GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Houston has done everything it can through nonconference scheduling to deserve top-four consideration from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, new CFP chair Kirby Hocutt said Thursday.
The Cougars, who are ranked No. 6 in the current AP Top 25, could provide the most fascinating test case for the 3-year-old playoff once the CFP Rankings start Nov. 1. Houston defeated Oklahoma in Week 1 and is set to play Louisville on Nov. 17.
"I think Houston has done everything they could in the eyes of the committee to deserve consideration in this room by scheduling Oklahoma, by scheduling Louisville in their nonconference schedule," Hocutt said during a mock playoff selection process with media members. "They won the Oklahoma game. To what degree that will be looked at as a quality win come Week 10 or 11 is still to be determined. Their nonconference schedule, they've done all they can. At the end of the year, will that be enough for them?"
Of course, it's still a long way until early December for Houston, which plays in the American Athletic Conference, to finish undefeated. No Group of Five school has ever made the CFP or the BCS Championship Game.
"They've got to win the games," Hocutt said. "They've got to impress the committee in the manner in which they win."
Hocutt stressed that committee members don't look at past years to evaluate teams. There was skepticism Thursday by media members, who believe that when a team such as Houston is trying to prove itself, success in a recent season likely inherently factors into a committee member's mind, even if such an opinion goes unspoken. Houston dominated Florida State to win the Peach Bowl last season while going 13-1.
"We're looking at it from this year's perspective only," Hocutt said. "In the year that I sat in this room last year, never once was historical content brought forward or even in hallway conversations."
Hocutt mentioned without solicitation how impressed he is of Louisville, which lost in the closing minutes last week to Clemson.
"You think about, just as an example, the impression Louisville has made on me as one of the 12 [committee members] this year," Hocutt said. "I didn't know a lot about [quarterback] Lamar Jackson before this year. But I'll tell you what. There probably hasn't been a player in college football that has had a stronger impression on me at this point in time than that young man has."
If Louisville makes the playoff, the ACC might have two teams in the field. No conference has put two teams in during the CFP's brief history.
For a nonconference champion to make the playoff, "someone will have to demonstrate unequivocally to this committee that they're one of the best four teams in college football," Hocutt said. "That day will come. Will it be this year or in year four or five years? I don't know."
Hocutt and the committee's new members -- Jeff Bower, Herb Deromedi and Rob Mullens -- went through a mock dry run after three weeks. The real rankings start on Nov. 1. Even then, they will still change until after the conference championship games.
"I'm one-twelfth of the equation, but it will be my responsibility if I agree with the consensus of the group or not, I'm going to speak on behalf of the group," Hocutt said.