CFP evaluating protocols amid schedule changes

  • College football reporter
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2007
  • Graduate of Indiana University

The College Football Playoff is evaluating a new timetable for its selection committee meetings, and it will reconsider its protocols for the 2020 season, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Thursday.

The CFP’s evaluations follow the SEC’s decision to delay its start of the season until Sept. 26.

“Since there won’t be as many nonconference games as normal, certain tools used by the committee, such as head-to-head results and results against common opponents, will have limitations this year,” Hancock said. “Evaluating strength of schedule will also be different.

“I don’t see the potential difference in the number of games teams play as a significant factor. Fact is, the committee has dealt successfully with that nearly every season.”

Hancock’s comments follow a swirl of changes to the college football schedule in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC all announced they are going to a conference-only schedule.

“As you know, the major nonconference games — such as both Ohio State vs. Oklahomas, Auburn vs. Oregon, Georgia vs. Notre Dame, and on and on — have been important in the committee’s discussions week after week,” Hancock said.

“This year will be different. Golly, it will be challenging. But the committee is built to handle it. The fundamental mission has not changed — that is, rank the best four teams based on the schedules that the conferences play. And that is why the committee comprises these 13 football experts.”

Another significant difference for the CFP this fall is Notre Dame’s ability to play for a conference title. The ACC announced Wednesday it would use an 11-game schedule, which includes FBS independent Notre Dame, playing a full league schedule made up of 10 conference games and one nonconference game.

“Yes, Notre Dame will have a chance to play for all four tie-breakers — adding conference championships won this year,” Hancock said. “But it’s premature to predict the effect. The significance of that will be borne out by how the committee evaluates every team’s performance on the field this season.”

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