CFP Committee Chair: We’ve Seen Four Is The Right Number

The College Football Playoff committee claims it does not reward margin of victory, but Bobby Petrino isn’t so sure. The Louisville head coach believes that his team, which debuted at No. 7 and is No. 6 this week, will have to blow teams out to impress the committee.

The committee, however, insists that isn’t the case.

“We watch these games and we see how the teams play,” College Football Playoff Committee Chair and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “A convincing victory in the game of football is not easy to define. A convincing win in one particular game could be a 13-0 outcome. It could be a 14-3 outcome. In a different game, it could be 35-14. So it’s hard to define what a convincing win is, but when you see it, you know it, and we do not incent margin of victory in any way. But there are convincing wins in the game of football, and we see those as a selection committee, but (we) never would incent margin of victory in a particular outcome.”

Louisville (8-1) has just one loss this season. The Cardinals lost, 42-36, at Clemson on Oct. 1, this after Deshaun Watson led a late touchdown drive.

Louisville is still very much in the playoff race but will need help down the stretch.

“This year it’s interesting,” Hocutt said. “When you look at teams seven though 19, we have 10 two-loss teams there, as well as a one-loss West Virginia team and a three-loss Florida State team this week. There’s so much parity, such small separation, occurring in there. And No. 5 Ohio State, with one loss, and No. 6 Louisville with one loss, all very good football teams.”

Hocutt explained the committee’s selection process for listeners.

“When we come into the room, we will each enter the 30 teams that we believe deserve consideration for the top 25,” he began. “Any team that receives three or more votes goes on our big board. From that point, usually we have 33 to 35 teams on the board. We’ll be asked to rank, in no particular, the six teams that we believe should be at the top. When we have six teams on the board, we will start debating, we will start comparing, teams against each other before we will ultimately each select in our own personal opinion who teams one, two and three are. So you list teams that you believe deserve consideration, and from that point, we debate and compare those teams to one another before ultimately voting on teams one, two and three and working our way through the top 25.”

While many people have clamored for the playoff to expand from four to eight teams – at least during the first year or two – that argument seems to have quieted a bit.

“I think four is the right number, but (I) also (recognize) that that conversation, that decision, is not within the purview of the selection committee,” Hocutt said. “That would be a discussion amongst the management committee. So our focus each and every week is to rank the top teams in the country. That’s plenty of work and for us to do each and every week, it keeps us plenty busy. But I will say as a former college football player, you get to the end of the season, and I haven’t yet once seen a young man say, ‘Boy, I wish I could play more games.’ I just think that once you get into 14 games from 12 regular-season (games), a conference championship, a semifinal, a possible national championship – that’s a long season. I think we’ve seen four is the right number.”

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