One of the big questions college football fans have about the new College Football Playoff is just how the selection committee will choose the top four teams in the country to compete for the national championship in the new four-team playoff model. That question will ultimately have to wait to be answered in December, but we now have a glimpse as to what those who drafted the criteria to be used had in mind.
The College Football Playoff released documents revealing how the CFB Management committee suggested the top four teams be selected. That committee is comprised of FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. As expected, strength of schedule and overall competition is tops on the list.
“Strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar,” the document reads, according to USA Today. The sanctity of the regular season is preserved under the guidelines outlined by the management committee, which was always one of the goals of limiting the playoff model to just four teams. Winning a conference championship will carry some weight but the management committee did point out there should be flexibility to allow for a non-conference champion to compete in the four-team playoff. For example, it looks as though Alabama would have been strongly considered for a playoff spot if this model was used last season.
But what about the influence placed on national polls? What happens when one team is ranked behind another despite having defeated that higher-ranked team during the season? The management committee has two solutions to hopefully address that. First, all preseason polls will be ignored. Preseason polls have been criticized for years to various degrees, but the College Football Playoff selection committee has already taken care of that problem by developing a plan for its own poll, which will start in late October. This poll should take away much of the influence from any other national poll, like the Associated Press or coaches polls, but those will be hard to completely ignore for long. The management committee has stated that if any other poll is considered for anything by the selection committee, then that specific poll in question should be open and transparent.
It’s all about open transparency, right?