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Oklahoma State Football

Bill Hancock on CFP Becoming BlueBlood Only Event: "I won't let that happen"

July 31, 2022

ARLINGTON, Texas – Back to Big 12 Football Media Days and we had the chance to speak with College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock. Since then the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and most recently, the Pac-12 have had their media days and the opinions of conference realignment and how it might pertain to the ongoing discussions and eventual decision on expanding the CFP have been wide ranging.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was all for the expansion a year ago. He was on the focus group that came up with the 12-team format. Of course, he worked with then Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and that summer swiped Bowlsby and the Big 12’s top two branded schools in Oklahoma and Texas. That started the pushback from the Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 that formed The Alliance. This summer the Big Ten proved how flimsy and worthless The Alliance was by grabbing USC and UCLA from the Pac-12.

Now the expansion of the CFP is up in the air. Some schools seem ready to get it done, others are still in slow motion.

Zachary Lancaster
Bill Hancock sitting with us in Arlington.

“Three conferences weren’t ready to expand last summer, but we’re in a good quiet time right now where we can reflect and examine and we’ll pick up the discussion here relatively soon,” Hancock told me in Arlington.

He thinks the CFP could expand before the four years are up, although that would take unanimous vote by all the conferences. He is certain that it will expand before the current contract expires because at that point the vote won’t have to be unanimous and you get the sense that Hancock knows among the conference leaders and including Jack Swarbrick, athletic director at Notre Dame that there is support to expand. In fact, the numbers have swelled as in the Big Ten, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, a powerful voice, floated expanding to 16 teams.

While the number of teams in the playoff is varied by who you talk to, it seems the more passionate argument will be how the teams make it in. Automatic qualifiers, of which there were six, in the plan put out in front of everybody last summer, is a big variable, ranging from Sankey and the SEC preferring no automatic bids to most conferences favoring as many as six or eight.

My biggest question for Hancock, who was a former associate commissioner of the Big Eight back in the day, was keeping schools like Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor, and so fourth in the mix to make the playoffs and be relevant in a world that keeps increasingly moving toward two super conferences. Hancock made a promise.

“I’ll fight for that,” Hancock said. “Everybody will fight for that. People realize that we need broad base support for college football.”

Then Hancock brought up the Big 12 Championship Game last season with Oklahoma State and Baylor and how he and the CFP selection committee members were watching it together and how tense that was at the finish.

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
The CFP absolutely did Oklahoma State a solid with the Fiesta Bowl  bid.

I told Hancock it was pretty tense where I was standing too, but I added the committee gave Oklahoma State and all Cowboy fans a great runner-up prize by sending them to Phoenix for that Fiesta Bowl date with Notre Dame.

“I was sitting there with the (CFP) committee thinking what would Robert like,” Hancock joked.

Yeah, I’m not believing that, but I’m trusting that Hancock, one of the most influential persons in all of college sports will keep the promise of the fight. Whether Oklahoma State ends up in a power conference or not, I want to see some of these schools that I’ve grown to admire stay in the fight.

Discussion from...

Bill Hancock on CFP Becoming BlueBlood Only Event: "I won't let that happen"

703 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 15 days ago by NJAggie
Joe Khatib
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While I love hearing those words from Bill Hancock, RIP Will Hancock, I just don't think he has that type of power, but I wish he did!!!
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It's a clown show if they give two teams byes if/when they go to 12 teams, which is doofy to begin with. Either do it w/ 8 or 16. Giving a couple of teams byes gives them the best shot to get into the finals. I'm sure they'll do it to ensure two $EC teams get into the finals or at least one.

College football is turning into a clown show w/ these super conferences, NIL, playoffs staying the way they are, etc.

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The 12 team playoff would have 4 teams getting byes not 2.

It sounds like 16 is the new choice anyway. At least for now. I do think he means what he said, but I doubt he's got the power to stop it. The good thing is I don't see the B1G & SEC wanting to divorce the rest of cfb. They need everyone else involved to maintain the national nature of the game. Although it looks like it may wind up being a full rankings based selection, with no AQ's.
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