home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 22, 2014

Bill Hancock


BILL HANCOCK:  Good morning, everybody.  We're here today just for a little discussion of college football playoffs.  If you will, we'll call it college football playoff 101, and to conclude we'll talk about how the committee is putting the teams into Bowl games.
We are starting a new era.  We just passed a couple of important anniversaries.  June26th was the second birthday of the playoff.  June26th, 2012, was the date the president created it.  And July12th, we were six months away from the first championship game at AT&T Stadium.  So two exciting days for us.
The format of this playoff is very simple.  The best four teams, two semifinals in Bowl games, and the championship game at an iconic stadium around the country.
We're delighted to be playing the first championship game here in Dallas.  I can't think of a better place for it than AT&T Stadium.  Not only is it a beautiful stadium, but it's extremely well managed and, of course, folks in the Metroplex, folks in Texas love their college football.
The committee will choose the best four teams, period.  When teams look equal, there are four broad criteria they use:  strength of schedule, head‑to‑head results, results against common opponents, and whether the team won the conference championship.
We feel like this gives us the best of both worlds.  It preserves the regular season, and ours is the best in sports.
You know the identity of college football is Saturdays.  Saturdays.  Not some end‑of‑season giant tournament, but Saturdays.  And we wouldn't have it any other way.
And the new playoff will allow us to keep that.  We will have back‑to‑back triple‑headers on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  This will change the paradigm of New Year's Eve in this country.
When we go to our New Year's Eve parties, they better have a television set or we're not going to go, period.  And of course the National Championship game will be played on a Monday night each year.  This year it is January12th, right here.  We're going to have a great celebration of the game for the weekend leading up to the championship game.  Great celebration of college football unlike anything that's ever happened before.  So we're very pleased with the Monday night date and looking forward to getting going on this.
The playoff provides universal access.  There's no more automatic qualification.  And, yes, everyone benefits financially.  The conference has managed this event just like they manage the BCS.  We have a board of managers that's composed of presidents and chancellors from the ten conferences and also Notre Dame.  And then the management committee that handles the day‑to‑day responsibilities is made up of the conference commissioners including Commissioner Bowlsby.  We take counsel from lots of different groups‑‑ athletic directors, business managers, directors of football operations, communications directors, and Tiger Richardson.
We do have a small staff here in an office out in Las Colinas in Irving.  If you have any time when you're in the Dallas area, please come by and see us.  We'd love to show you the college office.  We talk college 24/7, and you'd be an honored guest if you come by see us.
We have a community outreach program we're proud of.  It's called Extra Yards for Teachers.  We wanted to do something for the good of society, and we covered a lot of ground when we were thinking about what to do about this.
But there are schoolteachers buying Crayolas for their students because the district can't afford them, and we want to put a stop to that.  We want to do our part in stopping that.
So Extra Yards for Teachers will receive money from the playoff every year, and we'll also be soliciting funds from some of our sponsors and others.  We feel very strongly about this program, and we hope you'll support it any way you can.
Let's talk about the selection committee for a second.  The committee's mission is to select the best four teams.  When we selected the committee, we had five classifications in mind.  All of those are represented‑‑ student‑athletes, coaches, university administrators, media, and sitting athletic directors.  I think you know the names of the members.  They've been up on the screen and in the press.  This is an all‑star team, delightful group of people with integrity who love the game and who are going to commit a tremendous amount of time to making this playoff work.
They'll be coming to Dallas, to the Gaylord Texan, actually, out in Irving for six weeks during the regular season starting October 27.  They'll be meeting two days and putting out a rankings each Tuesday evening.  And then Selection Sunday, fittingly, will be Sunday, December7th.
They have a voting system that's very detailed, very disciplined.  And this is all explained on our website.  If I can give a little commercial for the site, I'd like to.  It's just collegefootballplayoff.com.  Please go there and find out anything you need to know about this new playoff.
There are back‑to‑back triple‑headers, as you see on the screen.  The first year we have New Year's Eve games at the Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl.  And the next day, New Year's Day, Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, with the semifinals being in those latter two.
There's a rotation for hosting the semifinals among the Bowl games.  It's on the screen there.  You can also find it on the website.
