Three-time Grey Cup winner Mike Riley appointed to College Football Playoff selection committee

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Former CFL head coach Mike Riley has been named to the NCAA’s College Football Playoff selection committee.

The 70-year-old will replace Washington athletic director Pat Chun as part of the controversial 13-person committee, whose rankings decide which schools will earn a shot at a national championship. He is expected to serve a three-year term.

“We are pleased to have Mike join the committee,” executive director of the CFP Bill Hancock said in a statement Friday. “He has significant experience as a player and coach, and he loves college football. He will bring a unique perspective to the committee. Plus, he is a delightful human being.”

Riley spent three seasons (1983-85) as the defensive backs coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers under Cal Murphy, winning a Grey Cup in 1984. He returned to the team as its head coach for four seasons (1987-90), posting a 40-32 overall record and winning two more Grey Cups in 1988 and 1990.

The native of Wallace, Id. departed the CFL in 1991 to become the head coach of the San Antonio Riders of the World League of American Football (WLAF), which was later renamed NFL Europe. He eventually became the head coach of the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) before stints as the bench boss at Oregon State (2003-14) and Nebraska (2015-17). He most recently served as head coach of the New Jersey Generals (2022-23) and was named USFL Coach of the Year in 2022.

Riley will be a member of the first committee to select teams for the College Football Playoff’s new 12-team model, which will be instituted this fall after years of complaints with the previous four-team bracket.  Under the new model, the five highest-ranked conference champions and the seven highest-ranked teams at large will qualify for the tournament, with the four best conference champions earning a bye.

The College Football Playoff committee will still produce weekly rankings under the new format and have the ultimate say regarding seeding.