SAN JOSE, Calif. — College Football Playoff talk grew heated leading up to Clemson’s championship game win over Alabama on Monday night.
The College Football Playoff is five years into its 12-year contract with ESPN, no change is in sight, and CFP executive director Bill Hancock makes no apologies for the system.
“Go play a good schedule and win your games, you’re going to be in the discussion,” Hancock said. “Four has been very good for college football.
“People didn’t like the BCS; people really like the College Football Playoff.”
Certainly, the college presidents on the CFP board of managers made it clear they approve of the system after convening in San Jose on Monday.
Georgia football fans, however, had their questions after the Bulldogs were left out in favor of Oklahoma.
DawgNation asked Hancock if more transparency was needed on the CFP Selection Committee with athletic directors from Florida and Georgia Tech affecting decisions behind closed doors that involve their rival, Georgia.
“That’s not a factor, they check their hats at the door, and when they go in that room they represent the game as a whole,” Hancock said. “The issue with the committee is maintaining candor inside the room. You want the committee members to be candid and share their thoughts with each other. So I wouldn’t anticipate that element changing.”
ESPN analyst Chris Fowler said there’s room to speculate on the CFP Committee makeup and transparency.
“There’s always potential, people will never believe that any committee can check it’s bias at the door,” Fowler said. (But) I do give them the benefit of the doubt, and I think what they’ve produced in the first five years are pretty sound brackets that for me don’t speak of bias.
“Transparency is an interesting idea, I don’t know how much it would change the process to say, ‘Hey, this guy voted these four in this order, this guy voted this way,’ “ he said. “Like any process, they would find the secret ballot to be valuable, because it gets so personal. Say a given committee member voted Oklahoma 5, not 4, now they become a public target.
“I understand where you could say that’s part of the job, but I don’t know the nature of the narrative these days, it doesn’t help me to know which guy voted which way. The bottom line is 13 people put together their minds and they came up with this list.”
Many, most notably Fowler’s ESPN broadcasting partner Kirk Herbstreit, charged that the CFP Selection Committee allowed the process to become political.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told DawgNation that while he may not necessarily agree with the results, he respects the process and the committee.
“The selection committee has to speak for its decision making, and I respect that, and we may all have different views, but when the four-team playoff, and the College Football Playoff Selection committee was established, there was a clear expectation that people would have different views,” Sankey said.
“When we look at basketball, and you finish with 68 teams, there’s a different view over who was 69, and 68, so the fact that there’s different views over four and five is not at all a surprise,” Sankey said. “My view is the selection committee has fulfilled it’s charge, and that is to find the four best teams based on the information.
“Does everyone agree with that? No. Might I have different views year to year? Sure, but I respect the selection committee has probably fulfilled it’s role, and I think they’ve done that on a consistent basis even though people may have different views of those outcomes.”
Georgia’s argument that it belonged in the College Football Playoff took a blow when the Bulldogs lost to Texas 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia, however, was missing its best defensive back (Deandre Baker), pass rusher (OLB D’Andre Walker) and a key defensive lineman (Freshman All-American nose guard Jordan Davis).
Indeed, SEC legend Tim Tebow had correctly predicted the Bulldogs would have a hard time finding motivation for the Sugar Bowl.
“You can talk about the inconsistency of the messaging or the criteria, I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Fowler said. “But I understand the criticism of it, especially if your team’s getting left out, that’s never going to change, even with eight teams, the ninth and 10th teams are going to get pissed off.”
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