Rob Mullens has some explaining to do this fall.
Oregon’s athletic director was appointed Wednesday as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, replacing Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt.
That means Mullens will be clarifying the 13-member committee’s reasoning live on ESPN throughout the second half of the season after the weekly rankings are released.
“This is an incredible honor,” Mullens said in a release. “It’s the opportunity to be involved in an extremely important, intense element of college athletics, with the added bonus of working alongside a group of accomplished professionals.
“I was obviously a firm believer in the process already, but stepping into it and having a chance to be part of the committee, it reaffirmed everything.”
Mullens has been a committee member the past two seasons while also having to hire two football coaches — Willie Taggart before the 2017 season and Mario Cristobal last month.
The College Football Playoff did not include a team from either the Pac-12 or Big Ten last season, with Alabama defeating Georgia in an all-SEC title game Jan. 8.
Hocutt’s two-year term ends Feb. 1.
“Kirby’s done a fantastic job,” Mullens said. “Having the opportunity to serve under his leadership for two years was a great experience. Although the chair serves as spokesperson, you’re really there to represent the voice of the committee. Every member is extremely involved; they arrive incredibly prepared and ready to get it right.
“The chairman is just the voice of the committee, a role Kirby handled extremely well.”
Mullens has been Oregon’s athletic director since 2010 and signed a lucrative contract extension with the school that runs through 2024.
As chairman, Mullens’ duties will include setting the committee’s agenda, running its meetings and serving as the spokesman for the committee, along with executive director Bill Hancock.
“We are delighted that Rob will be stepping into this role,” Hancock said in a statement. “He is an experienced committee member, extremely passionate about college football, detail-oriented and brings a high level of energy that is perfectly suited to chairing the committee.”
The committee will have six new members in 2018 — sports writer Paola Boivin, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, former coach Ken Hatfield, former USC standout and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Ronnie Lott, former Oregon State and current Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury and Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin.
The Ducks were selected to the College Football Playoff in 2014. Oregon, which beat Florida State in a semifinal at the Rose Bowl before losing to Ohio State in the championship game, is the only Pac-12 team to win a playoff game.
“The system works,” Mullens said. “You’re in there with 12 other outstanding people who understand the enormity of the task, who have great integrity and value the importance of integrity to the process.
“When you have 13 different voices, there’s a lot of conversation. But I always left knowing that everybody in there had integrity at the top of their mind, everyone was well-prepared, and the conversation was incredibly thorough.”
Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @rgduckfootball. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.