The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will learn just how difficult -- and thoroughly scrutinized -- its task of picking four teams for the first playoff will be as the process begins this fall. But at least now, fans will have no doubts about the criteria.
The CFP released a two-year-old document Friday detailing for the committee how the teams are to be chosen. From USA Today:
"Strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar," the release reads. By "similar," the directive specifies it means teams of "similar records and similar pedigree."
Of course, "pedigree" can be a very subjective discussion, and one that could ultimately be the focal point of any disagreements on the committee when two or more teams have a strong argument for the final spot in the four-team tournament. The committee has been transparent from its inception about schedule strength and other factors being a part of the committee's criteria, though the release puts it in more detail for the public. It also makes clear that a weak schedule will be a good way for teams to weed themselves out of the process.
The document also provides the selection committee with some direction on how to assess candidates for the playoff that do not play in a conference, such as Notre Dame, or do not win their conference championship.
"The criteria to be provided to the selection committee must be aligned with the ideals of the commissioners, Presidents, athletic directors and coaches to honor regular season success while at the same time providing enough flexibility and discretion to select a non-champion or independent under circumstances where that particular non-champion or independent is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country."
Translation: Independents are football programs, too.
In April, the CFP provided more information about the selection committee's resources and procedures, including a recusal policy.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.