How the College Football Playoff Selection Committee Ranking Process Works

The College Football Playoff selection committee has released the process it will use to rank the top 25 teams in college football. And I love it.

If you’ve ever tried to do a top-25 ranking, you know that it can be hard to do. You might know exactly who you think is #1, #2 or #3, but trying to decide who is going to be #15 or #16, and especially who is #24 and #25, is a difficult task.

The voting process that the committee will use lets the members vote on teams in chunks versus all 25 teams at once. It may seem tedious and overkill, but its checks and balances will give a good representation of the best teams in America.

Here’s how it will work:

Step 1: List who you think are the best 25 college football teams in America, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

If three or more members of the committee list the same school in their list of 25, that team will stay in consideration. This means that unless all 13 members select the same 25 schools, there will be a pool of more than 25 teams available for the remaining steps.

Step 2: Of the pool of selected teams from step 1, pick the best SIX, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

The six teams getting the most votes will make up the first seeding ballot. I couldn’t find any information about what will happen when two or more teams tie for the sixth most votes. My assumption is that they will rank the teams that tie and the higher ranked team will get on the ballot.

The first two parts of this allow for the members to recognize the best teams without having to rank them. This is a great plan. That will take away some of the “Team A beat Team B and Team C beat Team A, but Team B beat Team C” thought process that can sometimes be involved in ranking.

Step 3 (First Seeding Ballot): Rank the six teams selected from step 2.

Each team will receive one point for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, etc. The three teams with the lowest point totals will be ranked #1, #2, and #3. The other three teams from the ballot will remain on the ballot for the next seeding ballot (step 5).

This is the first time in the process that actual rankings are involved.

Step 4: Of the pool of teams from step 1 (excluding those on the first seeding ballot from step 3), pick the best six, in no particular order.

The three teams with the most votes will be added to the remaining three teams from the first seeding ballot (step 3) to make up the second seeding ballot.

Step 5 (Second Seeding Ballot): Rank the six teams selected from step 4.

The three teams with the lowest point totals will be ranked #4, #5, and #6. The other three teams will remain on the ballot for the next seeding ballot.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 to complete the top-nine rankings.

Once they have selected the top nine teams, the members will select the best EIGHT teams (instead of six), rank those with the most votes, then take the top FOUR (instead of three) and add those teams to the rankings (#10-#13, then #14-#17, etc.)

Clear as mud? My next post will be a simulation of the process to see how it might play out.

Sources:

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