SEC Media Days Football

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Butch Dill

HOOVER, Ala. — Let the bidding begin.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday that his organization is looking to name sites for “four to six” CFP national championship games by “the first quarter” of 2018. Those would be played from 2021 to 2024 or 2026.

Three CFP title games are in place: Jan. 8 at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta; Jan. 7, 2019, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California; and Jan. 13, 2020, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Sugar and Rose bowls host this season’s CFP semifinals Jan. 1.

Hancock noted that the first six CFP title games will have been played in six different states. While trying to avoid lobbying for a particular region or city, Hancock said bringing the game to other parts of the country is a priority.

“I wouldn’t be averse to a northern site,” Hancock said at Southeastern Conference media days. “I’m not campaigning for that, but we would like to take (the game) around the country.”

Hancock said the first six CFP host cities could also bid. Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan replied by saying, “We are interested in all major events and will review any opportunities with the CFP once we get the details on the bid process.”

Additionally, the CFP selection committee has a new look for 2017. Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt takes over as chairman for Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, who remains on the committee through February.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez rotated off the committee. They were replaced by former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Robert Morris president Chris Howard.

The three additions again give the committee 13 members, which it didn’t have since former Saints quarterback Archie Manning stepped down from the original committee in 2014, citing health reasons.

Looking for Leonard

Two years ago in LSU’s game against Texas A&M at Tiger Stadium, a then-freshman running back returned the second-half kickoff 75 yards.

On the sideline watching was Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin.

“I said, ‘Who in the hell is that?’ ” Sumlin recalled Wednesday. “They said, ‘Derius Guice.’ I said, ‘Oh boy.’

“When it got to the next year (against LSU), I was kind of looking for Leonard. That’s a bad deal when you’re looking for Leonard Fournette.”

Fournette didn’t play in that game last November against A&M, left at home while nursing an injured ankle. Guice broke Fournette’s single-season school record, by 1 yard, with a 285-yard performance against the Aggies on Thanksgiving night.

“Was that Leonard Fournette’s backup that ran for all those yards?” Sumlin joked. “He’s a heck of a player.”

Hurricane Nick

Alabama does not have a quarterback controversy, and coach Nick Saban made sure to let a television reporter know that during the Tide’s spin through media days.

The reporter said to Saban that “people want to keep saying that there’s a quarterback controversy” between starter Jalen Hurts and freshman Tua Tagovailoa. The coach interrupted even before a question could be asked.

“Who’s saying that?” Saban shot back. “You’re the only one saying that. I’ve never said that, all right? So I don’t know who’s saying that. It’s like me saying, ‘Somebody said it’s going to have a hurricane outside today.' Is that right or wrong? I just said it, so that means I created something that makes everybody panic. That creates news and go out there and get people excited, interested and afraid.”