College Football Playoff committee sets protocol, weekly rankings show

The first semifinals will be played Jan. 1, 2015, in the Sugar Bowl (pictured above) and the Rose Bowl.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff’s weekly rankings will be revealed to a national TV audience on Tuesday nights this fall, starting Oct. 28.

On Wednesday, the College Football Playoff — yes, that’s really the name — released more information about how the selection process will go. According to the release, committee members will use "video, statistics and their own expertise" to rank the top 25 teams, utilizing win-loss records, strength of schedule, conference championships, head-to-head results and results against common opponents. No single data point such as RPI will be emphasized, but the new format seems to stress strength of schedule.

In discussing the plans and protocol earlier this week, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said "what matters is everybody’s schedule, all 12 games" and that he expects the committee to disclose whether it ultimately favored one team over another due to strength of schedule.

This will be the first year for the CFP, which will release a weekly Top 25 every Tuesday from Oct. 28 to Dec. 2. The top four teams in the final rankings, which will be released Dec. 6 or 7, will earn berths in the playoff.

The first semifinals will be played Jan. 1, 2015, in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The College Football Championship Game will be Monday night, Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

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In ranking the top 25 teams each week, the 13-member selection committee will identify small groups of teams that will then be evaluated against each other, according to the release. The teams will then be voted into the rankings in a combined selection and seeding process with the goal to find the best four teams.

According to committee voting protocol, each committee member will list what he or she thinks are the six best teams, in no particular order, and the six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first seeding ballot.

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.

Each member will then list the six best remaining teams, in no particular order, and the three teams receiving the most votes will be added to the three teams held over to comprise the next seeding ballot. This will be repeated each week until the top 25 are seeded. It seems like a very long way from No. 25 to one of the top four to actually qualify, but this is the process that has been chosen.

Committee members will be recused from voting on their school’s team or if they or an immediate family member is employed by or has a professional relationship with the school being considered — a policy like that used by the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee. While a recused member will not take part in that particular vote, they can answer factual questions about that school.