What does it mean that the College Football Playoff selection committee has considered Boise State for its Top 25 the past two weeks?
The committee starts its voting process with each of the 12 members listing their top teams. This week, each member listed 30 teams. A team must appear on three ballots to be considered.
So Boise State’s status as a considered team means at least a quarter of the committee members have the Broncos in the top 30. Marshall, Colorado State, Northern Illinois and Memphis also met that threshold out of the Group of Five conferences this week. About 35 teams were under consideration.
Here are some other notes about the CFP from my conversation with Executive Director Bill Hancock:
— Committee members have tablets that allow them to download and watch any game. They also have “almost anything you can think of” in terms of data about teams, Hancock said. They have six to eight different strength-of-schedule rankings. They don’t have access to any computer rankings that have undisclosed formulas, such as the Sagarin Ratings. For the most part, though, the committee is just looking at opponents and opponents’ record for SOS, Hancock said.
— Each member has different preferences for what’s most important, but for the most part “significant victories or losses against good teams that were close” have been the top factor, Hancock said. “For example,” he said, “Boise State’s victory over Colorado State comes up in every meeting. Obviously they also know what happened in the Air Force game for Boise State. They look at significant victories and those games where the outcome might have been decided right at the end, which indicates that the teams are equal. But those are just a couple of things they look at. They also rely on their experience from having seen the teams play on video and they do look at the data.”
— Two committee members are assigned as point persons for each conference. For the Mountain West, they are West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck and former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. Their assignment is to gather information on the teams in that conference and speak to that conference on three teleconferences during the season to accept information the conferences want considered. They are not advocates for those teams, though. “Their job is to make sure that no information goes unnoticed by the committee,” Hancock said. “They focus in-depth on their particular conferences. That has really worked well.”
— If at the end of the season a Group of Five champion is in the Top 25, that team — or the highest-ranked team if there’s more than one — will receive a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. If no Group of Five champion is ranked, the committee will pool those five teams, evaluate them and vote on a ranking. A decision hasn’t been made whether that ranking will be released to the public, Hancock said. If no team is in the Top 25, the conferences will not be given any indication of where their teams stand, he said.
— Group of Five conference co-champions will be considered. But in a conference with a championship game, like the Mountain West, only the winner of that game will be considered.
— The committee will place the top four teams, by seed, in the Rose and Sugar bowls first. Then the Orange Bowl will make selections to fill its contracts (ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame). That will leave three games for the committee to fill — the Fiesta, Cotton and Peach bowls. Those six spots will go to the five highest-ranked teams and the Group of Five representative. The bowls don’t have a voice in the process and ticket sales/TV ratings aren’t a factor. Geography is.
Below are our bowl projections for this week. A couple notes:
— There is no longer a limit on how many teams from one conference can fill these slots. I have four SEC teams finishing in the top 10, with the assumptions that Alabama wins out, Missouri wins the SEC East, Georgia wins out and Ole Miss beats Mississippi State. The high number of SEC teams limits the matchup flexibility because you don’t want an SEC-SEC game. That’s how I ended up with No. 9 Mississippi State in the Fiesta Bowl game vs. Boise State. Another note: it’s looking less likely that the Pac-12 will get a second team into the New Year’s Six bowls. If that happens, the Las Vegas Bowl should end up with Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, USC or UCLA, depending on how those teams finish the season.
New Year’s Six
Rose (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Oregon (2) vs. Florida State (3)
Sugar (Jan. 1, New Orleans): Alabama (1) vs. Baylor (4)
Cotton (Jan. 1, Arlington, Texas): TCU (at-large) vs. Ole Miss (at-large)
Peach (Dec. 31, Atlanta): Georgia (at-large) vs. Michigan State (at-large)
Orange (Dec. 31, Miami Gardens, Fla.): Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame)
Fiesta (Dec. 31, Glendale, Ariz.): Boise State (Group of Five) vs. Mississippi State (at-large)
Las Vegas (Dec. 20): Colorado State vs. Utah (Pac-12)
Cactus (Jan. 2, Tempe, Ariz.): Air Force vs. Washington (Pac-12)
Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 20, Boise): Utah State vs. Western Michigan (MAC)
Poinsettia (Dec. 23, San Diego): San Diego State vs. Navy (Navy/MAC)
Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): Nevada vs. Louisiana Tech (C-USA)
Note: In this projection, the Mountain West would vacate spots in New Orleans (Dec. 20) vs. Louisiana (Sun Belt), and in New Mexico (Dec. 20, Albuquerque) vs. UTEP (C-USA).
Boise State at Wyoming
When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: War Memorial Stadium (29,181, FieldTurf), Laramie, Wyo.
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway, Paul Carcaterra). Channel 209 on DirecTV, 144 on Dish, 25 and 492 (HD) on Cable One.
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 8-2 overall, 5-1 Mountain West; Wyoming is 4-6, 2-4
Series: Boise State leads 8-0 (Boise State won 48-7 last year in Boise)
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