Earlier this week, thanks in large part to Louisville’s humbling of Florida State, we discussed the possibility of a three-way tie in the ACC’s Atlantic division. Today, Heather Dinich of ESPN.com has shed some rather illuminating light on how a tiebreaker in the division would actually play out.
If Clemson beats Louisville in early October and FSU does the same to Clemson later that month, and neither team loses another conference game before or after, the three would be tied atop the division at 7-1. At that point, the winner of the division would be decided by an analytics company. Seriously.
The ACC has partnered with SportSource Analytics, the same company that provides statistics to the College Football Playoff selection committee members.
… The highest-ranked team in the team rating score metric would win the Atlantic Division, and SportSource Analytics would permit the ACC to release the ranking of the teams in the conference in the event it is required to break a tie.
The old No. 7 tiebreaker would’ve been to use the final regular season College Football Playoff rankings to determine which team would represent the ACC in the conference championship game. However, because the final rankings don’t come out until Nov. 29 and the title game is scheduled to be played Dec. 3, the league’s athletic directors this summer “unanimously decided to insert this metric as the seventh and final step before a blind draw,” ACC senior associate commissioner Michael Strickland told Dinich.
As for the company that could hold the conference’s playoff fate in its hands?
SportSource Analytics explained the team rating score as “a metric that evaluates all facets of on-field team performance that are highly correlated to team success and combines them into a single comparable value.” It combines statistics from offense, defense and special teams and uses “individual statistics that are a mix of raw, tempo-agnostic, opponent-adjusted and efficiency metrics.” Conference and nonconference winning percentages, as well as strength of schedule, also factor into the statistic.
SportSource Analytics is the same company that provides statistics to the CFP selection committee members.