The College Football Playoff group has released its final protocol for the Selection Committee, which includes the process to determine who will play in the College Football Playoff. The mission of the committee, the list reads, is to "select the best teams, rank the teams for inclusion in the playoff and selected other bowl games and then assign the teams to sites."
The protocol lists the principles to guide the committee to make the best choices:
Principles. The committee will select the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering:
- Conference championships won,
- Strength of schedule,
- Head-to-head competition,
- Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and,
- Other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.
Starting during the last week of October, the Selection Committee will meet on Monday and Tuesday each week for seven weeks to produce a ranking. There is a five-step process.
First, each member will create a list of the 25 teams he or she believes to be the best in the country, in no particular order. If a team is listed by three or more members, it will placed into consideration. Then, each person will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams that receive the most votes will make up the pool for the first seeding ballot.
In the first seeding ballot, each person will rank the six teams in order (one through six, with one being the best), and the three teams with the fewest points will be the top three seeds in the ranking. The three teams not chosen will be used for the next seeding ballot. In the next seeding ballot, each member will list the six best teams remaining, in no particular order. The three teams that get the most votes will be added to the three teams left over for the next seeding ballot. These two steps will be repeated until 25 teams have been seeded.
The protocol notes after the rankings are completed, any group of three or more teams can be reconsidered if more than three members vote to do so. If this happens, the group would re-rank the top six teams in that group, and the top three would be seeded.
All votes will be by secret ballot.
The protocol also has a recusal policy in place. If a committee member or an immediate family member is compensated by a school, provides professional services for a school, is on the coaching staff or administrative staff at a school or is a football student-athlete at a school, that member will be recused. This list for the 2014-15 season includes:
- Air Force – Mike Gould
- Arkansas – Jeff Long
- Clemson – Dan Radakovich
- Mississippi – Archie Manning
- Nebraska – Tom Osborne
- USC – Pat Haden
- Stanford – Condoleezza Rice
- West Virginia – Oliver Luck
- Wisconsin – Barry Alvarez
Any “recused” member can participate in the first and second steps of the voting process, but cannot list the team for which he or she is recused.If a recused team is within one vote of advancing to the pool, that team will be pooled with the team (or teams) receiving the fewest votes. A recused member cannot participate in the third step if the recused team is in the pool.
The whole protocol can be read on the College Football Playoff's website, here.
- Sarah Barshop