And we unveiled a new trophy a week ago.  We are very proud of this trophy.  Took the logo to a design company.  We have a cool logo.  The fans chose it online, and we'd like to some way transfer the message from the logo into a trophy.  And the trophy company did exactly what we wanted.  We're very pleased with this, and we think it will be an icon for this game for many years to come.
Championship sites.  AT&T Stadium first, but right after that the second year is Phoenix and the third year is Tampa.  A year from now, probably finishing up next September, we'll be selecting the sites for the championship games for years four, five, and maybe also six.
We have a bracket.  When we went into this, we wanted to preserve the regular season, which is the best in sports, keep those Saturdays in mind, and also preserve the Bowl experience.
But we did hear the fans that wanted a bracket and wanted to watch more football.  And they have their bracket.
Please don't hesitate to call us anytime you have any questions.  We love talking about this game.  We're very honored to be involved with it.
And we're going to switch our screen now to a different one that will show you the exercise.  So bear with us just a second.  I will say that the committee members have met three times‑‑ once in Washington D.C. and twice here in Dallas.  They are coming together as a team.  They have an able leader in Jeff Long, athletics director from the University of Arkansas.  It's been fun to watch them come to know each other and jab each other and laugh.  And they're all anticipating the challenge that's ahead of them.
They know their task will not be easy.  But they also know they're going to be disciplined about it and they're going to have courage and they are going to pick the best four teams.
Here's an exercise in what we're going to ask you to do is pretend like you're the selection committee and this is Sunday morning, December 7.  You're out at the Gaylord Texan hotel.  You have finished your rankings.  On the left‑hand side are the rankings.  These are hypothetical.  They're exercises.  We try to change them up every time we do this to challenge ourselves and make ourselves think.  The committee has done this two or three or four times.  The management committee has also done it.
We found it's been very good for us.  Every year is different.  The years are like snowflakes; they all come out differently.
But this is to give you a little guidance on how the selection committee will operate after they finish seeding the teams and now it's time to put them in the bracket.  The yellow highlighted teams are conference champions.  And the green highlighted team in the exercise here would be the champion of the Mountain West Conference, UA, Sun Belt, MAC, and American Athletic.  Their highest ranked champion has an automatic birth in the Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowls if they're not in the playoff.
So let's get right to it.  The first thing the committee will do is will be to put the teams in the semifinals.  You can see the top four here:  Ohio State, Florida, LSU, and Michigan.  Excuse me, I stated those in the wrong order.  Michigan is third and LSU is fourth.
One of the challenges, the charges of the committee will be to protect the No. 1 seed to the extent possible, and that means let them play as close to home as possible or, in another way of saying it, not have them play in front of a hostile crowd.
Well, the first‑year semifinals are Rose and Sugar.  LSU, No. 4, would have the crowd in New Orleans, so we're going to send Ohio State and LSU to play out at the Rose Bowl.  Obviously Big Ten fits very well in the Rose Bowl also.  So that sends the Florida‑Michigan game to the Sugar Bowl.
The next thing the committee would do would be to notify the Orange Bowl of the rankings, and the Orange Bowl then would tell us their selections.  So the ACC champion contracted to the Orange bowl is Louisville.  The other part of that matchup contracted is that the Orange Bowl will take the highest ranked nonchampion that's available from the SEC, Big Ten, or Notre Dame.  In this case, it would be Wisconsin.  So we're set up with a Louisville‑Wisconsin match‑up in the Orange Bowl.
Now the committee's attention will turn its attention to the Cotton, Peach, and Fiesta.  And the six teams that have to go into those are No. 5, USC, and 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
I think in this case the first thing the committee would do would be to fill the Fiesta.  You have a natural West matchup with Boise State and USC.  So they would plug those two teams, I believe, into the Fiesta Bowl.
Now we have four teams left to fill the Peach and Cotton:  Florida State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Baylor.  It seems most likely that Florida State is the highest ranked of this group would remain at the Peach Bowl, the closest place.  Their opponent, most likely ‑‑ the committee has plenty of choices here.  The only thing they can't do is match up Oklahoma and Baylor.  But Florida State could either play Notre Dame, Oklahoma, or Baylor.
