In an interview with Campus Insiders' Bonnie Bernstein, Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez discusses his role on the College Football Playoff committee and how the voting process will be one of ongoing refinement. The committee plans to unveil its first weekly Top 25 ranking Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
After the committee's mock selection earlier this month raised several issues in the press, Alvarez says having more games to watch has added another obviously critical factor to the other factors being considered.
"I'm keeping a constant top 25 myself and keeping up to date with specific statistics that I think are important," Alvarez said, mentioning relative scoring, relative starting field position and turnover margin. When the committee did a 10-year study of the national championship game, Alvarez said, the most consistent statistics among the nation's two best teams were relative offense and defense.
Asked about the algorithm that calculates relative offense and defense, Alvarez had a handy explanation.
"Let's say a team averages 42 points a game. Their opponents may be giving up 45 points a game, so that's not as impressive as someone who may be scoring 24 points a game, yet their opponents are only giving up 17 points a game. So you're comparing not only how many points they score or how many points they give up, you're comparing them to the strength or weakness of their opponent."
Regarding the controversy over the capability of the chosen committee members, Alvarez naturally downplayed any concerns.
"I think everyone in the room has been a leader in their own field," Alvarez said. "They've been decision-makers. They're all good thinkers. They use rationale. I don't think you have to have played football to do a good job in this committee.
"Even today in the AP Poll, at one time, they named one of the national championship teams. Now how many of those scribes actually played football? I don't know, yet there was never any question about that."
SBNation.com's college football page is hugely helpful in explaining more about the Playoff and the committee. Here's Pete Volk's helpful breakdown of the role the committee will play over the next month and change:
From here on out, the selection committee's 12 members will release a weekly top 25 on an ESPN channel every Tuesday night, after meeting to discuss the teams each Monday. Expect chairman Jeff Long, the Arkansas athletic director, to represent the committee on camera each week and answer a few questions about tougher decisions.
A final show on December 7 will announce the four teams selected for the Playoff's semifinal games, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and the eight teams that make the rest of the so-called New Year's Six bowls, the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach.
Here's the TV info and schedule for the season's broadcasts. The shows are also available online and can be streamed at WatchESPN. SBNation.com's college football hub will also post the rankings in full as soon as they're announced, with analysis to follow.