Bill Hancock calls himself the “luckiest guy in sports.” That’s because he was the first full-time director of the NCAA Final Four, the first executive director of the BCS, and now he’s the first executive director of the College Football Playoff. That’s quite a career.
Hancock is quite pleased with how the CFP, which was unveiled in 2014, has unfolded thus far. And for those clamoring for an eight- or 16-team tournament, well, slow down and appreciate what Hancock has given the sport.
“We have a contract for this event in this format for 12 years and there’s no talk about changing it, so I don’t expect that to happen,” Hancock said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “At the end of the BCS time, we could feel the fatigue that people had with the BCS. The BCS did great things for college football. It gave us the chance for No. 1 and 2 to meet in a bowl game, which never was guaranteed before, as you know. But it was time to move on. People wanted a bracket. They weren’t comfortable with the selection process. So now it’s win-win. There’s a bracket, there’s a human committee making the decisions and we got off to a great start last year. It couldn’t have been any better.”
While the system still favors Power 5 teams, schools from other conferences have to love the new format.
“When we went from the BCS to the CFP, the biggest single beneficiary percentage-wise was those conferences that people call the Group of 5,” Hancock said. “They tripled their revenue from the BCS days. No other conference had that kind of increase. So big points in their favor. They are delighted to have what they have. They’re delighted with the system and they’re glad to be a part of it. Market factors did come into play with the revenue distribution. I can’t say anything else other than that. That happens to be the truth.
“(But) this College Football Playoff gives them a much better opportunity than they ever had with the BCS,” Hancock continued. “First of all, they’re guaranteed a spot in a top-tier bowl game. They didn’t have that in the BCS. Wonderful opportunity, great forum for them. And of course with a four-team tournament, that’s two more slots and they’re in the hunt. . . . Play a good schedule, win your games, be good like some of those teams are this year. Absolutely they’re going to be in the hunt.”
Hancock is also quite pleased with the committee.
“We didn’t do anything more important when we created the playoff than picking the people for this committee,” he said. “High integrity, terrific reputations, know the game, bright people. The conference commissioners were each invited to nominate 10 people and then we just went through the names. But the key was high integrity. And then the second thing was diversity of background and geographic diversity. We wanted people who looked at this differently.”
The committee features former players, former coaches, athletic directors and even a journalist, among others.
“We have a great balance and we get lots of different opinions,” Hancock said, “and boy, do they ever state their opinions. The conversations are very pointed.”