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College Football Playoff 101: How it works, who makes the decisions and more

The CFP is entering its third season, yet there’s still plenty of confusion over how it all works.

. Kickoffs will be at 3 p.m. ET, ESPN

o Tuesday, Nov. Two committee members are assigned as monitors for each conference. 

The College Football Playoff semifinals this year are in which bowls? The committee releases its rankings when? Who’s on the committee?


Playoff semifinals: Allstate Sugar Bowl & Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

College Football Playoff National Championship: Atlanta, Ga.

Their duties include:

o Six weekly top-25 rankings, beginning Nov. 2, 8 p.m. 30, 8 p.m., ET, ESPN

o Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Jan. 31 this year. They will, however, try to avoid rematches in the other New Year’s Six bowls.

The highest-ranked team from the Group of 5 conferences is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.


Playoff semifinals: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic & Capital One Orange Bowl

College Football Playoff National Championship: Santa Clara, Calif.

College Football Playoff National Championship: Jan.

New Year’s Six schedule:

o Capital One Orange Bowl, Dec. 15, 9 p.m. 8, 7 p.m. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had to step down due to health reasons.

There are coaches everywhere who study the sport for a living and can’t answer those questions. When those bowls host the semifinals and their contracted conference champs do not qualify, the displaced champion(s) will play in a different New Year’s bowl. They each come prepared with their own preliminary top 30 but only rank 25.

College Football Playoff National Championship: Alabama 45, Clemson 40



Capital One Orange Bowl: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Alabama 38, Michigan State 0

The selection committee consists of 12 people: Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt (chair); Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez; former Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower; former Central Michigan coach Herb Deromedi; former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt; former Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson; Arkansas AD Jeff Long; Oregon AD Rob Mullens; Clemson AD Dan Radakovich; Condoleezza Rice; retired sports reporter Steve Wieberg; and former coach Tyrone Willingham. 2 vs. ET, ESPN

o Sunday, Dec. ET, ESPN

o Tuesday, Nov. 4, and No. 1, 7 p.m. 2, 5 p.m., ESPN

o Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. ET, ESPN

o Tuesday, Nov. 1, the committee will unveil its top-25 rankings on ESPN’s College Football Playoff: Top 25. If a conference champion qualifies for the playoff, the bowl losing that team chooses a replacement from that conference. No.

Nine of the 12 committee members are affected by the CFP’s recusal policy, which prohibits a committee member from voting for a team they or an immediate family member receive compensation from or have a professional relationship with. 4. ET, ESPN

o Tuesday, Nov. and 7 p.m ET on ESPN.

They are guided by these criteria (not weighted) when choosing their top four teams:

oChampionships won

oStrength of schedule

oHead-to-head competition

oComparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory)


Each week, starting on Nov. 2, 1 p.m. 9 on ESPN in Tampa, Florida (it’s always on a Monday).



Playoff semifinals:  Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl & Fiesta Bowl

College Footblal Playoff National Championship: New Orleans, La.

As semesters begin across the country, here’s your CFP 101 for 2016:


The semifinals: Chick-fil-A  Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, both Dec. 1 vs. The other New Year’s Six game is the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Inhale. 29, 7 p.m. 22, 7 p.m. 4. 3. ET, ESPN


Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: Oregon 59, Florida State 20

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

College Football Playoff National Championship: Ohio State 42, Oregon  20

You can find more detailed bios of the committee here. Exhale. They each have a computer to vote on, and they debate and rank the teams in groups of six or eight.

o Selecting the top four teams for the playoff, ranking and assigning them to semifinal sites. Repeat.

o Tuesday, Nov. 4, 12 p.m. And oh yeah, the second ranking just happens to fall on election night. ET, ESPN

o Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, Jan. ET, ESPN


The committee doesn’t try to avoid regular-season rematches in the semifinals: It’s No. 31. There will be weekly updates, culminating with the final rankings on Dec. You can find the full recusal list here.


The selection committee meets at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, every Monday and Tuesday, starting Oct.

o Selecting the highest-ranked champion from the Group of 5 (MAC, Mountain West, American, Sun Belt, Conference USA) for a New Year’s Six bowl.

Both teams for the Capital One Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual and Allstate Sugar Bowl are contracted outside the playoff arrangement (Big Ten and Pac-12 to the Rose Bowl; SEC and Big 12 to the Sugar Bowl; and ACC to the Orange Bowl against the highest-ranked team available from the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame). 1 and ending on Dec. No

Sports :: College Football – If You Thought SEC Was the Toughest NCAA Conference, Think Again

3, California No. Three 1AA conferences are then rated above the last 1A conference–the Sun Belt–at 58.26.

The “tough” SEC played exactly 10 Division 1AA opponents this season, more than any other conference in the country. 2, Stanford No. 1 among the 242 Division 1A and 1AA schools.

