The College Football Playoff

If you have questions regarding the coming four-team college football playoff, the answers might be here in this transcript from Bill Hancock, the executive director of the playoff.

Check out how Obamacare could impact that playoff in the second graph.

Archie Manning is a member of the committee. The other SEC representative is Arkansas AD Jeff Long, who is also the committee chair.

Meet the entire committee here. 

Hancock said the group discussed many options to revamp the system including doing nothing at all and going back to just the bowl games. Ultimately, a decision was reached for a four-team playoff. He says buckle up and get ready, like it or not, it’s not going to change for 12 years.

Here’s Hancock:

“I believe this is the most significant change in the history of college football, certainly the most significant change in the history of postseason football. It was two years ago in June that the commissioners created the playoff after seven or eight months of working closely together to make it happen, proving that the conferences can work together to create a new event and make things happen. We are right on target with our planning. We have a lot of work to do. We have several contracts that still need to be worked out, including agreements with the bowls which will not be a problem — we’re in good shape with those.”

“But any time you start an event from scratch there’s more work to do than you could ever imagine. It’s like we started a conference from scratch or a newspaper from scratch where we had nothing. We had me. Now all of a sudden we’re going to have 13 staff members and health insurance and travel policies, sick leave. It’s really been a great adventure to put it all together. I told our staff I want to be ready to play labor day and they looked at me like I was crazy when I first said it but the point is, if we are ready to go Labor Day then we can spend the fall dealing with the little things that come up and who knows what those little things might be. If there is a quiet period for us, it’s now.”

“All of us on our staff can’t believe our good fortune in being involved in this playoff.”

“(Obstacles?) From the start certainly just the format was the biggest one we had to surmount first. We talked about everything over here to a big spectrum over to here which included don’t do anything with the bowl season and go back to the old system, all the way over to some massive playoff. And we landed on four and we landed on 12 years and it is going to be four for 12 years. There is no talk at all in our group about any change in that.”

“The BCS, we’ve already seen it, as time goes by the popularity of the BCS is increasing and history I can promise you will look back fondly on the BCS because of all the good things it did for college football, and if this playoff can be as good for the game as the BCS was then it will be successful.”

“We landed on four because we were dead serious about protecting the regular season and protecting the bowl system and the bowl experience. Those were the chief benefits I always talked about with the BCS and we did not have to sacrifice those when we went to the playoff.”

“There was a lot of talk about having (playoffs) at neutral sites or campus sites and the commissioners finally decided that the bowls were best because we wanted to keep this part of the bowl system and the bowl experience and pageantry cannot be replicated at a campus site.”

(Playing FCS schools and strength of schedule component for selection?)

“For our selection committee it’s a 12-game schedule. the committee will be evaluating a 12-game schedule and they will be comparing strength of schedule among teams. Who did you play, where did you play them, and that’s all a very common sense approach. We haven’t talked specifically about FCS. The issue with FCS of course is if you are going to play North Dakota State that might be better than team Y in one of our conferences so you have to be careful when you talk about FCS. But scheduling is tricky and our committee will evaluate a team based on who they played over the 12 games.’”

(NOTE: The committee will put out its rankings for seven weeks, the last one coming on Selection Sunday. The group has been at work and will meet for the fourth time this August.)

“They realize how difficult it is. When I began to call perspective members on the phone last July to invite them to be on this group every person I called said. “I’m honored, I want to give something back to this game. No one ran away from this, zero, and I think that tells you the importance of this event. It also tells you about our group (of 13 people). They love the game and they want to give something back.”

(Response from coaches?) “I think coaches are just trying tro figure it out. They figured out the BCS. They understood it for the most part. This is new and of course people are nervous about it. I get that.”

(Voting Process?) “The theory on the voting is that you take your massive teams, 127 or whatever, and you narrow that down to a small number of teams against each other — 6 or 8 teams — so they are not going to be sitting down and evaluating 125 teams comparatively against each other. Through a series of votes they are going to narrow it down to six or eight teams and they’re going to say, ‘OK let’s talk about every aspect of these teams, and let’s evaluate them. Now let’s vote them in. Now let’s get another six or eight until they get 25 and they’ll do that every week.”

“This committee is composed of 13 people of the highest integrity including Jeff (Long). I’m not concerned about the integrity of the group.”

“We thought about not doing a ranking until the final week but we decided no it wouldn’t be fair to just drop down the last week when folks are going to be accustomed during the season to all the other rankings and just drop on them the last week that our ranking is different and here it is. So that’s one of the two reasons why we decided to announce the rankings during the season. No surprises. And the other reason was because we are so rankings-oriented in college football that we wanted there to be a real ranking that mattered during the season that folks could look at.”

“The committee members will come to Dallas each week starting Oct. 27, and they will come down Monday morning. They will meet Monday afternoon, Monday eventing, Tuesday afternoon and then the rankings will be announced each week on Tuesday evening on ESPN.”

Here’s what Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had to say on the playoff process on Monday. He’s concerned that some deserving SEC teams could be left out. Here’s Hugh:

 

“Again speaking from Ole Miss point of view, obviously we would love to be in the discussion of the four teams. Is that a reality right now? I don’t know, we’re still early in our journey?”

“I’m more concerned, those six bowls are going to be based upon the selection committee’s ranking of the teams. I believe in our conference, we will have teams that arguably should be in that ranking but you look at the record, and the record is four difficult losses against top 15 teams … Do those four losses knock you out of the top six bowls? I think there are so many unknowns. You know how the polls go. This committee will have its own set of things to look at, and we’ve got some great people on that committee that all of us have great trust in. Still, if you look at the polls at the end of the year, they’re going to look at wins and losses. They’re not going to look at well they got beat by three at LSU by two at Auburn. That is a concern among some of our coaches. There are going to be two or three in our league that hopefully don’t get bumped out of that rotation of six bowls based on the rankings just because of the league we play in.”

“They’ve already pointed out some criteria in that we need to play another BCS opponent, strength of schedule and those things. How they will view a three-point loss to a top 10 team, I don’t know that. It would be good to hear.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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