UPDATE: DraftKings Sportsbook has provided opening lines for the two semifinals and updated national title futures odds. Alabama is a 13.5-point favorite over Cincinnati and Georgia is a 7-point favorite over Michigan. Alabama is +120 to win the national title, followed by Georgia at +135.
The College Football Playoff field is officially set and the Group of 5 has finally crashed the party. The four semifinalists will be SEC champ Alabama, Big Ten champ Michigan, SEC runner-up Georgia, and AAC champ Cincinnati.
The teams are ranked Alabama No. 1, Michigan No. 2, Georgia No. 3, and Cincinnati No. 4. The semifinals will take place on December 31 at the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl with Alabama facing Cincinnati and Michigan facing Georgia. The national championship game will be played Monday, January 10, at 8:00 p.m. in Indianapolis.
The CFP’s official website describes the process of the committee in selecting the four semifinalists. Not referenced here is that if an impactful player or coach is unavailable for the CFP, that can affect the rankings. It’s possible that affected Notre Dame in last week’s rankings.
The selection committee ranks the teams based on the members’ evaluation of the teams’ performance on the field, using conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and comparison of results against common opponents to decide among teams that are comparable. The selection committee is comprised of experts in college football, and they use their expertise in the deliberations.
Selection committee members examine statistical data, and they also review a significant amount of game video. The CFP retains SportSource Analytics to provide the statistical information for the committee’s use. This platform allows the selection committee members to compare teams on every possible level. Each member evaluates the data at hand, and then the individuals produce a group decision through the seven rounds of voting.