ATLANTA – College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock addressed University of Central Florida’s self-proclaimed national title Wednesday at SEC Media Days.
“For the College Football Playoff, it’s simple: play a good schedule, win your games, and you’re going to be in the hunt,” said Hancock.
After going undefeated in the 2017 season and not making it to the four-team national championship playoff, the UCF Knights argued that they were not given a fair chance because they aren’t from a Power Five conference.
Hancock addressed a hypothetical question about whether going undefeated for a second year in a row would land UCF in the playoff.
“Last year has no bearing on this year,” said Hancock.
Hancock also said there has been “no talk of an expansion” to bring more teams into the playoff. He listed the benefits of having a four-team playoff: more focus on the regular season, the alignment with “the framework of higher education,” and keeping the bowl experience for countless student-athletes.
“The CFP works, and it works well,” he said.
Hancock said the playoff has an 80 percent approval rating and has instilled a “culture of diligence, integrity, and hard work.”
The next national title game will be Jan. 7, 2019, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The semifinals will be played Dec. 29, hosted by the Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas) and Orange Bowl (Miami)
Coming to Alabama
Missouri will play in Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first time since joining the SEC when the Tigers visit in October. They acknowledge they’re playing college football’s powerhouse program, but aren’t too worked up about it.
“It’s a big deal, but we’re more focused on UT-Martin,” linebacker Terez Hall said, referencing Mizzou’s season-opening opponent. “Like last year, we forgot about Missouri State and almost lost that game. … I understand we’ve got Alabama, they’re a prestige team, but I’m not even focused on them right now.”
Quarterback Drew Lock sounded more enthused.
“Of course, I don’t know why I wouldn’t be looking forward to going to Bama, that’s awesome,” he said. “ I don’t remember what week it is, but I’ll be ready for it. I’m excited. It’ll be cool.”
Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s defensive coordinator last season, is now head coach at Tennessee. Butch Jones, Tennessee’s head coach last season, is now an analyst at Alabama.
Tennessee players say their new coach is taking a hard-nosed approach.
“He does not play,” Tennessee receiver Marquez Callaway said of Pruitt. “You hear that all the time, but I’m telling you it’s the God-honest truth.”
Alabama running back Damien Harris welcomes Jones as a member of the Crimson Tide.
“I think he’s going to do a great job as an analyst,” Harris said. “Whatever his job – I don’t really know exactly what an analyst is supposed to do, but whatever he is supposed to do I’m sure he’ll do it at a very high level.”
Tommy Deas and James Ogletree contributed to this report