ATLANTA — College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock believes he will see two teams from the same conference playing in his event.
He’s just not quite ready to speculate when it will happen.
If Tuesday’s third CFP release was the final one this year, Hancock would be bracing for history. Clemson and Miami are locked into the second and third spots. Alabama is ranked first and Oklahoma is fourth.
“One of the beautiful things about the playoffs is there are no strings attached,” Hancock said. “It’s just simply the best four teams, whoever they name.”
In the three-season history of the event, there has never been two teams from the same conference to make the same four-team field. Just a week ago, the SEC had the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the polls, before the Georgia Bulldogs got trounced by Auburn.
“I think that gives us a pure bracket,” Hancock said. “It expands the committee’s horizons where they were empowered to select the best 4 teams.”
Alabama (10-0) appears in the best situation from the SEC to make the CFP for a record fourth consecutive season. But Georgia (9-1) and Auburn (8-2) all will have their shot over the next three weeks to win their way into the fourth-ever CFP national championship and the first set for Atlanta.
If any of the SEC teams can win three straight games culminating with the Dec. 2 SEC championship in Atlanta, they will be certain to make the field. The other two teams might need some help to get there.
But it’s not necessarily something that Hancock will rule out ever happening.
“Someday there will be a two-loss team in the playoffs,” said Hancock, who was in Atlanta for a CFP press conference on Wednesday. “I suspect there will be two teams from the same conference. But when that will happen, nobody knows.”
Right now Auburn has the best shot about getting in as a two-loss team, as it sits at No. 6. Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State sit at No. 8, 9 and 10 in the rankings.
In addition to the game there are numerous family-friendly events spreading over three days for visiting fans and those in Atlanta. Among the highlights include Playlist Live! featuring performers like The Chainsmokers, Lizzo, Babe Rexha, Jason Derulo, Charlie Puth and Darius Rucker.
Hancock, a noted classical music enthusiast, attended his first “rock” concert when he witnessed a performance by Sting in 2015 in Dallas.
“I voted for the Beatles and unfortunately, I got outvoted,” Hancock said with a chuckle when asked about his choice for musical acts for Atlanta.
Another one of his suggestions also was denied.
“I go to classical events rather than rock concerts,” Hancock said. “I did lobby for the Atlanta Symphony, but didn’t get that done, either.”
The College Football Playoff Foundation’s primary platform Extra Yard for Teachers will host numerous events and draw thousands of teachers to downtown Atlanta over the three-day period of the game. The CFP Foundation and Atlanta Football Host Committee will donate more than $1 million back into the Atlanta teaching community by January 8, 2018.