For once, Bill Hancock speaketh the truth.
The committee’s protocol went out the window this year, but in came a breath of fresh air — the reminder that finding the four best teams overrides anything else in the committee handbook.
Well, except for getting back to the old tried and true of letting coaches, with all their attendant biases and prejudices, have an oversized impact on setting the postseason field.
Those five former coaches in the room? They know how hard it is to win a conference title, and the value of a head-to-head win, but their voices in the room were influential in guiding the committee beyond resumes and into the talent.
“As we looked to our coaches to share their perspective on what they saw on the field,” Hocutt said, “it was determined that Washington was the more talented team.”
Hell, they may be right about that, for all I know. But I thought the point to all this was to reduce the possibility of… oh, forget it.
The committee had reasons for every decision it made. It just wasn’t in sync with what we heard the first two years, when so much emphasis was placed on conference title games (Ohio State, 2014) and head-to-head results (TCU-Baylor, 2014).
But just when you think it overlooked its protocol, there is an example of how the committee followed it.
“I’m not sure Ohio State would have been in the [playoff] this year,” Hancock said, “if it hadn’t gone and played Oklahoma.”
So strength of schedule does matter. And it can be overcome.
“But I believe, I feel strongly about this, that the way to be sure you get in the playoff is to let your players show what they can do against the best competition,” Hancock said. “I don’t envision that part of it changing.”
I’m not sure it’s possible to jam more contradictions in a five-paragraph stretch than that.
The good news is if you expand the playoffs enough, nobody will care any more. Brackets, for the win!