Selection Committee FAQs

What is the mission of the selection committee?

The committee’s task is to select the best teams, rank the teams for inclusion in the playoff and selected other bowl games and then assign the teams to bowl sites.

What is the voting procedure?

The committee identifies small groups of teams and then will evaluate those teams against each other in a detailed and deliberative manner. The committee members then vote the teams into the rankings.

What criteria does the selection committee use to rank the teams?

The committee selects the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory) and other relevant factors that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

Selection committee members have flexibility to examine whatever data they believe is relevant to inform their decisions. They also review a significant amount of game video. Among the many factors the committee members consider are strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and conference championships won. The playoff group has retained SportSource Analytics to provide the data platform for the committee’s use. This platform allows the committee members to compare and contrast teams on every level possible. Each member evaluates the data at hand, and then the individuals will vote to produce a group decision.

Are there ballot votes to determine the rankings?

The voting process includes a series of ballots through which the committee members first select a pool of teams to be considered, then rank those teams. Individual ballots will be compiled into a composite ranking. Each committee member independently evaluates an immense amount of information during the process. This evaluation brings about individual qualitative and quantitative opinions that lead to each member’s vote.

Are the committee’s deliberations made public?

The selection committee’s process and procedures are available on the website. The committee has created an arrangement that allows for maximum disclosure, while also allowing the committee to deliberate among themselves in a thoughtful and effective manner, with the appropriate candor. Also, the committee conducts “mock” selection exercises to allow reporters to become familiar with the process.

How many teams does the selection committee rank?

The committee ranks 25 teams.

Does the selection committee publicize its rankings throughout the season?

Yes, after each meeting. The committee members meet weekly, in person, on Mondays and Tuesdays to produce rankings. The committee then meets again during selection weekend to conduct a final evaluation and determine the pairings for the Playoff Semifinals and New Year’s bowls. To learn more about the selection committee rankings, click here.

When does Selection Weekend happen?

The committee’s “selection weekend” will be Friday-Sunday, December 1-3, 2017.

Why are there 13 members of the selection committee?

The number was chosen to allow for good representation, active discussion and diversity of view points. This is the right size — not too small or too large.

What criteria were used to choose members of the selection committee?

The top-priority criterion is integrity. There are five categories of individuals: People with experience as (1) coaches, (2) student-athletes, (3) administrators, (4) journalists and also (5) sitting directors of athletics. The management committee gives careful consideration to the standards for membership and to identifying high integrity individuals who matched the criteria. Among the other valued attributes are football expertise, objectivity, ability to carefully evaluate and discern information and experience in making decisions under scrutiny. Members are asked to commit significant time to the endeavor.

Why are athletics directors on the committee?

The directors of athletics (ADs) have some of the best institutional knowledge of college football, and the selection committee is much stronger with their participation. Many ADs have careers spanning more than one conference and many have worked at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level as well. The goal is to make the selection committee the best and strongest it can be, which is why ADs are included. Like all selection committee members, ADs act in the best interest of the game.

Is there a recusal policy in place for committee members?

Yes. 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 has the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise. To learn more about the recusal policy and to view the selection committee protocol in its entirety, click here.

What are the terms of the recusal policy?

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 committee policy.

How are the non-playoff teams selected for the other bowls that make up this new arrangement?

All conferences negotiated individual bowl contracts for their champions. Five conferences have arranged contracts for their champions to play in New Year’s bowl games — Atlantic Coast (Orange), Big Ten (Rose), Big 12 (Sugar), Pac-12 (Rose), and Southeastern (Sugar).

If not playing in a Playoff Semifinal, the highest ranked champion of the other five Football Bowl Subdivision conferences (the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt), as determined by the selection committee, will play in one of the other New Year’s bowls. Other available berths are awarded to the teams ranked highest by the committee. The committee assigns teams to bowls.

When the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach bowls are not hosting semifinal games, their participants will come from three pools: (1) The highest ranked champion among the five conferences listed in the paragraph above, (2) conference champions that are displaced when their contracted bowls host semifinals and (3) the remaining teams ranked highest in the committee’s rankings.

The committee will assign teams to the non-playoff bowls to create the most compelling matchups, while considering other factors such as geographic proximity, avoiding rematches of regular-season games and avoiding rematches of recent years’ bowl games.

Can selection committee members serve more than one term? If so, how many terms are allowed or can they serve forever if they like?

Members serve one three-year term. Terms of the first group of committee members were staggered to allow for an eventual rotation. Until the rotation has been achieved, certain members’ terms are shorter or longer.

Can a committee member be removed? If so, by whom and for what reasons?

In the unlikely scenario where a committee member is unable to meet the obligations that come with serving on the committee, the management committee would appoint a replacement.

Who appoints the chair of the committee?

The management committee appoints the committee chair.

Are the selection committee members compensated?

No, there is no compensation for committee members. Expenses are reimbursed.

Do the committee members travel to games to watch in person?

The members are not expected to attend games in person. They are expected to watch video extensively.

What is the role of the chair?

The chair of the selection committee is responsible for the leadership of the committee and ensures an environment under which the committee members work together to evaluate teams and create rankings. The chair leads meetings, helps set the committee’s agenda, and shares spokesperson duties with the executive director of the College Football Playoff. The chair — and the selection committee itself — are not involved in the operation of the playoff; its sole responsibility is ranking the teams and making the pairings.

What is the role of the College Football Playoff Executive Director and staff as it pertains to the selection committee operations? Is the executive director a voting member?

The executive director does not have a vote, and the staff’s role is to provide support to the committee. The executive director and staff direct the day-to-day business and administrative operations of the College Football Playoff itself, in keeping with the objectives established by the board of managers and management committee.

The selection committee is an independent body that operates according to the objectives established by the board of managers and management committee.