“The one that’s probably most significant in everyone’s mind is the lack of those marquee intersectional games,” Hancock said. “Just look back at the games that were important to the committee through the years — Notre Dame-Georgia, the two Oklahoma-Ohio State games, Oregon-Auburn — and the committee won’t have that this year.”

Among the planned games this year that were lost: Alabama-Southern California, Ohio State at Oregon and a Wisconsin-Notre Dame showdown at Lambeau Field.

That’s right.

“It’s in the discretion of each of the 13 members, and keep in mind no one knows how many games any team will play this season,” Hancock said. “Each individual member considers what’s most important to him or her. People talk about the committee as a singular unit; really, it’s plural: It’s 13 members making individual decisions.”

Although conferences have imposed requirements for teams to reach league championships, the committee has no threshold for how many games a team must play to be eligible for the playoff.

“The number of games and wins by each team is certainly important in weighing its ranking, but it is not the only factor,” the Playoff said on its website. The Playoff added, “The more games played, the more chances a team has to prove itself to the committee.”

Not this year, at least. But it could certainly be bigger in future seasons.

Gary Barta, the athletic director at Iowa, leads the selection committee. Other members include the athletic directors at Arkansas State, Colorado, Florida, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Wyoming, as well as a professor at Arizona. Ken Hatfield, who led the football programs at Air Force, Arkansas, Clemson and Rice, is a member, as is R.C. Slocum, who coached Texas A&M.

Ronnie Lott, the former Southern California star, and John Urschel, who played at Penn State, sit on the panel. Raymond T. Odierno, the retired general who was the U.S. Army chief of staff, is also a member.



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