And I think, just thinking about this, a lot of ways it could go, I would think the committee most likely would put Florida State and Baylor in the Peach.  They would do this to allow Oklahoma as the next highest ranked team to also stay close to home.  So that would set up an Oklahoma‑Notre Dame matchup in the Cotton Bowl.
As you can see, these are terrific matchups.  This is what the new playoff is designed to do, not only pick the first four but also set up attractive matchups in the other games, and they would have done that in this first year of the playoff.
But every year is different.  And let's go through an exercise of the second year.  And this year the Cotton and Orange are hosting the semifinals‑‑ LSU, Stanford, Alabama, Oklahoma State.  LSU‑Stanford, LSU is the highest seed.  Cotton and Orange for them.  Most likely the committee would send LSU here to the Metroplex.  Lots of LSU fans in this area; easy trip for them.  So we'll plug the LSU‑Stanford game here into the Cotton Bowl.  And then Alabama and Oklahoma State in the Orange Bowl.
Obviously these semifinal matchups are intriguing.  Even though they're hypothetical, it's fun to think about how these teams would line up and what would happen.
The next thing that would happen would be the Rose and Sugar would then fill the other half of their games.  Let me see.  The Rose Bowl has lost‑‑ actually in this exercise, yes, they lost the champion Stanford.  So Oregon would go in there to play the Big Ten champion, Wisconsin.  Rose Bowl would take the next highest ranked team, that's why Oregon, and then Big Ten champion, Wisconsin.
Sugar Bowl.  Sugar Bowl lost the Big 12 champion Oklahoma State.  The next highest ranked Big 12 team would be Kansas State.  So we'll plug them into the Sugar Bowl to play.  Also the SEC lost not only their champion but their second place team.  So the next highest ranked team from the SEC would be Arkansas.  So that sets up a matchup between K‑State and Arkansas, the Sugar Bowl.
Now we have two Bowls remaining, Fiesta and Peach.  And the four teams are Boise, Arizona, Wisconsin is already in, and No. 11, Virginia Tech, and No. 12, Baylor.
Interesting decision for the committee here, because Boise State played in the Fiesta Bowl last year against Pac‑12 opponent I believe on our exercise.  And the committee is charged with not sending a team to a particular bowl too many times either in a row or over a certain period of time.
So I think rather than matching up Boise State in the Fiesta this year, my guess would be the committee would send them to the Peach, just so they don't have to go back to back.
Now, the other three teams‑‑ Arizona, Virginia Tech, and Baylor.  Arizona, highest rank of that group, seems to be a natural for the Fiesta.  So we'll plug them in there.  Baylor and Virginia Tech.  Virginia Tech probably would be a little more suited to go to Peach than Baylor would be to go to Peach.  So we'll plug Virginia Tech into the Peach and we'll send Baylor out to play Arizona.
This is a really good example of what the committee would face.  And they'll talk about this for a long, long time figuring how do we avoid rematches, how do we get the best matchup in the game.
And I think this is what they would likely do in this year.
It's important to remember when the Bowls lose their champion, conference Bowls lose their champion to a playoff they select, it's their choice, not the committee's choice.  When Rose Bowl loses a Pac‑12 team, they would select their replacement.
Anyway, that's how year two looks, and you get a feeling for how different the years are.
And here comes year three, which is yet again different.
Semifinals in year three are at the Peach and Fiesta.  Notre Dame, Oregon, Alabama, Florida.  And again an interesting dilemma for the committee.  Notre Dame‑Oregon.  They would discuss whether or not the Fiesta would create a home field advantage for Oregon.  It's a long way from Eugene to Phoenix, and I suspect the committee would decide to let Notre Dame‑Oregon game happen in the Fiesta Bowl.  Although there would be a lot of talk about this.
They would consider who is better for the Peach.  They would consider Oregon's travel to some extent since there's really not a technical home field advantage for them, and I think at the end of the day they would put Notre Dame and Oregon in the Fiesta, leaving Alabama and Florida to play in the Peach.  Obviously a great destination for both of those fans.
A word about rematches.  The rematch clause does not apply to the playoff.  The committee will match 1, 4, 2, 3, regardless of rematches, and it will be a fewer seeding and there will not be any adjustments.
