For the past couple of seasons, a simple College Football Playoff bracket with Kentucky penciled in has been hanging up in the weight room at the Cats’ football training facility.
This season with a 7-1 overall record and a 5-1 mark in the Southeastern Conference so far, UK has made sure that signage is more than just a motivational tool.
Kentucky will now be a part of the conversation, likely being among the top 25 teams in the country when they are unveiled on Tuesday by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee during its show at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
This is not a familiar place for the Cats or their fans, so here’s a breakdown of what the committee does, what those rankings mean and what it could mean for UK’s postseason spot.
The committee, made up of coaches, former players, school administrators, journalists and college athletics directors, rank the top 25 teams starting on Tuesday and up until the top four are unveiled on Selection Day on Dec. 2.
Interestingly, two former Kentucky officials sit on the selection committee in chairman Rob Mullens, now Oregon athletics director and Scott Stricklin, who holds the same position at Florida.
The committee helps select which four teams will play in the college football semifinals and then those winners will play for the national championship on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif. The weekly rankings between now and Dec. 2 are merely about generating discussion and excitement for the College Football Playoff. The final ranking on Dec. 2 is the one that sets the postseason pairings.
Alabama and Clemson are widely expected to be No. 1 and No. 2 in this initial offering. But there are still a lot of games left to play.
The committee also is responsible for selecting the participants in the so-called New Year’s Six Bowls and pairing them up using a specific process. The semifinals — this season the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl — will be played on Dec. 29.
Several national bowl prognosticators have started mentioning Kentucky as a team that could land in one of those bowls, specifically in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, also on Dec. 29.
The committee will release its top 25 four more times (Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Nov. 20, Nov. 27) before the Selection Day when the playoff semifinal teams are announced on Dec. 2 along with the other bowls.
Kentucky is currently ranked No. 11 in The Associated Press media poll and No. 12 in the coaches poll. Neither of those rankings count toward the College Football Playoff rankings.