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Ex-committee member: 4 is right number for college playoff

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Former West Virginia athletic director and selection committee member Oliver Luck says the College Football Playoff should stick with the four-team model because “it should be hard to get into the playoff.”

Luck has started a new job with the NCAA. He had been AD at his alma mater for five years and served as a member of the 13-member committee that set the first College Football Playoff field.

“I was asked often by folks did you think the committee got it right and my response was that the American public sure liked it with the TV ratings and the interest level that existed,” he said Friday.

The committee had five current athletic directors, representing each of the Big Five conferences.

“I thought by in large that processes that the committee used were pretty good, knowing that we were going through it for the first time,” Luck said. “People on the committee are all top-notch, first-class folks. I think it set a very good mark for the first year.”

The Big 12 will need to replace Luck next season. He gave no recommendations.

“I’ll leave that to Commissioner (Bob) Bowlsby,” Luck said.

He also declined to suggest any changes that could be made to the process of ranking teams weekly, starting in late October.

He did say expansion of the playoff to include more than four teams is not necessary.

“I think four is the right number,” he said. “I think it should be hard to get into the playoff. It really should.”

He says there were no hard feelings from his conference colleagues about TCU and Baylor being left out of the playoff in favor of Ohio State, which won the national title as the fourth and final seed.

Big 12 athletic directors met in New York the day after the selections were announced and Luck was still the West Virginia AD at the time. He said there were no hard feelings from TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte or Baylor’s Ian McCaw.

“The atmosphere was fine,” he said. “Chris is a first-clas guy. Ian’s a first-class guy. Even athletic directors can do the simple math. Five conferences, five power conferences and only four slots.

The Big 12 is the only Big Five conference without a conference championship game and it helped Ohio State move past TCU and Baylor in the rankings by playing an extra game against a tough opponent while the Big 12 teams were simply finishing their regular season the Saturday before selections were made.

“As Commissioner Bowlsby said, the Big 12, with a bounce of the ball here or there, the Big 12 easily could have had two teams out of the four and Bob would look like a genius,” Luck said.

Luck said he ran into TCU coach Gary Patterson at the championship game in Dallas and the coach congratulated Luck on the committee’s work.

Unlike Patterson, Baylor coach Art Briles was critical of the committee after the Bears were snubbed.

“Didn’t see Art,” Luck said, laughing.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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