Playoff panel plans weekly top 25 poll
IRVING, Texas (AP) — The BCS standings are out. The College Football Playoff selection committee Top 25 is in.
Starting Oct. 25, the 13-member panel given the task of picking the schools for the new four-team playoff will release weekly rankings.
Voting for the newest college football poll will be done using the same procedure and recusal policy used by the committee that chooses the 68-team field for NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The voting will be broken down into tiers, with the panel first grouping teams and then coming to a consensus on how they should be ordered with numerous votes.
A committee member who is currently employed or compensated by a school, or who has an immediate family member at a school, will not be allowed to rank that school.
The 13-member panel, which includes five current athletic directors, will meet in person and their rankings will be released on Tuesday nights on ESPN.
“The concept will be, if the season ended today, these will be the rankings,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday.
Hancock, along with the FBS commissioners, have been meeting in north Texas this week, the site of the first College Football Playoff championship game at AT&T Stadium, to hammer out the last details of the new postseason system.
The commissioners had decided months ago the selection committee would produce some rankings during the season, but had not determined when they would start or how often the poll would come out.
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, the selection committee chairman, said the idea to release rankings weekly came from the panel.
“We felt we wouldn’t be meeting our responsibility,” Long said. “Once we made a ranking, we felt then we needed to make them weekly. That’s what the fans have become accustomed to, and we felt it would leave a void in college football without a ranking for several weeks.”
Polls and rankings have always played a role in determining the champion of college football — and been a source of much controversy and debate.
“That debate that goes on among fans goes on among fans bases and groups is healthy for the game of football,” Long said. “Early on there was some talk that we would go into a room at the end of the season and come out with a top four, but that didn’t last long.”
The Associated Press media poll started in 1936. The coaches’ poll began in 1950.
The Bowl Championship Series used standings determined by combining polls, computer ratings and other variables to determine which teams played for the national title for the past 16 years.
Like the BCS standings, but unlike the AP poll and coaches’ poll, the selection committee rankings will start during the season — though the first one will come out a week later than the BCS usually did.
The voting procedure also will be drastically different than the ones used by the AP and USA Today coaches’ polls. With those rankings, each voter submits a top 25 and a simple point system is used to determine the final order. Twenty-five points goes to a team with a first-place vote, down to one point for 25th place.
The selection committee’s rankings will use a more nuanced process with the goal of coming up with a unified consensus. The committee will take numerous votes, grouping teams six at a time and ordering them. All votes are done by secret ballot.
As for the recusal policy, the commissioners and committee decided to ignore the past.
“We just boiled it down to where we felt this group was fit to its high integrity and would differentiate from those past relationships,” Long said.
The 13-member selection committee includes Southern California AD Pat Haden, Clemson AD Dan Radakovich, Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez and West Virginia AD Oliver Luck. Those four and Long, will be allowed to list their team in the first step of the voting process, listing 25 teams in no particular order to be considered for the rankings, but will not be allowed to vote for their teams when the ranking tarts.
Former longtime Nebraska coach Tom Osborne could vote for Nebraska as long as he is no longer still on the payroll, though the committee will have the option to add other recusals if “special circumstances arise.”
Also on the committee will be Tyrone Willingham, who was head coach at Notre Dame, Washington and Stanford; former Mississippi quarterback Archie Manning; and former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese.
The rest of the committee is: Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the former superintendant of Air Force; Tom Jernstedt, a former longtime NCAA executive; former USA Today sports writer Steve Wieberg; and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is now a professor at Stanford.