Bill Hancock Says CFP Will Release Final Rankings on Dec. 20 Despite COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2020

The trophy is displayed before a news conference for the NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in New Orleans. Clemson is scheduled to play LSU on Monday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip).
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the 2020 college football season, but don't expect the College Football Playoff committee to extend the calendar.

"The management committee decided earlier this month not to lengthen the regular season," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said Saturday, per Heather Dinich of ESPN. "As folks know, many games have already been played and many others are on tap for the next three weekends. The selection committee will set the CFP pairings Dec. 20."

Dinich noted the Pac-12 Championship Game will be held Dec. 18, while the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 are scheduled to determine their respective champions on Dec. 19.

However, there are contingency plans in place if there are more cancellations or postponements involving those title games:

  • SEC: Two divisional champions are co-champions
  • Big Ten: Two divisional champions are co-champions
  • Big 12: Team atop regular-season conference standings is the champion
  • ACC: Team atop regular-season conference standings is the champion; co-champions if teams have same winning percentage
  • Pac-12: Highest winning percentage in the league (using tiebreakers if needed) is champion

It should be noted it is not a requirement that those in the CFP win their conference championship. The committee is tasked with picking what it believes are the top four teams, and it has chosen squads that did not win their conference in the past.

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Conference titles are merely a data point, which could come into play with Ohio State in particular. After all, the Buckeyes are in playoff position at No. 4 in the current rankings but may not even qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game. If one more of their remaining games is canceled, they will fail to meet the minimum requirement of six games to play.

That could create a difficult situation for the committee if it is forced to choose between an Ohio State team that has played just five or six games compared to the likes of Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Florida or the loser of an ACC Championship Game between Clemson and Notre Dame for a playoff spot.

As with so much else in 2020, there remains plenty of uncertainty with the CFP picture. But it appears there will be no extended schedule to deal with that uncertainty.