After seven weekly installments – none more breathtaking than the last – the College Football Playoff committee has spoken. No. 1 Alabama (12-1) will play No. 4 Ohio State (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl, and No. 2 Oregon (12-1) will play No. 3 Florida State (13-0) in the Rose Bowl – both on New Year’s Day.
So, how did the selection process go overall?
“It went really well,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We had a disciplined process, and the committee did a terrific job. (They) did their homework, came prepared every week, had spirited conversations – it went really, really well.”
Not everyone, however, agrees. Many people did not understand why TCU was ranked No. 3 in the penultimate rankings but fell to No. 6 just five days later – despite beating Iowa State, 55-3, in its regular-season finale. If the rankings are not going to hold true, why have them on a weekly basis?
“Well, a couple things on that,” Hancock said. “This is a new mentality. This is not the old college football weekly poll of sportswriters and coaches. This is a group of people getting together every week with a clean sheet of paper to look at the teams. And we said all along we knew that the last week would be decisive because of adding the conference champions. Ohio State was fortunate enough to be able to get to play that thirteenth game against a quality opponent. And the teams the week before were bunched in there very closely. I just wonder if we didn’t do weekly rankings if people would say, ‘Wait a minute. We don’t know what the committee was thinking. They should tell us during the season what we’re thinking.’ So there’s two sides to that issue.”
In the end, the committee felt Ohio State was simply better than Baylor and TCU.
“This is about the best,” Hancock said. “We never used any other word than the best four teams. And just lining those teams up together, obviously Baylor defeated TCU and Ohio State had more signature victories. There were some other factors the committee looked at, but that’s what it basically came down to. The committee just believed that Ohio State was better than those two.”
Hancock was asked if the lack of a league championship game hurt the Big 12.
“It was not a factor this year,” Hancock said. “Championship games are a risk-reward situation. A championship game can hurt a team, but it can also help a team. And I firmly believe that if the outcome of a couple of games had been different Saturday, the Big 12 would look like geniuses today for not having a championship game.”
Still, with Baylor and TCU on the outside looking in, might we see a push to expand the playoff this offseason? To eight teams, perhaps?
“Our group has not talked at all about expanding,” Hancock said. “As a matter of fact, they unanimously agreed to go to 12 years because we wanted people to get to know and love this format. Eight might solve a problem, but it would create many more issues. We’re going to have four for 12 years.”