Playoff approves weekly rankings, puts off Army-Navy issue
IRVING, Texas (AP) The College Football Playoff management committee approved having weekly rankings again this season, but put off making a decision Wednesday on how to incorporate the Army-Navy game into the final rankings when the game is played after selection Sunday.
The selection committee's first top 25 will be released Nov. 3 after the ninth week of the season. The final rankings will be released Dec. 6. The selection committee had recommended keeping the status quo with the rankings process earlier in April.
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said the FBS commissioners recalled the constant tweaks to the Bowl Championship Series that caused fans to lose confidence in that system and decided it was best not to tinker with the new format after a successful first season.
''Don't fix it if it ain't broke,'' Hancock said after what was scheduled to be three days of meetings in North Texas concluded in only two.
Fourth-seeded Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff national championship last season, beating No. 1 Alabama in the semifinals and No. 2 Oregon in the title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The College Football Playoff semifinals will be played in the Orange and Cotton bowls on New Year's Eve this season and the national title game will be held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Jan. 11.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the response to the playoff from those who participated in it and fans was overwhelmingly positive. Hancock said according to ESPN's research the playoff drew more casual fans to college football's postseason than ever before. The playoff set ratings records for ESPN and cable television.
"The pop we experienced was the public saying thanks for giving us what we had been asking for,'' Delany said.
Hancock said the management committee, comprised of the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, had a ''robust'' discussion about Army-Navy but didn't come up with a way to handle the Army-Navy game if either team is in the running for a spot in one of the New Year's bowls that is in the playoff rotation.
''There are many ins and outs to the matter of games played after selection day,'' Hancock said. ''We need more discussion. We want to figure it out.''
Army and Navy play the weekend after the selection committee reveals its final rankings and the matchups are set not just for the semifinals, but the four other New Year's Six bowls.
The most potentially problematic part of Army and Navy playing after selection Sunday involves the Midshipmen giving up their independent status this season and moving into the American Athletic Conference, which will play a league championship game on Dec. 5.
If Navy wins the conference title and is ranked as the best champion from among the American, the Mountain West, the Sun Belt, Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference it would earn a spot in either the Peach or Fiesta bowls this season and still have a game to play against Army.
American Commissioner Mike Aresco came to the meetings in North Texas with plans to figure out a way to leave Army-Navy on its exclusive date, one built into the schools' television contract with CBS that runs through the 2018 season, and have it count toward the playoff rankings.
The most likely issue that could arise for the so-called Group of Five conferences is: What happens if Navy is the highest ranked among the champions of those leagues and then loses to Army? Could the pairings be adjusted to place the next highest-ranked team from the Group of Five in major game, while dropping Navy into a lesser bowl. That scenario would create problems for the bowls trying to set matchups and sell tickets.
Hancock said there is no timetable to come up with a solution for Army-Navy, but expects more discussions over the next couple months. The commissioners meet again in June.