Now that the College Football Playoff is over, Jeff Long is no longer chairman of the selection committee. The baton has been passed from the SEC to the Big 12.

The new chairman is 44-year-old Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, a man with strong Big 12 roots. He grew up in Texas, played at Kansas State and worked at Oklahoma.

A 5-foot-10 linebacker from Sherman, Texas, with “average speed,” Hocutt was part of Bill Snyder’s first recruiting class at Kansas State, then dubbed “Futility U.” and the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship. In his junior season, he led the Big 12 in tackles.

Hocutt, who worked with Long at Oklahoma, said there are good comparisons to be made between evaluating coaching candidates and ranking teams for the playoff.

“I would say that’s comparable to our weekly rankings because the teams in front of us to discuss as a committee each week remain fluid.” Hocutt told si.com. “Every team either strengthens their résumé or weakens their résumé on a given Saturday. So both processes can be different from time to time.”

Interestingly, Hocutt hired Kliff Kingsbury as coach at Tech. Kingsbury and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, hired by Long, have engaged in verbal sparring over the last year dating back to comments made by Bielema to Texas high school coaches that if opponents don’t play a fullback “we’ll kick your ass.”

But don’t expect any bulletin board material from Hocutt, who apparently don’t want to overhaul the system. His comments to SI’s question about what goes in committee on behind closed doors didn’t provide any new information.

“There’s a lot that’s been written about, with the process and the protocol. I just appreciate everybody’s effort to stay consistent to what the purpose of the selection committee is,” he said.  “I personally believe the protocol that’s been set up works quite well.”

Hocutt, who supported the new rule giving the Big 12 the right to hold a conference championship game with only 10 teams, said the conference doesn’t take a back seat to any other conference.

“The competiveness and strength of our league on the field, on the court, is as strong as any league out there,” he told SI. “From top to bottom, I think we are as competitive as any league you’ll find.”

Hocutt said the Big 12 and commissioner Bob Bowlsby have important decisions to make regarding conference expansion and the creation of a championship game.

“I think that’s all a timely discussion and one that there’s another piece on the table now with the championship game opportunity,” he said to si.com in response to a question about Big 12 stability. “So I think we’ve got to put them all on the table and collectively move forward. I’m confident that with the leadership of Bob Bowlsby, who I think is one of the best leaders in college athletics, we’ll do just that as a league together.”

With Hocutt in charge, the Big 12 won’t have much to complain about if it doesn’t get a team into the playoff during the next two years.