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Condoleezza Rice has what it takes to be on football committee

National college football writer Chris Dufresne takes time off each Friday during the season to unbuckle his mailbag and respond to letters about college football. You can write to him at chris.dufresne@latimes.com.

October 19, 2013|Chris Dufresne

There's a difference between loving college football and knowing it. I love my country but couldn't be Secretary of State.

Twitter: @tcliftonsports

Oh please, let's stop this stuff about Condoleezza Rice not being qualified to sit on a panel to choose four college football teams for a playoff.

Rice is actually a college football nerd. She said the other day she remembers listening on the radio to the 10-10 tie between Notre Dame and Michigan State in 1966.

Notre Dame played for the tie to protect its national title in the two national polls. Rice remembers her father complaining about a playoff way back then.

"He was always frustrated as a fan that we didn't have head-to-head competition," Rice said.

Rice said her role on the committee will be to bring a different point of view. "People thought it was important to have diversity of experience," Rice said. "Secondly, they said we want people who will make critical judgments, and can do it under pressure."

As Stanford provost, Rice hired Coach Ty Willingham, who became a two-time Pac-10 Conference coach of the year. After she left, Stanford hired Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris.

Rice will be just fine.

How are you feeling now about your claim that Stanford's the best in the Pac-12 and national championship contender?

Issac Akande

I feel just awful. I can't sleep, eat, think or function. I'm a physical wreck, mentally despondent, dehydrated and dyspeptic. I've had hot flashes and heat rashes. My good cholesterol is low and my bad cholesterol is high. I have developed iron-poor blood, psoriasis and bunions.

I am on so much medication I should not operate a can opener much less heavy machinery.

The pit in my stomach is deeper than the Mariana Trench. I have been muttering around the house incoherently ever since Stanford came up six yards shy of staying undefeated at Utah.

I haven't bathed, shaved or left the house for fear neighbors will whisper, "There's the guy who thought Stanford was No.1."

I feel lower than the theme song on the old show "Hee Haw" that goes: "Gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me."

Lindsay Lohan emailed, "I feel better about my life now knowing you picked Stanford."

I feel like a boob and a heel and an ignoramus all rolled into a sucker sandwich for having the gall to pick a team No. 1 that had the exact same record as Alabama the last three years.

I bang my head against a Palo Alto and ask, "Why, why why can't I predict the outcome of every game?" How come my preseason top 25 never matches up with my postseason 25?

How come NFL writers who predict the New York Giants will win the Super Bowl can be right even if the Giants lose seven games? How come college writers have to be perfect?

There, I feel better now.

The Southeastern Conference has eight teams in the top 25? What's up with that?

David Tyler

What, you wanted nine? I was surprised myself considering the SEC really isn't as strong as it has been. I think it's easier for voters just to pencil in SEC teams on Sunday morning because it doesn't take much effort.

The SEC will start to lose ranked teams as the season plays out. Alabama and Missouri are the only undefeated teams left in the league. Missouri, without injured quarterback James Franklin, could lose at home on Saturday to Florida.

Two-loss Florida or Georgia is guaranteed a third loss when the teams play on Nov. 2. And Florida still has to play South Carolina. Auburn is sniffing around the top 25 but has remaining games against Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama.

What I'm saying is there's no way the SEC will end up with eight ranked teams.

My guess is seven.

I'm surprised you didn't rank Oregon above Alabama.

Ric Etheridge

I thought long and hard and then decided to simply move No. 2 Alabama into Stanford's old spot. I think Oregon is playing the best football right now, but Alabama deserves to be No. 1 as the two-time defending champion.

I look at it like boxing now, where you have to take the belt from the champion. Alabama has been up and down all year and has not played an inspiring schedule, but the Crimson Tide always has another gear when it needs it.

In big games, when it counts most, Alabama still has what it takes to beat anybody out there, including Oregon.

What's your take on how good Utah is? Who do you think wins Utah vs. USC at the Coliseum?

Twitter: @Utebuntu

The Utes are good. They beat Utah State with Chuckie Keeton, Brigham Young and Stanford. They lost in overtime to Oregon State and came within an on-side kick recovery that could have led to upsetting UCLA. The Bruins forced six interceptions and still couldn't put the Utes away.

I don't know why the Utes have barely earned votes in the writers' and coaches' polls. Are people not watching?

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