Knowing that the SEC is legion for scheduling Division 1AA teams in its non-conference schedule, I suspect that the SEC’s strength of schedule (the quality of its opponents) may not be as strong. 4 and Colorado No. On a scale of 100 the difference is 70/100ths of 1, or close enough to not make a difference in my mind.

I read other factors into his mathematical formula for deciding which conference is the toughest (best) conference.

If you are wondering, the team that has played the toughest schedule during the first 12 weeks of the 2007 college football season is the Washington Huskies, and that is why they are ranked No. Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

The SEC already has 7 of its 12 teams with 7 or more wins and bowl eligible by NCCA standards, and now you know one of the reasons why.

There is so much buzz and hype about the Southeast Conference–better known as the SEC–you would think there are no other NCAA football conferences that can compare.

Sagarin rates all of the 242 individual 1A and 1AA teams and then combines them among conferences to arrive at these figures.

Please, do not give me this garbage about the SEC playing the toughest schedule. Who plays the tougher schedule between the top two dogs? It is easily the Pac 10.

For the record, Nebraska is No. Turns out that I am right.

Ranked 11th among Division 1A conferences is Conference USA at 58.88. 5, so 3 of Top 5 teams in strength of schedule are from the Pac 10.. The facts and statistics say otherwise.

It is the same reason why Hawaii is unbeaten at 10-0, having defeated two 1AA schools in fattening up its impressive win record while racking up the 153rd toughest schedule against the other 119 Division 1A schools.

Sometimes a 1AA school can beat a 1A school (like Appalachian State beating Michigan at home 34-32), not because they are necessarily better but because the 1A school did not take them seriously.

Even Jeff Sagarin in his Sagarin Ratings lists the SEC as the top conference with a central mean (that is Sagarin math talk) of 79.89 with the Pacific 10–better known as the Pac 10–second at 79.19. By comparison, the Big 12 played 10, the ACC and Big Ten played 7 games, the Big East 6, and the Pac 10 only 2.

Another interesting fact of note is this: Since the NCAA established the Division 1A and 1AA separation in 1978, only 5 Division 1A schools have not played a Division 1AA school: Washington, Southern California, UCLA, Michigan State and Notre Dame. Again 3 of the 5 teams come from the Pac 10.

When I add up the strength of schedule for the 12 SEC teams I get an average of 30 compared to an average strength of schedule of 14 for the Pac 10

FBS (I-A) Schedule – 2016 – NCAAF

Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX1,144 tickets available from $92Arkansas State ARSTAuburn AUBSECN

WatchESPNJordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL2,485 tickets available from $9Iowa State ISU#16 Iowa IOWABTNKinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA995 tickets available from $116BYU BYUUtah UTAHFOXRice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT129 tickets available from $124Eastern Michigan EMUMissouri MIZSECN

WatchESPNMemorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, MO728 tickets available from $14Jacksonville State JVST#21 LSU LSUESPNU

WatchESPNTiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA2,004 tickets available from $9North Carolina UNCIllinois ILLBTNMemorial Stadium , Champaign, IL819 tickets available from $16Southern SOUTulane TULNESPN3Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA10 tickets available from $56Virginia Tech VT#17 Tennessee TENNABC

WatchESPNBristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN182 tickets available from $197UNLV UNLVUCLA UCLAPAC12Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA1,168 tickets available from $32New Mexico UNMNew Mexico State NMSUESPN3Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM10 tickets available from $74Sacramento State SACFresno State FRESBulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA6 tickets available from $122Texas Tech TTUArizona State ASUFS1Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ1,413 tickets available from $30Washington State WSUBoise State BSUESPN2

WatchESPNAlbertsons Stadium, Boise, ID628 tickets available from $67California CALSan Diego State SDSUCBSSNQualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA316 tickets available from $43Virginia UVA#24 Oregon OREESPN

WatchESPNAutzen Stadium, Eugene, OR2,168 tickets available from $20Grambling State GRAMArizona ARIZPAC12Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ1,128 tickets available from $9Tennessee-Martin UTMHawai’i HAWAloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI74 tickets available from $28. Central Michigan CMU#22 Oklahoma State OKSTFS1Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK731 tickets available from $35NC State NCSTEast Carolina ECUESPNU

WatchESPNDowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC865 tickets available from $73Penn State PSUPittsburgh PITTESPN

WatchESPNHeinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA1,266 tickets available from $140UCF UCF#5 Michigan MICHABC

WatchESPNMichigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI4,746 tickets available from $26Cincinnati CINPurdue PURBTNRoss-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN230 tickets available from $24Lamar LAM#6 Houston HOUESPN3TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX2,272 tickets available from $9Howard HOWRutgers RUTGBTNHigh Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ1,066 tickets available from $9Indiana State INSTMinnesota MINNESPNN

WatchESPNTCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN710 tickets available from $32Rice RICEArmy ARMYCBSSNMichie Stadium, West Point, NY191 tickets available from $14Boston College BCMassachusetts UMASSESPN3Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA76 tickets available from $38Nicholls NICH#9 Georgia UGASECN

WatchESPNSanford Stadium, Athens, GA2,188 tickets available from $26Prairie View A&M PV#20 Texas A&M TA&MSECN

WatchESPNKyle Field, College Station, TX706 tickets available from $28Wyoming WYONebraska NEBESPN2

WatchESPNMemorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE1,335 tickets available from $49Charleston Southern CHSO#3 Florida State FSUACCN

WatchESPNDoak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL1,516 tickets available from $21Troy TROY#2 Clemson CLEMACCN

WatchESPNMemorial Stadium , Clemson, SC1,586 tickets available from $19Stony Brook STONTemple TEMESPN3Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA364 tickets available from $10Georgia State GASTAir Force AFACAMPFalcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO214 tickets available from $9Utah State USUUSC USCPAC12Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA3,090 tickets available from $20Youngstown State YSUWest Virginia WVUMilan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV546 tickets available from $44Ohio OHIOKansas KUFSNMemorial Stadium , Lawrence, KS157 tickets available from $27Mercer MERGeorgia Tech GTACCN

WatchESPNBobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA442 tickets available from $24North Dakota UNDBowling Green BGSUESPN3Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green, OH25 tickets available from $10Connecticut CONNNavy NAVYCBSSNNavy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD443 tickets available from $29Illinois State ILSTNorthwestern NWBTNRyan Field, Evanston, IL1,849 tickets available from $9Tulsa TLSA#4 Ohio State OSUABC

WatchESPNOhio Stadium, Columbus, OH1,916 tickets available from $53Eastern Illinois EIUMiami (OH) M-OHESPN3Yager Stadium, Oxford, OHBuy on StubHubWake Forest WAKEDuke DUKEESPNU

WatchESPNWallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC487 tickets available from $10Old Dominion ODUAppalachian State APPESPN3Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC7 tickets available from $101Akron AKR#10 Wisconsin WISBTNCamp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI1,180 tickets available from $32Nevada NEV#18 Notre Dame NDNBCNotre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN516 tickets available from $56Kentucky UKFlorida FLACBSBen Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL1,705 tickets available from $24Western Kentucky WKU#1 Alabama ALAESPN2

WatchESPNBryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL517 tickets available from $32SMU SMU#23 Baylor BAYFS1McLane Stadium, Waco, TX2,180 tickets available from $12Wofford WOF#19 Ole Miss MISSSECN

WatchESPNVaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS2,094 tickets available from $12Ball State BALLIndiana INDESPNN

WatchESPNMemorial Stadium , Bloomington, IN347 tickets available from $20Texas San Antonio UTSAColorado State CSUCAMPHughes Stadium , Fort Collins, CO433 tickets available from $9Middle Tennessee MTSUVanderbilt VANSECN

WatchESPNVanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN165 tickets available from $30Portland State PRSTSan José State SJSUCEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA24 tickets available from $26Idaho IDHO#8 Washington WASHPAC12Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA498 tickets available from $49Idaho State IDSTColorado COLOFolsom Field, Boulder, CO161 tickets available from $19Morgan State MORGMarshall MRSHJoan C. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, MSBuy on StubHubUTEP UTEP#11 Texas TEXLHN

WatchESPNRoyal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX1,255 tickets available from $50South Carolina SCMississippi State MSSTESPN2

WatchESPNDavis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS1,432 tickets available from $21Arkansas ARK#15 TCU TCUESPN

WatchESPNAmon G. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV13 tickets available from $49Elon ELONCharlotte CHARMcColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC12 tickets available from $26North Carolina A&T NCATKent State KENTESPN3Dix Stadium, Kent, OHBuy on StubHubFlorida Atlantic FAU#25 Miami MIAMIACCN

WatchESPNHard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL2,096 tickets available from $18Georgia Southern GASOSouth Alabama USAESPN3Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL30 tickets available from $24McNeese MCNSLouisiana Lafayette ULLESPN3Cajun Field, Lafayette, LABuy on StubHubLouisiana Monroe ULM#14 Oklahoma OKLAMemorial Stadium , Norman, OK1,302 tickets available from $27North Carolina Central NCCUWestern Michigan WMUESPN3Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MIBuy on StubHubMaine MAINEToledo TOLESPN3Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH6 tickets available from $19Northern Illinois NIUSouth Florida USFCBSSNRaymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL565 tickets available from $14Bethune-Cookman COOKNorth Texas UNTApogee Stadium, Denton, TXBuy on StubHubSouth Carolina State SCSTLouisiana Tech LTJoe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LABuy on StubHubSavannah State SAVSouthern Mississippi USMM. M