Even though the BCS is still the law of the college football land, the start of the four-team playoff next season has created a buzz.
That was evident Wednesday morning during a national teleconference with BCS executive director Bill Hancock. The Oklahoma native will take over the administration of the playoff when it begins next season, and most of the questions he fielded were about that new system.
Q: Where are you on the playoff selection committee? How far along are you?
A: “We're making progress on the selection committee. We're not finished. But I'm in the process of making calls to prospective committee members, and it's going quite well. Everything is on target. We've got a lot more talking to do, and it's going to take awhile, and that's why we don't have a deadline. It's really too soon to say when we'll be finished, but we all feel good about where we are.”
There's a meeting of the Collegiate Commissioners Association in late September. Might you have something by then, some names or anything?
“Don't know. Wouldn't be right to speculate.”
Is there any more solid number on how big the selection committee will be?
“Twelve to 18 is the number we're talking about now.”
The commissioners decided not to have a dry run of the playoff system this season. Why was that?
“Two things. First of all, we wanted to make sure the BCS was foremost. Nothing distracted from the BCS. Those teams that are kicking off (Thursday night), I don't think those student-athletes care a bit about the playoff. Their goal is to get into the BCS game, and we don't want to diminish that at all by creating some sort of a shadow cabinet for the playoff.
“The process is going to require a significant time commitment on the part of the committee members. We just didn't want to put them in the position of rehearsing to put on ‘The Sound of Music' and then not getting to put on ‘The Sound of Music.'”
The site for the 2016 and 2017 national championship games have not been announced. Are you still planning on an announcement later this year, and have the parameters for the selection of those sites remained the same?
“We sent the (request for proposal) to 15 or 16 cities, and the deadline for responding is Sept. 27. Judging by the questions we received from folks in different cities, there is significant interest in this.
“Let's talk about the criteria for a second. In addition to the 65,000 seats ... a city cannot host the championship game in a year it hosts the semifinals. We look at broad categories, things like lodging. The overall stadium itself, not just the seating capacity but the user-friendliness of the stadium. Airline arrivals and departures in the city every day. And then the ability of the city to put on an event of this nature. I do think the cities that are in the mix for this have demonstrated either through the Final Four or Super Bowl or other significant events that they do have that infrastructure, that human infrastructure within the city to put on the event. But that is a significant factor that we'll be looking at.”