Guide to College Football Playoff selections

Published December 7, 2014 7:45AM (EST)

The games have been played and the scores are all in the books. All that's left is picking the teams and that will not be easy.

The College Football Playoff selection committee will reveal its final top 25 rankings and set the four-team field for the College Football Playoff on Sunday.

Some frequently asked questions about the committee, the rankings and playoff:

Q: How does the committee rank the teams? Is it like the AP Top 25?

A: No, the process is nothing like the AP college football poll, where voters submit ballots and the teams are ranked using a points system. The committee will create small groups of teams, debate their merits and rank the teams using as many votes as needed to come up with a consensus. The committee has been ranking teams weekly since late October.

Q: Why top 25? The playoff only has four teams.

A: The committee will also create the matchups and pick some of the teams to play in the four other bowl games involved in the playoff rotation. Those games are the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl. Those teams will be chosen using the highest ranked teams after the playoff matchups have been set and considering the contracts certain conferences have with certain bowls. Also, the committee is responsible for choosing the best team from the so-called Group of Five conferences — the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference — which is guaranteed a spot in one of the New Year's bowls, no matter how far down the rankings.

Q: Who is on this committee?

A: The panel is made up of twelve members: Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, committee chairman; Southern California athletic director Pat Haden; Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich; Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez; West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck; former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne; former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach Tyrone Willingham; former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese; former NCAA vice president Tom Jernstedt; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former USA Today sports writer Steve Wieberg and former Air Force superintendent and retired Lieutenant General Mike Gould. Former Mississippi quarterback Archie Manning was part of the committee, but recently had to step down because of some health issues. He will not be replaced.

Q: Which teams are in contention for the top four?

A: Alabama and Oregon look secure as the top two in some order. The other two spots come down to four teams. Undefeated Florida State seems in the best shape among a group that also includes Ohio State, TCU and Baylor.

Q: Where is the committee meeting?

A: A resort hotel in Grapevine, Texas, just outside of Dallas.

Q: When will the selections be revealed?

A: Sunday at 12:45 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Q: What should we expect?

A: At least two very ticked off groups of fans for the teams that get left out.


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By Ralph D. Russo

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