The College Football Playoff committee gave us No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Washington, and Bill Hancock is more than pleased with the committee’s work.
“Well, for the third year in a row, the committee got it right,” the College Football Playoff Executive Director said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Our charge is to get the best four teams, and we did that. (Debating) 4-5 was hard. We spent the most time talking about those teams. Actually, there were three, probably four teams that were in the hunt. But in that area of 3, 4, 5, 6, that’s where we spent most of our time.”
Especially with Penn State. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Championship but finished fifth in the final poll despite beating Ohio State in a head-to-head tilt in October.
“Penn State obviously gave us a lot to think about, a lot to talk about,” Hancock said. “Their performance in the second half of the championship game against Wisconsin was awesome. Nobody moved the ball all season on Wisconsin the way Penn State did in the second half, so it gave us a lot. Penn State, as you know, had the two losses – one to an 8-4 team and the other was a game in which they weren’t particularly competitive. Both teams gave committee members a lot to think about, but we got it right.”
Hancock said that even if Penn State had beaten Wisconsin in the neighborhood of 41-10 – as opposed to 38-31 – Ohio State will would have gotten in, but if Wisconsin had won, the Badgers would have “gotten a lot of consideration” for a playoff spot.
Lost in the shuffle, of course, is Michigan, which lost two if its final three games, including a 30-27 double-overtime heartbreaker in Columbus. Jim Harbaugh was unhappy with the officiating, but from the committee’s standpoint, the final score is the final score.
“We wouldn’t tweak the scoreboard,” Hancock said. “That’s beyond our purview. We know what happened in every game. We know about that play, we certainly know about Central Michigan/Oklahoma State, and the committee takes all that into consideration. But tweaking the scoreboard, no.”
Hancock also said that despite calls for expanding the playoff field to eight teams, the current format is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.
“Think about how much less compelling last weekend’s games would have been,” he said. “And we’d be talking 16 games if we went to eight. Man, oh man, we need to really be careful before we do that.”
In any event, a rematch of last year’s national title game could be on the horizon if Alabama beats Washington and if Clemson beats Ohio State.
The committee isn’t rooting for or against that.
“Rematches is something the committee doesn’t have to think about,” Hancock said. “All they do is rank the teams, and if it turns out to be a rematch, it turns out to be a rematch.”