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Revised Standings for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee

IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 16:  A detail view of the College Football Playoff logo shown during a press conference on October 16, 2013 in Irving, Texas. Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor and former United States Secretary of State, was chosen to serve as one of the 13 members that will select four teams to compete in the first playoff at the end of the 2014 season.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Samuel ChiCollege Football Playoff GuruMarch 20, 2014

There will be no more BCS standings. In fact, there will be no standings with a formula that we can reliably project when the College Football Playoff era begins in the 2014 season. The 13-person selection committee will have sole discretion on which teams make the four-team playoff field.

About a month ago, we introduced a standings model for the committee, and asked for readers' suggestions and comments. We received a healthy amount of responses, most of which were very helpful. After taking much into consideration, we have revised our proposed standings for use by the playoff committee.

We're not arrogant or foolhardy enough to think the committee will necessarily adopt our formula, or admit it publicly. But we do hope that by starting this discussion, we'll move into a more transparent process where we won't be greeted with major surprises come football's version of Selection Sunday.

We more or less stuck to the main criteria, which the committee has emphasized as crucial in its selection process. But we have made major revisions to the distribution of each category:

1) AP poll (30 percent): The eyeball test has to mean something, and the AP poll is the only poll that's completely transparent, with each voter's ballot available for the public to scrutinize each week. It's also the most prestigious poll that's widely used by the media. (Increased from 20 percent)

2) Computer rankings (30 percent): Kenneth Massey compiles the median and mean rankings of each team from more than 100 computers each week. It's less biased than the human polls, and the large sample size removes undue influence by outliers. (Decreased from 40 percent)

3) Strength of schedule (20 percent): While there are many models to choose from, Jeff Sagarin has the most time-tested SoS formula—including results from all Division I games, FBS and FCS—that's meticulously and promptly updated each week. But since SoS is a component in every computer ranking, too much influence by the SoS would create a double-jeopardy situation. (Decreased from 30 percent)

4) Conference championship (20 percent): Only teams that win their conference championships will get the bonus, and it has to be a significant one. A team that fails to win its conference must be so highly-ranked in every other aspect to jump champions from other Big Five conferences. (Increased from 10 percent)

With that in mind, this is what the final standings would've looked like at the end of the 2013 regular season:

College Football Playoff Standings Model (Version 2)
RankBCS RankTeamCFP ScoreConference
12Auburn.9344SEC
25Stanford.9026Pac-12
31Florida State.9000ACC
44Michigan State.7956Big Ten
56Baylor.7826Big 12
63Alabama.6808SEC
78Missouri.5752SEC
87Ohio State.5644Big Ten
99South Carolina.5534SEC
1014Arizona State.5252Pac-12
See Playoff Guru for complete standings

And this is what the playoff and major bowl matchups would be had the committee followed the results of the final standings:

2013 Projected CFP Bowl Matchups
BowlTie-in*Matchup
Rose BowlSemifinalNo. 2 Stanford vs. No. 3 Florida St.
Sugar BowlSemifinalNo. 1 Auburn vs. No. 4 Michigan St.
Chick-fil-A BowlAt-large or 'Group of 5'No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 15 UCF
Cotton BowlAt-large or 'Group of 5'No. 6 Alabama vs. No. 12 Oklahoma St.
Fiesta BowlAt-large or 'Group of 5'No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 10 Arizona St.
Orange BowlACC vs. SEC/Big Ten/NDNo. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 16 Clemson
* Based on 2014 CFP setup

Keep in mind that we now have the benefit of hindsight after the conclusion of the bowl games. When the BCS standings were unveiled at the end of the 2013 regular season, most of you did not think Oklahoma would beat Alabama and be ranked higher in the final AP poll—just as an example.

Do you agree or disagree with the revised methodology? Please submit your comments, and I'll make every effort to answer your questions as we continue to tweak our formula in the offseason. Thank you.

 

Follow on Twitter @ThePlayoffGuru

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