Oct 16, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; New chairman of the playoff committee Jeff Long speaks to the media at the College Football Playoff Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoffs announce selection committee procedures

This year will mark the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff, and the folks involved have decided to lay down and detail all of the procedures for their selection committee which will be responsible for naming the best 25 teams in the sport.

Among the procedures detailed today were the requency of rankings, use of data, voting procedures, and recusal policy.

It is a lot of information to take in, but something that is crucial for the fans to understand as we prepare to embark on a new journey in college football this season.

“The College Football Playoff marks a new era in which a group of college football experts will decide the best four teams which will compete for the national championship,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, in a press release.

“The members of the Selection Committee are an outstanding group of people with high integrity and excellent judgment, and ultimately the decision will be theirs.  The information released today will help fans, the media, and others in the college football community better understand how the committee will conduct its deliberations.  Our top priority is to make sure the new playoff is the best it can be, and that fans have every detail possible about how it will operate.”

You can view the full selection committee procedures below, via the official press release:

Frequency of Rankings:  The Selection Committee members will meet weekly, in person, on Mondays and Tuesdays to produce rankings.  The committee will issue its first rankings Tuesday, October 28, after the completion of the ninth week of the regular season.  The committee’s rankings will be announced on ESPN each Tuesday evening beginning October 28 and continuing for the next five weeks.  Following are the dates when the rankings will be released this season.  (Details and timing of the release of the final rankings the weekend of December 7 will be announced at a later time).

  • October 28
  • November 4
  • November 11
  • November 18
  • November 25
  • December 2

Data:  Selection Committee members will have a wealth of information including review of video, statistics and their own expertise to guide them in their deliberations.  They will emphasize obvious factors like win-loss records, strength of schedule, conference championships won, head-to-head results and results against common opponents.  The playoff group has retained SportSource Analytics to provide the data platform for the committee’s use.  While the details of the platform have not been finalized, it is anticipated that it will include countless pieces of statistical information for every Football Bowl Subdivision team.  It will also include general information such as each team’s opponents’ record and opponents’ opponents’ records.  The platform will allow the committee members to compare and contrast every team on every level possible.

It should be noted that the committee will not use a single data point such as the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) that is used for NCAA championships.

“People, not mathematical formulas, will pick the teams, and we want to make sure the committee members have all the information they want so they can make the best decisions,” said Hancock.

Voting Procedures:  The committee will rank the top 25 teams in the country and assign teams to the semifinals and to the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls in years when they are not hosting semifinal games.   The full voting protocol is attached to this release, but in summary the committee will identify small groups of teams that will then be evaluated against each other in a detailed and deliberative manner.  The committee will then vote the teams into the rankings in a combined selection-and-seeding process.

Recusal Policy:  Committee members will be recused from participating in votes involving a school’s team if they or an immediate family member receives compensation from the school or has a professional relationship with that school.  The committee will have the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise. A recused member shall not participate in any votes nor be present during deliberations involving the team’s selection or seeding, but may answer factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused.  The recusal policy is virtually identical to the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee policy.  The full recusal policy is attached to this release.

“This is a very exciting time as college football enters the new playoff era.  I’m looking forward to the first kickoff of the new season,” said Hancock.

College Football Playoff Selection Committee
Voting Protocol

1.  Each committee member will create a list of the 25 teams he or she believes to be the best in the country, in no particular order. Teams listed by more than three members will remain under consideration.

2.  Each member will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first seeding ballot.

3.  In the first seeding ballot, each member will rank those six teams, one through six, with one being the best. The three teams receiving the fewest points will become the top three seeds. The three teams that were not seeded will be held over for the next seeding ballot.

4.  Each member will list the six best remaining teams, in no particular order. The three teams receiving the most votes will be added to the three teams held over to comprise the next seeding ballot.

5.  Steps No. 3 and 4 will be repeated until 25 teams have been seeded.


A.  Any “recused” member can participate in Step No. 1, but cannot list the team for which he or she is recused. “Recused” teams (i.e., teams for whom a member has been recused) receiving at least three votes in Step No. 1 will remain under consideration.

B.  A recused member can participate in Step No. 2, but cannot list the recused team. 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 “tie-breaker” ranking vote will be conducted among those teams to identify the team or teams that would be added to the pool.

C.  A recused member cannot participate in Step No. 3 if the recused team is in the pool.

D.  Between each step, the committee members will conduct a thorough evaluation of the teams before conducting the vote.

E.  After the rankings are completed, any group of three or more teams can be reconsidered if more than three members vote to do so. Step No. 3 would be repeated to determine if adjustments should be made.

F.   After the first nine teams are seeded, the number of teams for Steps No. 2, 3 and 4 will be increased to eight and four, respectively.

G.  At any time in the process, the number of teams to be included in a pool may be increased or decreased with approval of more than eight members of the committee.

H.  All votes will be by secret ballot.

College Football Playoff Selection Committee
Recusal Policy

  • If a committee member or an immediate family member, e.g., spouse, sibling or child, (a) is compensated by a school, (b) provides professional services for a school, or (c) 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. Such compensation shall include not only direct employment, but also current paid consulting arrangements, deferred compensation (e.g., contract payments continuing after employment has ended) or other benefits.
  • The committee will have the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise.
  • A recused member shall not participate in any votes involving the team from which the individual is recused.
  • A recused member is permitted to answer only factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused, but shall not be present during any deliberations regarding that team’s selection or seeding.

Tags: College Football College Football Playoff NCAA Football

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