College Football Playoff bracket could create rematches, even third game

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said selection committee members will not tweak seeds within the four-team bracket to avoid regular-season rematches when the new system debuts this postseason.

That varies from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, where seed lines occasionally are switched to prevent early matchups between teams that have met multiple times during the regular season.

In addition, Hancock acknowledged the system could produce an unprecedented third meeting in one season between schools if a pair of 12-1 teams split two previous games: one in the regular season, the other in a conference championship game.

“They won’t monkey with the pure seeds. There’s no dropping of lines in the College Football Playoff,” Hancock said during Wednesday’s session at the SEC media days. “If that yields a rematch, or a third game even, then that’s the way it will be.”

In setting the seeds, Hancock said the 13 members of the selection committee will meet on a weekly basis at CFP headquarters in Irving, starting in late October, and produce a weekly poll. But the weekly poll will not be a compilation of individual ballots, with points assigned for team placements, as is the case with the AP and coaches polls.

Instead, Hancock said the CFP poll will be a collaborative effort. Small groups of comparable teams will be discussed by committee members, with multiple votes taken for placement, in a process similar to the “scrubbing” of the NCAA basketball bracket.

“Basically, the voting process is to create ... six to eight teams. They’ll be analyzed any way you can think of,” Hancock said. “Then the committee will vote three or four of those teams into the rankings.”

The process will continue with additional team groupings until a collective poll is completed. The final rankings for the playoff field will be announced Dec. 7.

Johnny Role Model

Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk, the Tigers’ first-year starter, has spent much of his off-season studying videotapes of former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in hope of matching Johnny Football’s success as a newcomer to the lineup. Manziel won the 2012 Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman.

“He can change a game so quick,” Mauk said. “He can turn anything into something.”

Mauk said he hopes to do likewise this season. Mauk, a sophomore who backed up James Franklin last season, called Manziel “the best college football player to ever play the game.”

’Bama to Arlington

Alabama and USC have agreed to play in the 2016 Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, officials announced Wednesday. The contest will be Sept. 3, 2016. It will mark Alabama’s third appearance in the neutral-site showdown and the first for USC. Alabama defeated Michigan 41-14 in the 2012 contest and will open its 2015 season against Wisconsin in Arlington (Sept. 5, 2015).

This year’s Cowboys Classic, played Aug. 30, pits Florida State against Oklahoma State. The 2017 contest will match Florida and Michigan on Sept. 2, 2017.

Bielema favors game

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he favors extending the agreement to play the Texas A&M-Arkansas game on an annual basis at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The current agreement expires after the 2018 game, with the schools slated to play in JerryWorld the next four seasons. After A&M joined the SEC, the schools amended the agreement to play home-and-home games in 2012 and 2013 before returning to Arlington this season.

“That’s a huge recruiting advantage and one we need to capitalize on,” Bielema said of the annual opportunity to play a game in Texas in an NFL stadium. “Nobody else in the SEC can say that, except A&M. We go into Texas and try and recruit as many players as we can. We want to stay true with that tradition.”

Turkey Day treat

LSU running back Terrence Magee, the team’s top returning rusher (626 yards, eight TDs), said he welcomes the highest-profile fresh wrinkle on this year’s schedule: a season-ending game on Thanksgiving night at Texas A&M.

“I’ll miss getting a piece of my grandmother’s turkey,” Magee said. “But I’d much rather be playing football on Thanksgiving.”

Perry on SEC Network

The SEC Network will debut Aug. 14. A documentary called “The Stars Are Aligned” will air at 8 p.m. that night, featuring celebrities loyal to each of the 14 schools. Texas Gov. Rick Perry will talk about Texas A&M, his alma mater.

Jimmy Burch 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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