SEC MEDIA DAYS

SEC: Playoff director assures 'universal access' to new postseason


Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, speaks during Day 3 of SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — The College Football Playoff debuts this season, marking an important milestone in the history of the sport.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the playoff, met with reporters Wednesday at SEC Media Days to talk about the postseason system.

“We enter into a new era,” Hancock said. “We're very excited about the opportunity. It's remarkable to say those three words, College Football Playoff. Feels mighty good to all of us.”

The new method of crowning the national champion has its critics and potential flaws, but Hancock said it will generate more revenue, less controversy and an extra opportunity for teams to win the title.

“There is universal access to this playoff. There (are) no automatic qualifications,” Hancock said. “There will be more money in this for everyone, but the playoff wasn't done for the money. The playoff was done because we heard the fans who wanted more football and they wanted a bracket.

“At the same time we wanted to preserve the regular season and we wanted to preserve the bowl system. We've done both of those. This is a win‑win, a pure win‑win.”

Hancock said creating the 13-member committee was one of the best professional experiences of his life.

Starting Oct. 28, the group meets in-person weekly to vote on a top-25 list that will be released every Tuesday until the final rankings come out on Dec. 7.

They will determine the top four teams by considering strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, common opponents and who won their conference championships.

“Each committee member will work within those parameters to make their individual decisions,” Hancock said. “This process will not be a matter, as has been done in college football forever, of everybody submitting their list of top 25, somebody putting it into their computers and averaging the numbers. It will be much more sophisticated and deliberative than that ever was.

“Basically the voting process is to create a small list of teams that can be compared to each other, six to eight teams. They'll be analyzed backwards, forwards, any way you can think of.”

The semifinal games take place Jan. 1 and the championship game is Jan. 12. Hancock laid out a few scenarios of how the postseason would have been with a playoff in previous years.

In 2006, when there was debate over Florida or Michigan receiving the title game bid, those two would have played in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 semifinal while top-ranked Ohio State would have faced No. 4 LSU.

The Gators would have also had a shot in 2012, when they finished the regular season 11-1 and ranked third in the country. UF would have been matched up with No. 2 Alabama.

However, there is still the possibility that a semifinal game could feature two teams having a rematch (such as Michigan and Ohio State in 2006) or playing for a third time in a year (regular season, conference championship, postseason).

“It's absolutely based on the pure seedings — 1, 2, 3, 4,” Hancock said. “If that yields a rematch, or a third game even, then that's the way it will be.

“The committee will select the best four teams, period. No strings attached.”

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