CRAWFORD | Seven reasons to look forward to the new college foot - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Seven reasons to look forward to the new college football playoff

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Before football season gets started, I think it's worth thinking about the end of the second for just a moment.

As ESPN's "Rudy" commercial touting the new college football playoff suggests, we've been waiting for this for a long time.  The playoff is not without flaws. But as Michael Kelly, the chief operating offer of the College Football Playoff, stopped by the recent ACC Football Kickoff to describe how the new postseason will work, I couldn't help but get excited about what we're going to see.

Here are a few tidbits to keep in mind:

1. College football is taking over the New Year's holiday. We're not going to get much done on those two days. The six major bowl games all will take place on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

This year, that means that the Peach, Fiesta and Orange Bowls will be played on New Year's Eve. The Cotton Bowl will kick off the New Year's Day bowls, followed by the national semifinal games -- the Rose and Sugar Bowls.

"Those holidays will belong to college football," Kelly said.

2. Selection Sunday is December 7. It will proceed like this: At 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time, the committee will announce the playoff semifinal pairings and bowl assignments. An hour later, the committee will begin work on the other four major bowls. At 1:45, the College Football Playoff will announce the Cotton, Fiesta, Rose and Peach Bowl pairings, along with its Top 25 rankings.

3. Tuesday is the key day for college football rankings now. Unlike the BCS poll, which came out on Sunday night, the playoff selection committee will release its weekly poll every Tuesday beginning on Oct. 28. The committee will actually meet weekly, in person in Dallas, every week on Monday and Tuesday to determine the rankings. Each member will compose his or her list of the nation's 25 best teams in no particular order, and every team that appears on three or more members' ballots will be added to the main seed list. Each member will then list his or her best six teams, and the six with the most votes will comprise the first seed list, then there will be another vote to determine the top three teams. The three left over go onto the next ballot. The committee will, in this way, work its way through to a weekly Top 25.

4. There is no RPI, or any other single data point on which the selection committee will rely. Playoff officials have retained SportSource Analytics to provide all manner of statistical data, including strength of schedule data, so that members can make their own comparisons. But members also can use their own expertise from watching various teams. All votes are by secret ballot, and there are rules for recusal when conflicts of interest are in play. You can see members of the selection committee here.

5. Teams making the two semifinal games will be allotted 12,500 tickets. That was the number that college administrators decided was most comfortable for schools who might find themselves playing twice in high-profile national games in 12 days. The schools will be on the hook for those tickets at $150 a seat for the semifinals. In the national championship game, the two participating schools will each get 50 percent of the available seats, or about 40,000 each in AT&T Stadium. Tickets are $450 per seat.

6. The national championship game will be Monday, Jan. 12. Kelly said the semifinals will give teams more of a "bowl experience" while the championship game will be pretty much a business trip for the participating teams, with fewer public events scheduled outside of regular media obligations. There will be the usual fan events, tailgating, concerts for the three weekend days leading up to the game, and a family-focused multi-day Fan Central.

7. Will the format change anytime soon? I don't expect it will. The four-team playoff, instead of a larger format, was chosen for two reasons -- to keep the regular season as a vital component of the game (the "every game counts" motto), and to keep the current structure of bowls largely in place. The selection committee's job is to find and seed the four best teams. The NCAA will have nothing to do with selecting the tournament or running it. The running of the playoff is completely in the hands of the College Football Playoff management committee. Organizers believe this gives the playoff the "best of all worlds," establishes a New Year's extravaganza for the sport, and culminates in a Monday night championship. It provides for universal access -- every Football Bowl Subdivision team will have a chance to make the field, with the highest rated among the "group of five" non-power conference guaranteed a spot among the six marquee bowls. All of this is expected to increase revenue for all conferences, both the "big five" and others.

I expect it'll be an interesting finish. It's certainly been a long time coming.

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