New CFP committee member Bobby Johnson: 'Eye test' still important

First-year College Football Playoff committee member Bobby Johnson told ESPN on Tuesday that he will rely heavily on the eye test this fall, and that he's not afraid to put two teams from the same conference in the top four if they deserve to be there.

Johnson also said strength of schedule and conference championships will weigh heavily in determining his top 25.

"I don't want to get too involved with statistics," the former Vanderbilt coach said. "I like to watch games and then I'll go back and look at statistics and see what may have been the big difference in that one team winning or losing.

"It always gets down to who can execute and who can get the job done when the pressure's on. To me, that's the big thing. That's looking at the coaching staff, that's looking at the players, the kickers, everything. There's a lot of stuff to look at, but when it gets down to it, the old eye test is probably the most important."

The College Football Playoff is entering its second season this fall, and one of the biggest changes will be the additions of Johnson and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt to the 13-member selection committee. Last season, the selection committee put three teams from the SEC in its initial ranking, but by the end of the season, the importance of conference championships became glaring.

Johnson acknowledged that putting two teams from the same league into the top four would "be hard to do," but he said teams are evaluated individually, not based on the conferences they're in.

"I don't think you can take it away from them just because there's some other teams that aren't as good as you, but we're going to put them in because somebody from your conference is already in there," he said. "That doesn't seem right to me. If they're good enough, they'll make it."

The value of a league championship game became evident after Ohio State's convincing win over Wisconsin catapulted the Buckeyes into the playoff -- their first and only appearance in the top four all season. That 13th game made such a difference for Ohio State that it caused the Big 12 to question whether it needed to add a league title game or even expand beyond 10 teams.

Johnson said teams should be rewarded for winning a conference championship game.

"I think it's important because there's a lot of pressure on those two teams who are fighting for a conference championship," Johnson said. "If one of them or both of them are undefeated, or one of them has one loss, they put everything on the line as far as their opportunity to go to the playoff. It's almost a playoff within the playoff.

"If they've done well enough to get into the championship game of their conference, then they're obviously a very good team, and it's only fair that if they win another high-quality game they should be rewarded for it."