Frank Beamer could have faded into the tapestry of college football upon retiring, leaving behind him a wake of adoring fans and players and a style of play all his own – “Beamer ball.” That wouldn’t be very Frank Beamer-like.
Beamer is a giver and among the warmest people I know. He loves the game that gave him so much, he loves it too much to walk away entirely. That’s why he chose to serve on the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2017.
“It’s an honor to be on there,” Beamer told me. “You look at the people that’s been on there before, the high integrity of the people, the high integrity of the people that’s on there now.
“And then it’s gonna keep me busy and I’m gonna really have to follow college football closely. I’m better busy than not being busy so I look forward to it.”
The beauty of the committee is in its variety. I was fortunate enough to participate in an invitation-only mock selection exercise hosted last year by the College Football Playoff for media members at its headquarters in Dallas. Each set of eyes on the Committee comes at the game with a different perspective, a different feel.
Beamer, for one, appreciates the sport’s intricacies.
“I think an important (criteria for judging teams) is your turnover margin,” Beamer said. “I think your field position, where you average taking the ball over and where your opponent averages, because that involves the kicking game and it involves turnovers, but it involves the kicking game too. I’m so much a big believer in if you can take over on the other side of the 50, your chances of winning the ballgame are a lot better if you do it more so than your opponent, then your chances of winning increase quite a bit. Because again, if they got to pick up one first down, two first down, three first down, more than you over the course of the game that’s a big difference, so that’s one I look at.”
For a coach who has been around the game more than a half century and has literally carved his name into college football’s annals, he maintains a child-like excitement to continue learning about the sport.
“We got access to all kinds of data and stats,” Beamer told me of his position on the committee. Committee members are provided deep and detailed analytics along with weekly game cutups throughout the season to inform their decisions. I’m gonna look at some (other data), but yeah, without question, as a matter of fact that’s what they’re gonna set up – things that are important to you, how you can access your computer to that and your program and what you’re looking for and so forth.”
Beamer also knows the selection process is part art, not pure science. He will have to fight for the teams he selects, but also keep an open mind to the selections of others.
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