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College Playoff Rankings Open Thread

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"As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal." - Robin S. Sharma

Who will be in position to win the coveted golden chapstick?
Who will be in position to win the coveted golden chapstick?
Ronald Martinez

Tonight we welcome our new college football overlords into our lives (even if some of us aren't yet ready to accept them into our hearts).

At 6:30 pm (CT) on ESPN, the college football world will experience another in a long line of firsts.  Tonight the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will release their first ever set of rankings.  Will the rankings mirror the AP/Coaches polls?  Will the Committee diverge from those polls greatly, giving us a strong indication of their over-arching goals for seeding the playoff?

As with any new endeavor, there is a lot we don't know.  So let's discuss a few things we do know:

First off, we know that this isn't a normal voting process.  You might would expect that each member would list their top 25, those would be compiled, and BAM, you'd have the official top 25.  The actual process, is significantly more convoluted.  Rather than try to explain that all here, though, I'll simply direct you to the outline of the voting procedure, if you're so inclined to try to figure out how this is supposed to work.

Second, we know that some of the committee members will be recused from voting on some teams.  Below is a list of which members are barred from voting on a particular team.  It should be noted that, during the discussion/voting when a recused member's team is up for consideration, that member has to physically leave the room and is not involved in the debate.

Air Force: Mike Gould

Arkansas: Jeff Long

Clemson: Dan Radakovich

Nebraska: Tom Osborne

Southern California: Pat Haden

Stanford: Condoleezza Rice

West Virginia : Oliver Luck

Wisconsin: Barry Alvarez

Third, we know that these rankings are subject to change. Per Jeff Long, the CFBPC chairman and Arkansas' athletic director:

There are only two undefeated teams Power 5 teams remaining -- Mississippi State and Florida State -- but there are 18 one-loss teams for the committee to sort through. When asked what the biggest source of debate was on Monday, Long said it was really about comparisons of defenses and offenses.

"Comparisons of different defenses in different conferences," he said. "There was a lot of discussion about how defenses would stack up playing certain types of offenses that another team might run. That was a lot of discussion. Then there was a lot of debate in looking at the data, the relative defensive data and offensive data and how that played out."

Long reminded the committee members of the five main criteria -- strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, records against common opponents, conference championships and injuries -- but stressed they are not weighted or in any priority.

Long said the group voted "a number of times" on Monday.

"Whatever decisions we make tomorrow in our first release of rankings, those will undoubtedly change," Long said. " ... Our rankings will change and that's important for everyone to remember."

Finally, we know there will be controversy.  This is college football, after all.  Tensions run high and tempers run hot.  As sure as the sun will set this evening, some fans are going to be unhappy with the rankings released tonight.  Soak it in and hope for the best as we fate to the wind.

Roll Tide.