Jeff Long doesn't deny that on some level, each member of the College Football Playoff selection committee must overcome a measure of bias in the interest of objectivity.
For himself, however, it's no struggle.
The Arkansas athletics director and selection committee chairman told the College Football 24/7 podcast that the depth of his own experience makes it easier, not harder, to assess playoff contenders with an even hand.
"It's probably different for each individual member of the committee. I've had the pleasure of working at 10 different universities. I've worked in the ACC, the Big Ten, I haven't worked in the Pac-12 -- of the Power Five conferences, that's the only one," Long said. "It's different for me. Because I've worked in all of those, I feel like I have an easier time putting aside those biases, and leaving those at the door."
The committee has ranked Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State as its top four for the past two weeks, with Texas Christian at No. 5 and Ohio State at No. 6. Four teams will qualify for the playoff, which will guarantee an unhappy fan base -- not to mention a social media firestorm -- from whichever team lands in the fifth spot that TCU currently occupies.
That's not lost on Long, either. And while he conceded that human nature could beget at least a subconscious level of bias by a committee member, Long believes the weight of the other votes on the 12-member panel would overcome it.
"We talk often about it and I think the committee's done a tremendous job of leaving those things at the door. And even if they creep in subconsciously -- we are all human -- the thing that checks it is the 11 other people in the room," Long said. "Because they have votes that would check that if someone had a bias that walked into the room."
The committee will make its final determination of the inaugural playoff field on Dec. 7. A number of games this week could make it's ultimate decision easier.
Mississippi State and Alabama both play tough rivalry games, and losing would presumably knock either out of playoff contention. MSU travels to Ole Miss while Alabama plays host to Auburn. Other playoff contenders are expected to have a much easier time in their rivalry games, including Ohio State's home game against a downtrodden Michigan program.