It was nearing midnight when the members of the College Football Playoff selection committee finally sat down to begin deliberations.
Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia were obvious choices for the first three spots in their bracket, but the fourth and final slot wasn’t going to be as easy to fill.
“We walked into that meeting room, I think, knowing that we had a big task in front of us,” committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said. “We had a very important conversation.”
The decision to invite Alabama instead of Ohio State was based on both definable metrics and something more subjective, something not explicitly listed in the CFP protocol.
As Hocutt put it: “How you play...