You know how we used to do it in the basketball tournament‑‑ we still do‑‑ where a team could be moved up or down a line to fit the needs of the bracketing principles.  That won't happen in college football.  They'll fall where they may.
So that's why you see this Alabama‑Florida game, which we will assume was a rematch.  Rematches are a factor for the Cotton, Peach, and Fiesta but not for the semifinals.  It's an important fact to remember.
The next thing that will happen will be that Cotton and Rose Bowl will fill their teams, fill their spots, and Sugar Bowl, conference champion Kansas State can go there.  SEC team, they've lost Alabama, they lost Florida.  So the next highest ranked SEC team to play is LSU.  So the Sugar Bowl would choose LSU to play against Kansas State.
Obviously the matter of teams returning to Bowls multiple times does not apply to the contract bowls.  Kansas State earned the spot by winning the championship, so they will go back to the Sugar Bowl.  Rose Bowl has Big Ten champion Nebraska.  Pac‑12 side, their champion is available.  Goofed me up for this exercise by saying that the champion, Oregon, No. 6, is the champion, but ‑‑ I'm sorry, that Oregon, No. 4, is the nonchampion.  So I think what we were assuming when we did the exercise is that Stanford was about 8‑4 but won the conference championship game but Oregon stayed higher in the standings.
At any rate, Stanford would go as Pac‑12 champion to the Rose Bowl.  Then Orange Bowl fills its spot, Florida State is the champion.  And when you look through it, the highest ranked nonchampion from the SEC, Big Ten, or Notre Dame is No. 9, Texas A&M.  So we've got a Florida State‑Texas A&M matchup in the Orange Bowl.  In this third year, only the Cotton Bowl is available.  We know one slot has to go to Northern Illinois, the highest ranked champion from those five conferences that don't have New Year's Day bowl contracts.  So Northern Illinois is plugged in and they will play against the highest ranked team by the committee, available team.
So if you scoot down here, Kansas State is in.  Stanford is in.  No. 7, Texas, is not in yet.  So Texas would play in the Cotton Bowl in this example against Northern Illinois.
That's how it will work.  That's what the committee will face every Selection Sunday of every year, and that gives you an idea about how different the years are and how much committee will be challenged and what a tremendous opportunity that they will have to place these teams in.
I also hope you can see from the matchups that we're going to have some great and exciting matchups in all of our Bowl games.
I don't know how we're doing on time.

Q.  Hypothetically, let's say that Oregon is 5 in this scenario here, doesn't get into the four‑team playoff.  Stanford is the conference champion, Stanford gets the automatic bid then, correct?
BILL HANCOCK:  Correct.  Conference champion goes to the Rose Bowl.

Q.  And then, secondly, was there any discussion ‑‑ obviously under the BCS, no more than two teams could go to a‑‑ from a conference could go to a BCS Bowl.  Was there any discussion implementing that rule or if the third best after two teams make the four‑team playoff is good enough, they're in?
BILL HANCOCK:  There was discussion about that.  There was lots active discussion about that.  But at the end of the day, the group said no strings attached.  The best four teams in the playoff and the next best teams go play in the Cotton, Fiesta, Peach Bowls.
So, no, they concluded pretty early on in the conversation that the two‑team limit would be gone.  So no limit on the number of teams from the conference.

Q.  Just want to be clear, I know we discussed this a few months ago, but in the case of UCLA this year, let's say finishing third, could you then have a situation of the No. 2 team having to go play UCLA at the Rose Bowl, basically their home field out there?  Is that a possible situation?
BILL HANCOCK:  Who was 1 and 4 when we talked about this?  It depends on who is 1 and 4.

Q.  If you do have an SEC team‑‑ let's say for hypothetical you have an SEC team and you want to put them in the Sugar Bowl to reward them, what would the‑‑ I guess the consideration be in that scenario?
BILL HANCOCK:  In that situation, you've taken care of No. 1, they've earned it during the regular season, and 2 and 3 have to go to the other game.  So there won't be any discussion of it.
So in that example UCLA will go, who was No. 2, whoever it was, would play UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297