A true National Champion will be crowned for the first time. No more polls. No more computers. No more automatic qualifiers.
This season will be the first college football season to end with a Final Four playoff bracket, replacing the flawed BCS system of the past. For the first time, college football will have its own version of March Madness in early January as four teams play on from the semifinal round to determine an NCAA champion.
It’s called the College Football Playoff and here’s how it works:
1. The College Football Playoff System Replaces the BCS Structure
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was an automated selection system that determined participants in the national championship game and other college bowl games based on polls and computer programs. The College Football Playoff system was designed to eliminate debates and determine a true champion at the end of a short, single-elimination tournament.
2. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee Picks the Teams
A 13-member selection committee will pick the Final Four. The committee will also create a Top 25 to determine participants in all postseason bowl games. Each member of the committee, who have been selected based on their football integrity, serves a three-year term. Members include athletic directors, coaches, NCAA administrators, and Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State. They will begin ranking teams in October by secret ballot.
The group will create rankings seven times each year, beginning on Oct. 28, 2014.
The members of the selection committee are:
* Jeff Long (chair)
* Barry Alvarez
* Mike Gould
* Pat Haden
* Tom Jernstedt
* Oliver Luck
* Archie Manning (On health-related leave of absence for the 2014 regular season)
* Tom Osborne
* Dan Radakovich
* Condoleezza Rice
* Mike Tranghese
* Steve Wieberg
* Tyrone Willingham.
Any committee member who has a professional relationship with a school, or has a family member who is paid by a school, may not vote for that institution because of the clear conflict of interest. This recusal scenario affects nine of the committee members. However, as long as you don’t receive compensation from it, you are allowed to vote for schools you previously attended or worked for.
Selection Committee Responsibilities
* Select the top four teams for the playoff, rank them and assign them to semifinal sites
* Rank the next group of teams to play in other New Year’s bowls if berth are available
* Select the highest-ranked champion from the five conferences without New Year’s bowl contracts
* Assign teams to New Year’s bowls
* Create competitive matchups
* Attempt to avoid rematches of regular-season games and repeat appearances
* Consider geography
3. Semifinal Games Will be Played Jan. 1 at 2 Locations
The championship game is played about a week later at a neutral site selected each year by the NCAA. This year’s final game will be played Jan. 12, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 2016 title game will be played in Arizona and the 2017 contest will be held in Tampa.
4. Games Will be Played at Traditional Bowl Stadiums on a Rotating Basis
Six stadiums — housing the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose, and Sugar Bowl — will rotate as semifinal sites each year. While two of the six host semifinal playoff games on New Year’s Day, the other four will host non-tournament bowls to be played on New Year’s Eve.
In the past, schools automatically qualified to play in certain bowl games depending on their conference. These are no longer hard affiliations. The Rose Bowl, for example, was traditionally played between conference winners from the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Those conference connections are ignored in years when the bowl hosts semifinal games — the selection committee now assigns participants, based on geographic location to give the higher ranked teams more of a home-field advantage.
5. Weekly Rankings Are Televised on ESPN
The Selection Committee’s Top 25 will be revealed on ESPN seven times during the season — every Tuesday between Oct. 28 and Dec. 2. The final ranking will take place on Sunday, Dec. 7.
The first ranking will be televised on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m.