As an inaugural member of the 13-person College Football Playoff committee, Condoleezza Rice has had to change her typical schedule and cut overseas travel.

That time now has to be spent watching football, evaluating a list of 40 FBS teams, and trying to figure out which traits matter the most.

In an interview with ESPN, Rice emphasized that wins and losses matter -- presumably meaning that an undefeated team from outside the Big 6 conferences could have a shot at the four-team playoff.

But strength of schedule will still be very important. The trick, Rice said, is comparing conferences and the strength of those teams when there aren't a ton of head-to-head matchups to use.

And while Rice thinks that conference championships are very important, she refuted the notion that there's pressure to place only conference champs among the top four teams.

To prep for that big decision, Rice said she's watching 14 to 15 games per week, usually on Saturdays and Sundays. She hasn't started writing her own Top 25 ranking of teams, but she is aware of where teams stand in the AP and coaches' polls.

It does sound, however, like Rice is relishing the subjective nature of selecting playoff teams. The former Secretary of State doesn't anticipate it being a clear-cut decision "and I'm glad. That's where human judgment comes in."

Unfortunately for many observers, that human judgement -- and its propensity for errors -- is the primary reason for concern regarding the new playoff system. Expanding from two to four championship-eligible teams, plus moving the decision from a complex algorithm into the hands of 13 highly intelligent people, has done many things: Increase conversation and speculation, build intrigue, and stoke excitement for what's to come.

Unfortunately, one teeny, tiny problem remains: It's still an imperfect system. But maybe, as with March Madness, it's an imperfection we'll learn to love.

Condoleezza Rice, The Sports Fan


Rice And Arnold Palmer

At the Masters.


Rice and Rory McIlroy

At the Masters.


Rice with Richard Sherman, David Shaw

Watching Stanford in the NCAA basketball tournament.


Rice at the Rose Bowl.

Celebrating Stanford's win against Wisconsin.


Rice and Michael Jordan

At President's Cup golf event.


Rice and Andrew Luck

At the Orange Bowl after Stanford beats Virginia Tech.


Rice and Nastia Liukin

At the 2009 ESPY awards.


Rice and Serena Williams

At the 2009 ESPY awards.


Rice and Cal Ripken Jr.

At the State Department.


Rice, The Browns Fan

Modeling NFL women's apparel.

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