 13 — 13 of the most knowledgeable people in the sport divided up geographically.

Like the NCAA basketball committee, they hunker down as the season unfolds with only bathroom breaks.

It’s their job — what they signed up for — to know how the top eight or so teams in contention for the four-team playoff are doing on a weekly basis.

These are high-profile positions deciding high-stakes berths and those responsible should be held accountable.

While presiding over a college game where life lessons should still be taught, they shouldn’t be influenced by late-game shenanigans.

If Notre Dame leads Wake Forest 38-6 and throws a late deep pass to get to 45, that should be noted.

If Clemson is up on North Carolina State 37-10 with a minute left and recovers — or even attempts — an onside kick, that should be noted.

If Ohio State is leading Iowa 56-7 and challenges a spot in the fourth quarter — like Urban Meyer did to sanction-ridden PSU in 2013 — that should be noted.

If Penn State would have scored a touchdown with three seconds to go against Michigan, making the final 49-13 instead of 42-13, that should be noted, too.

Judge these teams on how they compete against their peers — like the Lions’ game at Ohio State last weekend — and not the many mismatches that dot college football.

Penn State let its guard down in 1994 and a 35-14 lead at Indiana with four minutes left became a 35-29 win, which dropped the Lions to No. 2 in the polls.

I respected Joe Paterno for having his subs in, but he learned his lesson. He began keeping his first-team defense in longer. That was a way to control the score without punching in a blatant late offensive touchdown.

The committee needs to consider when a team is trying to humiliate its way to a playoff berth at the expense of promoting sportsmanship.

Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or