A few thoughts on the CFP selection committee voting protocol and recusal policy

USA Today lays the whole thing out in its majesty here.  Well intentioned, overly complicated, flimsy in places, it comes off as something less than the whole of its parts.

The voting process is as follows:

Each committee member will create a list of the 25 teams he or she believes to be the best in the country, in no particular order. Teams listed by more than three members will remain under consideration.

2. Each member will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first seeding ballot.

3. In the first seeding ballot, each member will rank those six teams, one through six, with one being the best. The three teams receiving the fewest points will become the top three seeds. The three teams that were not seeded will be held over for the next seeding ballot.

4. Each member will list the six best remaining teams, in no particular order. The three teams receiving the most votes will be added to the three teams held over to comprise the next seeding ballot.

5. Steps No. 3 and 4 will be repeated until 25 teams have been seeded.

It starts out looking like our old friend, approval voting.  The first two rounds of the vote aren’t ordered.  (And why two rounds, anyway?)  Then it gets fussily involved – rank six, separate out the top three, rank the next six, lather, rinse, repeat until a top 25 emerges.  That’s a lot of wasted effort for something that you’d think could be more efficiently derived by letting a larger voting pool pick eight or ten top teams and let the order sort itself out… at least that’s what I hope this year’s Mumme Poll will evidence.

As far as recusal goes…

— If a committee member or an immediate family member, e.g., spouse, sibling or child, (a) is compensated by a school, (b) provides professional services for a school, or (c) is on the coaching staff or administrative staff at a school or is a football student-athlete at a school, that member will be recused. Such compensation shall include not only direct employment, but also current paid consulting arrangements, deferred compensation (e.g., contract payments continuing after employment has ended) or other benefits.

— The committee will have the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise.

— A recused member shall not participate in any votes involving the team from which the individual is recused.

— A recused member is permitted to answer only factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused, but shall not be present during any deliberations regarding that team’s selection or seeding.

… it’s defined in purely personal economic terms and applies to teams and not conferences, which I suspect is by deliberate design.  It fails to address bias, which may either be a vote of confidence in the raised level at which the committee members operate or a recognition that it would have been extremely difficult to come up with a working guideline to neutralize bias.  The solution here, again, would seem to be a larger selection committee voting pool.  With only thirteen voters, recusing people from participating in the seeding pool is going to concentrate the key vote in the hands of a few.  Especially when blocks of voters can lobby to have the seedings revoted.

It’s not so much that the process looks corrupt as it does Rube Goldbergian.  And the more complicated it appears, the less transparent it will seem.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

12 responses to “A few thoughts on the CFP selection committee voting protocol and recusal policy

  1. David K

    Don’t some of these people have more important things to do than vote and rank teams over and over again ad nauseam? It’s a lot of work to come up with a list of 25 teams that nobody even wanted anyways. Just give us the top 4 at the end of the season. Jesus Christ.


    • bc this will work once we go to 8, then 16


    • Dog in Fla

      From my casual review of their bios, quite a few of them do not have anything more important to do so it’s better to have them occupied sorting out Bagman Bill voting procedures rather than elsewhere where they could really do damage to society.


  2. reipar

    No way this stays at four teams for the duration of the contract.


  3. paul

    But this is better! Right? Um, well, this is different! Right? These thirteen people, they’re so, so, um, I don’t know. No doubt the BCS was broken. But this so called ‘fix’ is beginning to look and smell like, well, a fix. What a surprise. As always, we’ll follow the money to find the truth.


  4. 69Dawg

    In the immortal words of every soldier that ever served this is going to be a FUBAR.


  5. DugLite

    Clear as mud.


  6. Mayor

    They should have kept the BCS format and just expanded it to the top 4 teams. This new format gives wiggle room to play favorites and torpedo some team that should be in the playoff that somebody doesn’t want in. Just wait. An obvious choice will be omitted from the playoff in ’14 and then the powers that be will use that as an excuse to expand the playoff.


  7. Watchman

    If they wanted to give people confidence in how this will work (HA) they should have had them rank last year and identify which four teams would have made the playoffs had the started. That would have been an excellent opportunity to see what they valued with having to face the Bama question and a possible rematch all over again. Alabama, Michigan State, Stanford and Baylor. Which two do you take? Show your work.


  8. Keese

    Just play some football


  9. uglydawg

    It’s gonna suck. It will be more hated than the BCS. The PAC 10 coaches are already spouting their talking points..running down the SEC. There will be collusion (probably already is) with the ESPN shitbirds and coaches from other conferences to spew their SECgradation to pressure the committee to fall in line. I said a long time ago that these people weren’t going to sit by and accept the SEC’s continued domination of college football. It Is Going To Suck. The only thing we can hope for is that the one SEC team that will make the politically correct playoffs will still stomp the asses of the other “Power Conferences” year in and year out.


    • Dog in Fla

      It is already hated more than the BCS and I’m willing to give anything a chance of not being a meaningless contrived cluster**** purposely designed to steal the mojo of the SEC