Gary Barta, kingmaker? Well, sort of: the College Football Playoff announced on Friday that Gary Barta has been named to the selection committee for a three-year term beginning this spring.
OFFICIAL: Gary Barta, University of Iowa Henry B. & Patricia B. Director of Athletics Chair, has been appointed to the selection committee by the CFP Management Committee.— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) February 8, 2019
The Selection Committee is tasked with selecting the top four teams in the country for the Playoff and assigning them to the semifinal games; they also rank the remaining Top 25 teams and those rankings are used to help determine the participants in the other New Year's Six bowls each year. Should Iowa be in position to contend for a Playoff spot, Barta wouldn't be able to directly advocate for the Hawkeyes; he would have to recuse himself from any votes or discussions involving Iowa.
Maybe this is just a natural extension of Iowa's influence on the College Football Playoff. In 2015, of course Iowa was directly in the mix for a spot of their own in the Playoff as they went 12-0 in the regular season and climbed to the #4 spot in the CFP rankings. Their Big Ten Championship Game showdown with Michigan State (ranked #5 at the time) was a title-decider for the league championship and a playoff-eliminator, as Sparty got the fourth and final spot in the Playoff field that year and Iowa went to the Rose Bowl. In 2016, Iowa played spoiler for Michigan's CFP aspirations, downing the Wolverines (then #3 in the CFP rankings) via Keith Duncan game-winning kick. In 2017, Iowa played spoiler in even more emphatic fashion -- their 55-24 demolition of Ohio State was a crippling stain on OSU's resume and kept them out of the Playoff in favor of Alabama (who went on to win the whole damn thing).
In fact, speaking of that game... Barta is replacing Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on the selection committee. Officially Smith is stepping down to focus more on Ohio State's transition from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day as head coach. Unofficially, I'm going to count this as another Iowa win over Ohio State. #55to24 forever, friends.