Chat live with Division I Football Championship Committee Chair John McCutcheon

On Sunday, November 22 the Selection Show will be live on ESPN News at 3 p.m. ET to announce the sixteen team bracket breakdown for the 2009 NCAA Division I Football Championship. Following the show please join us online to chat with John McCutcheon at approximately 4 p.m. ET.

Do you have questions about how the selections were made? Here is your chance to ask the NCAA your questions and John will answer them live! Send in your question now, and don't forget to come back to the site and catch the live information from the NCAA on Sunday, November 22.

For more information about the schedule, please click here.

The interactive bracket for the Championship can be found by clicking here. Moderator: Hello, everyone. We will be starting the chat at approximately 4PM ET. Moderator: The Interactive Bracket is live with all matchups. The link is: Moderator: We are going to start a little early and have John with us.
John McCutcheon: Hi, everyone. I am happy to be here and answer your questions.

Andrew (Philly): Why did Montana earn the #1 overall seed?
John McCutcheon: Determining the top seed is always a challenge for the committee. By virtue of Montana's undefeated record, it gave them a slight edge for the top seed. It should be remembered that the committee is made up of ten individuals and we don't always reach a consensus on all issues. Montana definitely had the majority of opinion that they deserved the number one seed.

Jonathan (Charlotte): Could you tell us what factors into determining a seed and what does not factor?
John McCutcheon: That is a great question. The criteria we use to evaluate which teams get the top seeds are the same as those used to determine which teams get an at-large bid. Those are overall won-loss record, strength of schedule and quality of wins. External polls and computer rankings are not factored into our decisions. We also consider the input received by the regional advisory committees.

Matt Keenan (Stephens City,VA): What were the first three teams out?
John McCutcheon: There were actually eleven teams under consideration for the final two spots in the field, so it would be difficult to single out any specific school as being the last team out.

Keith (Brookings, SD): With so many states and so few teams in the West Region, how did you go about determining matchups and locations?
John McCutcheon: Once the top four seeds are established, their pairings are determined mainly by geography. The remaining matchups are determined by geography and the requirement that no two teams from the same conference will play each other in the first round. This year's tournament was particularly challenging given the geographic spread of the field.

Mike (Cheney): Which is more important to the committee in regards to two teams with the same record: head to head, or performance against other playoff-caliber teams?
John McCutcheon: When we have the luxury of head to head matchups, we certainly consider it. However, we mainly rely on the three primary factors mentioned earlier.

Stan-Montana: I find it a surprise that there were 3 teams from the Big Sky. Could you explain the reasoning behind that decision.
John McCutcheon: The committee's task is to select the eight most deserving at large participants, regardless of conference affiliation. That is why in any given year, the number of schools from any given conference will vary.

Will (Tallahassee, Fl): John, how close was Florida A&M to making the field, and what was the biggest detriment to the Rattlers resume?
John McCutcheon: There were a number of schools that were under consideration. All of them had resumes that had strengths and areas that were not as convincing. The committee evaluates all of these situations and the slections are made via anonymous ballot voting. I'm sure that not every committee member agrees with every selection and most likely had other institutions that they would have included. The majority and the guidelines determine which schools were selected for tournament.

Chris (Richmond, VA): Is it possible that a seeded team would have to travel to face an unseeded team?
John McCutcheon: In general, the seeded teams would retain home field opportunities unless there were extenuating circumstances in playing conditions or other areas that would necessitate a change of venue. There are some minimum site selection criteria that do need to be met, as well.

Jim (Cody, WY): What was the thinking behind the the requirement that no two teams from the same conference will play each other in the first round?
John McCutcheon: I think this goes to the fact that this is a national tournament. While we are required to pair teams geographically, having teams that have already played each other in conference play meet again in the first round, would potentially create a regional tournament rather than a national one.

Wes (Iowa): With the field expanding next year, will there be byes given in the first round?
John McCutcheon: Yes. With the expansion to twenty teams next year, there will be byes, but the exact format of the bracket has not yet been detrermined.
John McCutcheon: Every year this is a big challenge for the committee. The ten members do their best to be fair and determine the eight most deserving at large participants and the best pairings that the guidelines allow. I want to thank all of the committee members and staff for their professionalism and hard work throughout this process. We look forward to a great tournament. Moderator: Thanks to everyone who submitted questions - we received well over 150 of them. There were a lot that we were unable to answer and apologize if yours was one of them. Moderator: Thank you for joining us today. Moderator: And don't forget to keep coming back to to follow the tournament to its conclusion in Chattanooga on December 18.