With Oliver Luck stepping down as the athletic director at West Virginia and moving on to the NCAA, there is now an open position for a Big 12 member for the College Football Playoff committee member. ESPN's Jake Trotter makes a compelling case as to why Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt would make a prime candidate for that position:
In the early 1990s, Hocutt was a captain and linebacker for coach Bill Snyder during the advent of the "Manhattan Miracle" at Kansas State. Hocutt actually led the Wildcats in tackles during the 1993 season, which ended with K-State's first bowl victory in school history. Hocutt's background as a player would give him a distinctive perspective that would enhance the committee. And with K-State being his alma mater, he would bring a representation beyond his current school that would theoretically make the rest of the league comfortable.
Of course, K-State isn't Hocutt's only other Big 12 connection.
Before winding up at Texas Tech, he served on Joe Castiglione's staff as an associate athletic director at Oklahoma from 1999-05. Hocutt was part of a massive capital fundraising effort there; he also received his master's degree from Oklahoma. Hocutt remains so well thought of by some of the power brokers in Norman that he would be a candidate to take over as athletic director if Castiglione ever left the Sooners.
You're not going to get an argument from me. Hocutt is a steady hand and doesn't jump to opinions and/or conclusions about things and he's as thoughtful of a person as you could be. Trotter already acknowledges that because of Hocutt's playing experience and athletic director experience, that teams from the northern end of the Big 12 would feel more comfortable with Hocutt there as opposed to someone that has only had experience in Texas. Oh, and he's played football and was quite good at it for Kansas State.
The other options, Joe Castiglione would make a good choice as I think he's well-liked and well-connected, but as mentioned in the article, he would have to give up his position on the NCAA basketball committee.
FoxSports' David Ubben noted that Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett opined that the next person in line should be a former coach, like R.C. Slocum, arguing that it was former coaches that led the discussion:
"What Art said is true. Nobody from the Southwest was represented. Oliver Luck is not a guy that's going to represent the Southwest," Bennett said. "I'm good friends with and I respect Barry Alvarez, but you've got Barry, you've got Coach (Tom) Osborne, Tyrone Willingham. Who are they going to listen to in that room? They're going to listen to the coaches."
Bennett also plugs Spike Dykes and Mack Brown as possible options, but I have a problem with Bennett's thought process here in that because something happened in year one of this discussion doesn't mean that it will continue to happen in year two or three and so on. coaches are great and all and maybe they'll lead a little bit, but I think I'd have a significant problem with Slocum representing the Big 12 simply because of possible bias against the Big 12 and the SEC ties. And I'd add that I think that Slocum probably wouldn't let that bias in the way as I get the impression that he is as well-liked former coach as you'll find, but can the Big 12 really afford to take that chance?
Dykes or Brown would make good choices as both are also well-liked, but from what I can tell and I'd prefer those over Slocum every day of the week. I think I still like Hocutt better because the Big 12 isn't just about the South, it is about the Big 12 and representing all of those interests. It is what makes Hocutt a really terrific possibility. And Hocutt isn't going to get run over by any person or coach or anyone else. I can pretty much assure you of that.
Whatever happens, it definitely is going to make an interesting decision for the Big 12 and if I had my choice, I wouldn't be giving that sort of decision-making ability to a coach that could have an SEC bias.